Eminem's Incredible Rise to Stardom

CNN's Anderson Cooper Profiles The Rapper

His real name is Marshall Mathers, but you probably know him as Eminem. He is the biggest selling artist of the past decade, earning 11 Grammies, one Oscar, and mountains of criticism for lyrics that are as profane as they are poetic.

Whether you are a fan of rap or not, Eminem's life story is an extraordinary tale of success, against all odds - a story he hasn't talked much about until now.

"60 Minutes" and CNN's Anderson Cooper met up with him in his home town Detroit, in order to find out how a white kid who never made it past the ninth grade was able to propel himself to the top of a predominantly African American art form.

60 Minutes Overtime: Eminem & Anderson Cooper
CNN's Anderson Cooper tells Overtime Editor Ann Silvio about all the unpredictable moments that happened on his "60 Minutes" shoot with Eminem. Here's what you didn't see on TV.

Extra: Eminem's Attitude Towards Money
Extra: Detroit Rap Battles
Extra: Eminem's Age and Career
Photos: Eminem

When Eminem stepped out of the shadows last month in Detroit, in front of 40,000 people, it was a triumphant come back for a super star who had all but disappeared.

At 37, sober, after struggling with addiction for the past five years, he has the energy and intensity of a boxer, a fighter trying to win from the crowd one simple thing: "Respect," he told Cooper.

"You know, not to sound corny or nuthin', but I felt like a fighter comin' up, man. I felt like, you know, I'm being attacked for this reason or that reason, and I gotta fight my way through this," he explained.

He's been fighting since he was a kid, living on the rough side of Detroit's 8 Mile, the road dividing the white suburbs from the mostly black city. "8 Mile" is also the title of the critically acclaimed movie Eminem starred in, his character based largely on himself: an aspiring white rapper with a dead-end job, a troubled mother and a dream of escaping his bleak life.

To understand how Eminem got to where he is today, you need to know where he came from: not just a broken home, but a series of them. Raised by a single mom, they lived hand to mouth, on and off welfare, constantly moving from one place to another.

Eminem told Cooper he'd have to change schools every couple of months. "I would change schools two, three times a year. That was probably the roughest part about it all."

The roughest and most formative -- he was a shy kid in tough public schools and was frequently bullied.

"You got beat up a lot as a kid," Cooper asked.

"Yeah, there was a few instances," Eminem said. "Beat up in bathroom, beat up in the hallways, shoved into lockers. You know, just for, you know, for the most part, man, you know, just bein' the new kid."

He discovered rap as a teenager, and in its tough talk and street smart sound, found his voice.

After dropping out of high school, he began competing in local rap battles - one-on-one verbal fights where the goal was to come up with the cleverest rhymes and the best insults.

"Hip hop has always been braggin' and boasting and 'I'm better at you than this' and 'I'm better at you than that.' And I finally found something that yeah, this kid over here, you know, he may have more chicks, and he may, you know, have better clothes, or whatever, but he can't do this like me. You know what I mean? He can't write what I'm writing right now. And it started to feel like, you know, maybe Marshall's gettin' a little respect," he explained.

That respect was hard won. He was often the only white guy competing in underground clubs.

"Did you feed off the fact that people maybe underestimated you? Or didn't respect you early on?" Cooper asked.

"Oh, definitely, definitely," Eminem acknowledged. "There was certainly like a rebellious, like, youthful rage in me. And there was also the fact of no getting away from fact that I am white and you know this is predominantly black music you know. And people telling me 'You don't belong, like you're not going to succeed because you are this color.' Then you wanna show those people that you can and you will."