In the song “Brain Damage” on The Slim Shady LP (1999), Eminem raps about a bully named DeAngelo Bailey who used to pick on him in grade school. Now Bailey is targeting Eminem yet again.
He recently hit the rapper with a $1 million lawsuit, claiming Eminem invaded his privacy and slandered him. According to the complaint, which was filed in Macomb County in Michigan’s 16th Judicial Circuit Court, Eminem made up stories that damaged Bailey’s reputation; caused him humiliation, anger and embarrassment; and hurt his ability to launch his own rap career.
In “Brain Damage,” Eminem raps, “I was harassed daily by this fat kid named DeAngelo Bailey/ An eighth-grader who acted obnoxious ’cause his father boxes/ So every day he’d shove me in the lockers/ One day he came in the bathroom while I was p—in’/ And had me in the position and beat me into submission/ He banged my head against the urinal ’til he broke my nose/ Soaked my clothes in blood, grabbed me and choked my throat.”
Bailey, who lives in Roseville, Michigan, and works as a janitor, claims Eminem made up the story to gain credibility in the hip-hop community. In the suit, Bailey’s attorney writes, “Eminem is a Caucasian male who faced criticism within the music industry that he had not suffered through difficult circumstances growing up and he was therefore a ‘pretender’ in the industry. … Eminem used Bailey, his African-American childhood schoolmate, as a pawn in his effort to stem the tide of criticism.”
In 1982, Eminem’s mother unsuccessfully sued the Roseville school district, claiming daily attacks by bullies caused the boy headaches, nausea and antisocial behavior. And in an April 1999 interview with Rolling Stone, DeAngelo admitted to picking on Eminem as a kid: “There was a bunch of us that used to mess with him. You know, bully-type things. … We flipped him right on his head at recess. When we didn’t see him moving, we took off running. We lied and said he slipped on the ice.”
The case will remain open for evaluation until April 2002, according to Eminem’s attorney. Depositions are expected in the next two to three months.
Bailey, his attorney and a spokesperson for Eminem all refused to comment on the suit.