Ronnie Polkingharn : Eminem's closest friend

Although he was Eminem’s closest friend, we know very few things about Ronnie. Ronnie Dean Polkingharn was Betty Kresin’s (Eminem’s grandmother) sixth child. He was only two months older than Marshall. Both kids used to spend their whole free time together.
Ronnie had a major influence on his nephew. He intoduced him into hip hop and break dance. It was his first album that inspired Eminem to become the gifted breakdancer he is now. Eminem remembers when his uncle Ronnie bought him the ‘ Breakin’ ‘ album in 1981 :

‘ When I was 9 years old, my uncle put me on to the Breakin’ soundtrack. The first rap song I ever heard was Ice-T, ‘Reckless’. ‘I was fascinated.’

Marshall and Ronnie used to record rap tapes together. Both kids were separated when Debbie went to Detroit, but each time he returned to St Joseph, Missouri, he spent his whole time with Ronnie.
About Ronnie, Marshall says:

‘ He was just like my best friend. He was the only family that I had, that I was close to. ‘

According to Betty Kresin, both kids couldn’t stand being separated for a long time and insisted to see each other after several months of separation.

In 1991, on December the 13 th , a big tragedy happened in Marshall’s life . Debbie called her son that day to tell him the bad news :

‘She was crying’she was just kept crying, and I was like, what’s the matter, what’s going on’she was like, Ronnie is dead.’

Eminem was so shocked that he couldn’t attend the funeral. He just isolated himself and kept listening to Ronnie’s tapes.
As you probably know, Eminem upset his grandmother when he wanted to use his dead uncle’s voice for a new release in 2001. She misinterpreted her grandson’s intentions and intented to sue him. She also pretended that her grandson changed for the worse. At this time, granny Betty and her grandson had a serious argument. Betty wanted Marshall to pay for her bills when he became famous.

“The next time I saw him, he asked me how much my bill was. I told him, and he never did a thing for me. He has never offered anything to his mother. Her gutter is falling off her house, and she has only recently got a used washing machine.”

She also wanted him to exhume her dead’s son’s corpse in order to investigate on his death.

“They were really good pals”, she stated.

And she told Marshall : ‘ Now you’re famous, you’ve got money, and you say you love Ronnie so much with that tattoo on your arm. I want his body exhumed to find out the truth about what happened. ‘

Suddenly, Betty changed her mind and decided that Marshall wasn’t the bad guy she was talking about and reconciled with her grandson. She completed her book ‘ The Ties That Bind ‘. This book will certainly and help us to know more details about Ronnie and Marshall’s childhood.

Eminem ‘s intentions were clearly to honor his deceased uncle :
” I loved Ronnie. I’ve got a Ronnie tattoo on my arm.I wanted to pay tribute to him. Nothing bad, I’ll sell records regardless”

The dog tag he wears around his neck comes from him and his tatoo is on his upper left shoulder (“R.I.P Ronnie”) is dedicated to his uncle.

It took Eminem a long time to cope with his uncle’s death. He was obsessed with his suicide and also fantasized about killing himself in his lyrics.
In an interview given to ‘Music 365’ on April the 28th 2000, Eminem was asked if he wanted to end his life for good after this dramatic event:

-Music 365 : “Your uncle Ronnie committed suicide. Have your ever felt so low that you wanted to end it all? “
-Eminem: “That’s always been something that’s been in the back of my mind, but I don’t think I have the balls to do it. There was this one time when I really felt like I wanted to do something to change my life, whether it would be doing something I regretted, or with rap or whatever. “

Fortunately and thanks to the inner strength he has cultivated inside of him, Marshall ‘s will to rap was stronger than his suicidal tendencies.

There are many references to Ronnie in Eminem’s songs. In his song ‘ Stan ‘, from the Marshall Mathers LP, Stan says :

‘I read about your Uncle Ronnie too I’m sorry
I had a friend kill himself over some bitch who didn’t want him…’

Those lines refer to the circumstances of Ronnie’s death. His suicidal girlfriend might be responsible of Ronnie’s death, but it will remain a supposition. Ronnie was known as a sensitive man. He has been kicked out of the US army because he couldn’t stand guns. His death by gunshot was ruled suicide.

Another reference to his uncle can be found in the ‘ Cleaning Out My Closet ‘ song where Eminem screams his pain and anger at his mom :

” Remember when Ronnie died and you said you wished it was me? Well, guess what, I am dead. Dead to you as can be.”

His everlasting pain expressed about Ronnie’s disparition can also be found in ” My Dad’s Gone Crazy” :

” More pain inside of my brain, in the eyes of a little girl inside of a plane
Aimed at the world trade, standin’ on Ronnie’s grave,
Screaming at the sky’ “

The D12 song ‘ Shit can happen ‘ lets appear another reference to Ronnie.

” One man army, guns can’t harm me
Young and army, worse than my Uncle Ronnie
Ever since I got my first gun pulled on me
I can’t stop carryin out my dirty laundry
Middle fingers flipped and censorship’ “

Marshall used to idealize Ronnie and he always considered him best rapper than him. He didn’t even dare rapping in front of him, because he thought his rap wasn’t good enough compared to Ronnie’s.
Once Ronnie visited him in Detroit and Marshall told Ronnie about his dream to become a rap superstar and his determination to go to the end. But Ronnie had given up rap for good, because he was convinced he would never make it.

Marshall’s best tribute to his beloved uncle is his success as a talented rapper.






46 responses to “Ronnie Polkingharn : Eminem's closest friend”

  1. Amy Van Oosten avatar
    Amy Van Oosten

    If i could bring back Ronnie for Marshall, I would.

  2. Steve avatar

    Eminem is the shit. Ronnie wa shis inspiration, so I respect him as well. But under no circumstances would I trade one person for the other, Amy Oosetn is trippin.

  3. My way or the highway avatar
    My way or the highway

    Steve, your a dumbass. Amy meant that she would bring back Ronnie to make eminem happy, not to trade them jackass. I agree with her. much love Amy.

  4. Isabella avatar

    Ronnie was the greatest inspiration for Marshall and I respect that so much. I love Marshall Mathers and always will!

  5. Chelsea avatar

    I love Eminem so much and i cant get enough of reading about his life i listen to his songs and his lyrics and i always wondered ‘Who is Ronnie’ now that i no im so greatful for him he had a huge impact on Marshall and at thr same time i feel horrible i just lost one of my good friends and i no how it feels. I love Eminem and as it goea for Ronnie i respect him thanks.

  6. Greg avatar

    What I have found is when i dont have the self esteem i find it in someone else. I just recently found it in a girl that dosent love me, but said she did. Fortunately I have enough love for myself to know the difference between depression and discouragement. Your life is worth more than anyone elses… your only responcible for your own… love yourself before you love someone else! BE STRONG!!

  7. Shilo avatar

    Okay all I really have to say because I know this is a sensitive spot is that Eminem is the shit and whatever or whoever encouraged him to after his dream did a wonderful job and you can read about Eminems life but it dosent mean we were there we didnt feel what he was going through some times you can say hey I feel like that but from what I’ve read it’s easy to see that Eminem loved Ronnie and I’m cool with what ever made Eminem happy therefore I respect him and I am glad that he pushed Eminem towards what made Eminem happy and I dont care what anyone else has to say against Eminem because I have to get all up in there shit whenever they talk bad about Eminem. EMINEM YOU ARE THE BOMB AND I AM SORRY ABOUT YOUR LOSS AND I TRULY RESPECT RONNIE AND HOPE YOU FIND OUT THE TRUTH.

  8. johnny avatar

    Hey you guy’s may not belive me,but ronnie didnt die of suicide…
    I killed him.
    eminem fucked with my peeps,i want him in pain!

    That fuck will die too,im 2005

  9. matt avatar

    i think eminem is the shit and i would do anything for him i almost have all his cds
    but ronnie did ronnie die from suicide!!!

  10. I'M SUICIDAL! avatar

    Only god knows the truth about what really happened to Ronnie and I hope eminem can find out what really to him and it finds out that Ronnie didn’t committ suicide I’d go out and find that person who killed him and I’d kill that person who did that. But also if Ronnie killed himself than there’s nothing anyone can do about it anyways Ronnie do rest in peace I respect you eminem and you’re uncle may god bless you and Ronnie.

  11. matt avatar

    does eminem know what really happend to him

  12. KOSOVA avatar

    I wonder what kind of a rapper would Ronnie be
    if he would still be living. People that I know, they think im creasy because i listen to EMINEM’s
    songs so much. FAVORIT RAPPER

  13. obsession avatar

    omg! when i found out about ronnie, i cried for a whole fckin week. i know this might sound dumb or watever, but this story really touched me. i love eminem, and his life story is sooo sad. i did alot of research, and i really think marshall deserves all his fame and fortune. well anyways, R.I.P. Ronnie! & I love u Em.

  14. matt avatar

    em went though tuff times but i think it made him better as a rapper

  15. joemama avatar

    U R ALL GAY. quit disrespecting others and get a job. This site is a mockery, mind ur own business and let the man work…see i can admit to being a consumer.

  16. stan avatar

    I can’t write a lot, cuz my english isn’t good.
    so just let me say to U Em that I’m your biggest fan, and nothin’ more. The only thing which cans
    make me feelin better is listening U. I’m so sorry for your uncle…
    I wanna be a rapper, but that’ll be hard.

    so carry on u, em. I can’t live without u…

    Stan (ny-73)

  17. Ray avatar

    Eminem is the mother fuckin greatest.If you fuck with eminem……someone will get you sooner or later.

  18. Tim avatar

    who ever that was (the fuck-up that said the shit about how he “killed” ronnie and he’d kill eminem too) is gonna get his fuckin stomache sliced open….just stick a post-it on your head saying “retarded peice of shit”

  19. lydia avatar

    also der eminem hats scho ziehmlich drauf.ned nur das er scheissgeil rappt, und tiafe beats dazua.naa der is a no fesch!

  20. VaNa-LoUiSe avatar

    i AlWaYs HeAr AbOuT rOnNiE aNd AlWaYs WoNdEr WhO Is RoNnIe? bUt nOw ThAt I kNoW, wHo He Is AnD hOw mUcH EmInEm lOoKeD uP tO hIm,iTs A bIg TrIp. wElL, I gUeSs It GoEs tO SaY tHaT eVeRy PeRsOn HaS SoMeOnE To LoOk uP tO…

  21. casta mark avatar
    casta mark

    first EMINEM is the bomb,aint no1 ever gonna be looked at the way he his looked at…his childhood and ronnie,do play abig part in his rep now,so i guess thas wot he lives 4 tellin it how he had it.i lov eminem’s music regaurdless wot any1 gotta say about him..eminem sed he looked up to ronnie like eminem looked up to ronnie,damnn i wanna meet this ronnie dude lol u kno wot im sayin..but im sorry 4 the los of ronnie..r.i.p..much lov

  22. brianna avatar

    If i could bring back Ronnie for Marshall a.k.a. eminem i would. I luv eminem and it really sucks for him to lose someone so special to him like that.

  23. jamie page avatar
    jamie page

    I think anyone who kills themselves is a coward and that stupid turd eminem should get over it, I mean if his uncle ronnie had cared anything for eminem then surely he would still be alive.
    All you idiots who say you would bring him back are all talking shit, the worlds a better place without pricks like ronnie. Mug.

  24. nico avatar

    I think its awesome that em didn’t kill himself after what happened with ronnie. I mean he was already feeling kinda shitty before ronnie and probly felt really shitty after ronnie. Eminem is somebody very impressive, and I really respect him. Keep doin’ your music till there’s no more left in you, Em, cause you and yer music ROCKS THIS WORLD!

  25. Ins@iN avatar

    yo if eminem is readin this wat up! ronnie gets much respect from me! eminem is the greatest MC in tha world and if it werent for ronnie.. slim shady wouldnt be rapping. RIP ronnie much respect

  26. Ins@iN avatar

    also that fool who sed that u killed ronnie…. whos gonna belive ya…. u all get respect except that moron…. oh and that tim guy gets heaps of respect from me


    you ask me my name its Ins@iN if u ask 4 it again it will remain the same as Ins@iN

  27. olivia avatar

    EMIN3M rocks and so dus ronnie
    im watchin the up in smoke concert wit eminem under the influence goin!
    its awesome
    also im listenin to d12 blow my buzz wit eminem goin

  28. eminem rules avatar
    eminem rules

    i feel for u em, i lost someone to from suicide.
    if i could brind ronnie back for you i would!

  29. MechanicalBull99 avatar

    i feel for u em, i lost someone to from suicide.
    if i could brind ronnie back for you i would!

  30. Puganinni avatar

    I had a mom that said she was ashamed, the way I look, my self to blame. Tattoos on my body, piercings as well “I cant belive I had you ‘P’ this is my time in hell”
    OK mom its my life to live, you had your chance to fuk up now give the chance to me, there’s no time to hate me mom, our life is short, here look at this new tattoo, its ‘mom’ I sport. I loved you mom and now that she’s gone I can see the ink, the only memory I have – thats what I think!!


  31. Stacey avatar

    I”ve been listening to your Lyrics and I her you talk about ronnie but I really didn’t know he was intil Know and I am so sorry for your lose. love you.

  32. MEL avatar

    Marshall is HOT!! So is his music, you could hear the pain and actually feel what he has went through. YoU stuPid FuCks that say suicide people are losErs and the Dumb Jack Ass Fuck that said he killed Ronnie needs to be Castrated. Stupid Lame ass fuck is a COWARD, Eat EM”S SHIT…LOVE YOU EM.

    Your Number #1 Fan,,,,Mel

  33. Marshall Kicks Ass avatar
    Marshall Kicks Ass

    When I first heard the songs ‘Cleaning Out My Closet’ and ‘My Dad’s Gone Crazy’ I wondered who the fuck was Ronnie. At first I assumed it was his little bro who died.
    After I came to this site I fucking cried. Marshall has been threw so much shit in his life. As if having a shit-head for a mom wasn’t even but losing your uncle and best friend i’m surprised Marshall himself hasn’t commited suicide. Thank god he hasn’t. Long live Marshall!
    I hope his shit-head for a mom fucking burns in hell!

  34. Makie avatar

    you idiots… theres like 23 songs from eminem that says something about ronnie. obviously you dont watch tv. he went on the news. and did interviews and such talkin about his uncle ronnie. but anyways Slim keep up teh good work . .*^*.RIP RONNIE.*^*. .

  35. anonymous avatar

    RONNIE R.I.P…may your spirit rest with marshall…wih all my love i respect you and i love your music…it’s easy to understand and your life compares with it in your words of wisdom..

  36. thapatio avatar

    i rokon ronnies kool did he hav a daughter? cos i thought that laini as mentioned in mockingbird was his daghter but can i get confirmation?

  37. Cairo DeAngelis (XP) avatar

    Yo fools, EM’s tight but alot of ya’ll need to get a life. You can get one here

  38. Isra (eminem's #1fan) avatar

    Omg i no every thing about Ronnie and eminem. i love you eminem. let ronnie’s sole R.I.P. i feel so bad for eminem. i love you eminem. i hope you what ever you do as a decision is greatest for you and your family. i will miss you if you retire. but i’m hopinf your not going to. Any eminem i can see Ronnie was important to you. i have a bf and if i lost her i would have killed myself literlly. Any way i know this is not helping but i know eminem is strong. I would not have atteneded my bf’s funeral. i would be to sad. i would visit her. if i could i would take my life so Ronnie could live. Anything for eminem. Eminem your my idol i would do any thing for you, eminem. if you are happy so am I. Emine rocks ronnie rockes so yea you guys both rock. i love you so much. Eminem has lyrics that you have to listen to not just put on and sing to it. eminem i hope you decide to stay in the rap game. i love you. Hopefully when i grow up i will get a tatoo of eminem and ronnie and my husband!!!!O yea i hope eminem’s mom burns in hell as well with Kim.
    Hailie will be 10 this Christmas! (if you do not no who that is you do not know who she it you do not know eminem!! halie is his daughter!!)
    Ronnie R.I.P.


  39. Taylore (em's #1 Fan) avatar

    omg i just read this and i cant belive it im like crying i feel so sorry for em like thats so sad and for any of u fuckers who say that ronnie killed himself then fuc k u because i know he wouldnt because he had eminem in his life and your intitled to your own opinion but man that fucken sucks that you would say that about him i feel so bad for eminem and i swear is ronnie was still alive id hope he would give rapping a try and eminem keep
    belivein kk i really dont think he killed himself and i belive that with all my heart and i know u know he didnt commit suicide cause if he didnt like guns and he was sensitive then how did he shoot hiomself exactly point proven so man dont feel like its your fault just keep belivenin yourself and you know what i think Ronnie gave this to you for a gift from heaven he gave you this career so people can hear what you can have on your mind and you have many things to come and i hope you are ok i wish he was still here i’d be his and yours #1 fan! but im already yours so ya i miss you i went to one of your concerts and thx for signing my pic of you i look at it everynight and think how nice it would be for me to know you that would be so kool and if i can meet you omg i would di… be so happy and it would be great anyway if you wanna talk to me its and add me if you want ok i luv you bye ill sign this everyweek ok bye Taylore

  40. eminem the 2nd avatar

    i think that slim shady is the best of the best i am his biggest fan i thank god every day that marshall didnt comit cuicide and if i could i would give my soul to get roone back ronnie eminems closest friend after what happend to him.
    my biggest dream is to meet u slim (p.s fuck everyone who hates u)

  41. eminem's biggest fan avatar
    eminem’s biggest fan

    i think that eminem is the coolest and it really sucks dat his uncle died and to tell you the truth i don’t think he killed himself either i just feel so bad for slim but at least he had the chance to have a great uncle and i’m glad he intoduced slim to hip hop cause a lot of people wouldn’t have another way to express themselves and who ever thinks dat Romnnie killed himself r fuckin crazy and the people who think slim is a bad guy are even more fuckin crazy
    i think ur daughter Hailie is so luck to have a dad like u eminem @ least u care about her more than ur dumbass dad who didin’t even take a chance to get to know u (well dat was his lost) well i love listening to ur song cause they make me feel a lot better inside cause i know i’m not alone and i also know how it feels to lose some one close to u and another thing unlike some people i can tell when your jokin and when your sirouis and i wish i cou;d get the chase to have a dad like u my dad left me when i was 3 and he says he luvs me sometimes i believe it and other times i don’t and my step dad is a jerk sometimes he told me he wanted to try to get along wit me but i knew he’d forget sometimes i feel like i’m alone until i listen to your songs well alll i got to say is keep rappin got to go
    luv ya,
    your biggest fan

  42. kizybabiee avatar

    yo, marshall is da man!! he loved his uncle so much, if you read the ‘way i am’ book he recently brought out it will tell you all about Ronnie. Ronnie was his inspiration. But it was Ronnie who inspired him to rap not to break dance. The break dancing came when he was at one of his schools an he met sum friends (cant remember their names) but they used 2 go into the library an carry a bit of cardboard an show off their skills. Em iz da man an a lyrical matter what happens nobody can take that away from him. The rhymes he spits…maaan how could he do it?! GENIUS

    N.Ireland 🙂


  43. Derek avatar

    that shits harsh what happend to ronnie im tlkn bout, great article by the way

  44. Lovekush avatar

    Eminem was close to uncle ronnie and i think he know all the truth about sucite and uncle ronnie.I love eminem and always wd him.

  45. jennie avatar

    I love you eminem
    I’m normally a rocker type of girl but damn, you are the best rapper out there I love you and RIP Ronnie Ive had someone very close to me kill themselves too.. ( my sister) so I know exactly how you feel. Stay strong man. Love ya