A list of the Rap God's greatest releases
When word got out that Dr. Dre had signed a white rapper from Detroit in the late '90s, people were shocked and confused.
After the catastrophe that was Vanilla Ice, white rappers became persona non grata in Hip-Hop. However, Marshall Mathers changed that by becoming one of the most successful emcees of all time.
Eminem, AKA Slim Shady, is a polarizing figure in rap. While some think he's one of the most talented trailblazers to pick up a microphone, others feel he's an overrated misogynist whose success can be credited to his white privilege. Whether you love or hate him, Eminem is still a topic of discussion even 20 plus years after his debut.
Despite his older content not aging well and his new music being considered out of touch, Eminem's catalog is the highest-selling in Hip-Hop history. With over 49 million albums sold in the U.S. alone, his record-setting sales are still unmatched in the genre.
Let's take a look at Eminem's best albums (in order of release).
The Slim Shady LP (1999)
The Slim Shady LP Album Cover
Eminem released an independent album called Infinite in 1996 before signing to Dr. Dre's Aftermath Records. The album got trashed by critics and led to the creation of his Slim Shady persona. Slim Shady was Eminem's unhinged alter ego who was hellbent on terrorizing the world that tortured and bullied him growing up.
The Slim Shady LP was released in February of 1999. The album's content was just as satirical as it was sadistic. Eminem covered topics that were more in the realm of a horror movie than a Hip-Hop album. Shock value aside, the album sold 4 million copies and earned Em two Grammys.
The Marshall Mathers LP (2000)
The Marshall Mathers LP Album Cover
Eminem's major label debut saw him become Hip-Hop's public enemy. His homophobic barbs and rhymes about mutilating women made him rap's reigning king of controversy. Eminem used this newfound hatred and leaned in even more with the offensive lyrics on his follow up, The Marshall Mathers LP.
No one was safe from Eminem's wrath. Whether it was a pop star, his wife Kim, or his mother, Em made it his mission to be Hip-Hop's resident villain. Released in May of 2000, the album was another commercial success achieving diamond status.
The song "Stan," about an obsessed fan, became a pop culture reference and was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2017.
The Eminem Show (2002)
The Eminem Show Album Cover
In 2002, you'd be hard-pressed to find a rapper more popular than Eminem. He went from obscurity to superstar in fewer than two years. But while he was experiencing professional highs, he also had some personal lows. A gun charge and a bitter separation from his wife were first hand looks at the downside of his newly acquired fame.
Em addressed his distaste for celebrity life on The Eminem Show. He still managed to be his controversial self, but there was a subtle level of maturity that didn't exist on his previous albums. The Eminem Show was another successful outing, becoming Eminem's second album to go diamond.
Recovery Album Cover
The death of his best friend Proof and a battle with drug addiction almost ended Eminem's career and life in 2005. Eminem took a hiatus to get sober and grieve the loss of his childhood friend. Eminem would resurface with the album Relapse in 2009.
Fans were ecstatic over Slim Shady's return, but the album was a disappointment from a creative standpoint. Eminem redeemed himself the following year with Recovery. On his previous albums, Eminem went out of his way to be derogatory. Recovery, however, told the story of a man on a road to redemption. It was less about Slim Shady and Eminem and more about Marshall Mathers.
Music to Be Murdered By (2020)
Music To Be Murdered By Album Cover
After Recovery, Eminem struggled to adjust to Hip-Hop's current climate. He took pride in his ability to just rap, but being a lyricist isn't a requirement in today's rap scene. His next three albums (The Marshall Mathers LP2, Revival, and Kamikazee) were a contrived attempt at finding his voice with the newer generation.
Eventually, Eminem stopped adhering to the pressure of fitting in and crafted his eleventh studio album, Music to Be Murdered By. The album was inspired by the Alfred Hitchcock spoken word album of the same name. It was released in January of 2020. A deluxe edition with sixteen new songs was released on December 18, 2020.
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