With Eminem turning 47 years old a couple days ago I thought it a great time to examine the career of this music legend. Since his appearance on the music scene back in the mid 90s Eminem has grown to become a worldwide sensation, rap legend and household name but the rapper had humble beginnings and a tough road to get to where he’s at today. Born Marshall Bruce Mathers III on October 17, 1972 in St. Joseph, Missouri Eminem would have a tough childhood, growing up very poor and bouncing around from place to place , never staying in one place for more than a year. He was bullied a lot as a kid and would end up finding a way to escape all of that with music. His love for music would grow into a tremendous talent and he would release his first album Infinite in 1996 and the music industry would never be the same again. The best way to look at any musicians career is to examine their album releases and how well they were received over the years so that is what I’m going to do with this article is start from the beginning and take a look at each of his albums. Although he was part of the group D12 I will not be including those albums here.
Released in 1996 Infinite was Eminem’s first major release and although it wasn’t the album that helped him to take the music world by storm it was a great stepping stone to the next part of his career. The album was released by Web Entertainment and featured guest vocals by Proof, Mr. Porter, Three and Thyme, Eye Kyu and singer Angela Workman. the album was actually a critical commercial failure only selling 1000 copies at the time of release but as we all know now Eminem obviously didn’t give up due to that.
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The Slim Shady LP
It would take him 3 years or so but in 1999 Eminem would release his second album The Slim Shady LP which would end up leaps and bounds more successful than his first album and is credited for really putting him in the spotlight. Released by Aftermath Entertainment and Interscope Records it would be the first of many albums that Eminem works alongside rap legend Dr. Dre and also the first album where we’re introduced to Eminem’s alter-ego Slim Shady, which was partly inspired by his first album’s failure. The album sold 283,000 copies in its first week and was both commercially and critically successful. Almost everyone knows almost every song of this album but a few examples are “My name Is”, “Guilty Conscience” and “Role Model”. The Slim Shady LP woon a Grammy that year for Best Rap Album.
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The Marshall Mathers LP
His third studio album The Marshall Mathers LP would be released just a year later in 2000 by Aftermath Entertainment and Interscope Records and would cement Eminem’s name in the music industry for years to come. The Marshall Mathers LP debuted at the number 1 spot on The Billboard 200 and sold 1.7 million copies in its first week. Featuring hits like “The Real Slim Shady”, “Stan” and “The Way I Am” in my opinion it is still one of his best albums to date. The album won 3 Grammy Awards and was also nominated for Album of the Year and to date as sold over 35 million copies.
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The Eminem Show
Eminem’s fourth studio album The Eminem Show was released in 2002 once again by Aftermath Entertainment and Interscope Records and would once again garner commercial success. Featuring hits like “Cleaning Out My Closet” and “Without Me” the album has sold over 30 million copies worldwide and was Eminem’s second album to go diamond in the United States. The Eminem Show was nominated for a Grammy for Album of the Year and won a Grammy for Best Rap Album.
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Eminem would release his fifth studio album Encore in 2004 which sold 1.5 million copies in its first week and although it wasn’t a total commercial failure it is considered to be on of Eminem’s least successful albums, even Eminem has expressed his disappointment in the album. Regardless of its success or failure the album features some great songs such as “Mockingbird” and “Just Lose It” and shows that even a bad album by Eminem is a good one when stacked up against other artists.
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Eminem Presents The Re-Up
Eminem Presents The Re-Up is A different kind of album and Eminem’s worst release since Infinite. Featuring various artists that were signed under his own record label Shady Records the album seems more like an experiment than an actual release. It features guest spots by artist like D12, 50 Cent, Obie Trice, Lloyd Banks, Akon and Nate Dogg and sold over 1 million copies in the US alone, so although not his best work it is still not a total failure.
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Eminem’s first solo album in 5 years Relapse would be the album that proved he still had it and was still a rap genius, it was released in 2009 and part of the reason for the long hiatus in between was him having addiction issues with prescription medications. The album focuses on his battles with addiction and re-introduces us to his alter ego Slim Shady. Relapse debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200 and has sold over 3 million copies in the US alone. Although not the most successful of his albums, it has garnered a cult type following among some Eminem fans with songs like “Beautiful” and “3 AM” and it’s horror themed lyrics.
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Released in 2010 Recovery would be Eminem’s seventh studio album and the one where he came out swinging, dropping most of the humor from his lyrics approaching the album with a much more serious tone. Recovery featured collabs with artists like Pink, Lil Wayne, Slaughterhouse and Rihanna and is probably best known for the single “Love The Way You Lie” featuring Rihanna. The album has sold over 15 million copies worldwide and would be nominated for countless awards and would win quite a few of those nominations.
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The Marshall Mathers LP 2
Eminem would release his eighth studio album The Marshall Mathers LP 2 in 2013 which would feature guest appearances by the likes of Skylar Grey, Rihanna, Kendrick Lamar and Nate Ruess. The album is best known for the singles “Rap God” and “Headlights” featuring Nate Ruess and won a Grammy for Best Rap album. The Marshall Mathers LP 2 has sold 3.8 million copies worldwide.
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The rapper’s ninth studio album Revival was released in 2017 and features guest appearances by Beyonce, Ed Sheeran, Alicia Keys, skylar Grey and Pink. Revival Debuted at number one in Canada, The US, UK, Australia and Finland and contains singles like “Walk on Water” and “River”.
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Eminem’s latest and 10th studio album titled Kamikaze has shown that Eminem is around to stay and hasn’t lost his edge at all at the age of 47. The album features guest appearances by Joyner Lucas, Royce Da 5’9″ and Jessie Reyez and reached number one in 15 countries and would become the top selling album of 2018. Kamikaze is Eminem’s direct response to critics questioning whether he still had it or not and if he was still relevant and contains numerous diss tracks aimed at other rappers.
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That’s it for his main studio releases, he has put out albums with D12 and collabed on too many other artist’s albums to list as well as having a ridiculous amount of underground rap battles floating around the internet. Eminem has had a long successful career and shows no signs of going anywhere anytime soon.
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