The Real Slim Shady Review: Eminem Albums in Order

Eminem backstage in Munich, Germany 10-31-10-1999

At the pinnacle of his career, Eminem was not just a rapper but a cultural icon, influencing an entire generation with his unique style, elite lyrical quality, and unapologetic approach. He easily made our ranking of the Top 20 Greatest Rappers of All Time, due to is profound impact on the music industry, having reshaped the landscape of hip-hop at a time when most though its "golden age" (the 1990s) had already passed. Known for his intricate rhymes, rapid-fire delivery, and ability to weave complex narratives, Eminem's talent has earned him widespread critical acclaim and a massive, diverse fan base.

Throughout his illustrious career, Eminem has won numerous awards, including several Grammy Awards, solidifying his position as one of the greatest rappers of all time. Eminem albums have consistently topped charts, showcasing his versatility and ability to evolve with the changing tides of music. He was a shoo-in for our articles on the 50 best Hip Hop artists, and the 100 best Hip Hop songs of the 90s. His influence extends well beyond the Eminem albums in order discography we've listed in this article; he has played a pivotal role in the careers of other artists through collaborations and his record label, Shady Records.

Eminem's lyrical prowess is characterized by its depth and honesty, often drawing from personal experiences. This raw authenticity has resonated deeply with audiences, allowing them to connect with his music on a personal level. His tracks often tackle controversial and challenging subjects, reflecting his boldness in addressing issues others might shy away from. Eminem's ability to balance commercial success with artistic integrity has been a hallmark of his career, making him a respected figure not just among fans but within the music industry as well.

Eminem's legacy is not just in the records he has sold or the charts he has topped, but in the way he has inspired artists across genres. His journey is a testament to the power of resilience and the impact of authentic storytelling in music. As we delve into his discography, it becomes evident that Eminem's contribution to music goes far beyond the surface, making him a defining artist of his generation.

Where Did Eminem Grow Up?

Eminem, born as Marshall Bruce Mathers III, spent his formative years in a challenging environment that significantly influenced his later work. Born on October 17, 1972, in St. Joseph, Missouri, Eminem's early life was marked by instability and movement. His childhood was largely spent between Missouri and Michigan, primarily in Detroit's working-class neighborhoods. The frequent moves and his mother's struggle to maintain a stable home deeply impacted Eminem, contributing to his gritty and raw lyrical style.

Life for young Marshall was far from easy. He faced constant bullying and struggled with a sense of belonging due to the constant relocations. His neighborhood in Detroit, often characterized by its harsh realities, played a crucial role in shaping his worldview. Eminem found solace in storytelling, developing a vivid imagination that later manifested in his lyrics.

A significant figure during his early years was DeShaun Dupree Holton, known as Proof. Although their relationship would later evolve into a musical partnership, during their childhood, Proof was a close friend and an important emotional support for Eminem. They shared a bond over their similar circumstances and mutual interests, providing each other with much-needed companionship in a tough environment.

Proof eminem
Eminem performing with his childhood friend, DeShaun Dupree Holton (aka Proof), in 1999.

Eminem's childhood, while fraught with challenges, laid the foundation for his deep understanding of the human condition, a theme prevalent in his music. His early life experiences, characterized by poverty, domestic instability, and social struggles, not only shaped his character but also deeply influenced his artistic development.

When Did Eminem Start Rapping?

Eminem's journey into rap was driven by a blend of passion, circumstances, and innate talent. His interest in rap began in his teenage years, as he found himself drawn to the expressive power of the genre. The complex wordplay, rhythm, and ability to tell stories through rap resonated with him, providing an outlet for his thoughts and experiences.

Eminem's initial foray into rapping began in the rough neighborhoods of Detroit, where he started attending local open-mic contests and rap battles. These venues became his training ground, honing his skills and building his reputation. His participation in the underground rap scene of Detroit was pivotal, as it allowed him to refine his style and delivery, essential components of his later success.

How Old Was Eminem When He Started Rapping?

Eminem's journey into the world of rap began at a young age. He was around 14 years old when he started rapping. At this pivotal age, Eminem delved into the art form, exploring and crafting his unique style that would later become his signature in the rap industry. This early start laid the foundation for what would become a legendary career in music.

A significant milestone in Eminem's rap career was his collaboration with Proof. Together, they formed the group Soul Intent and later joined the collective known as D12. These early collaborations were crucial in developing his style and gaining exposure in the local rap scene.

What Was Dr Dre and Eminem's Relationship?

The turning point in Eminem's career came when he caught the attention of Dr. Dre, the renowned producer and rap mogul. Dr. Dre saw the potential in Eminem's unique style and signed him to his label, Aftermath Entertainment. This partnership catapulted Eminem into the mainstream, with Dr. Dre's guidance and production expertise complementing Eminem's raw talent.

The Marshall Mathers LP
Three out of Dr. Dre's six GRAMMY Awards came through Eminem collaborations, including producing his most critically acclaimed album, "The Marshall Mathers LP".

Eminem's early material, including albums like "Infinite" and the Slim Shady EP, laid the groundwork for his future success. His participation in events like the Rap Olympics and his provocative, often controversial, lyrics in the Slim Shady EP caught the attention of both fans and critics, setting the stage for his rise to fame. Collaborations with artists like Dr. Dre not only broadened his audience but also solidified his standing in the hip-hop community.

What Was Eminems First Album?

Eminem's first album was titled "Infinite," marking the beginning of an extraordinary career in the world of hip-hop. Released in 1996, this album was a raw showcase of Eminem's talent, yet it was not an immediate commercial success. Crafted in the modest confines of the Bassmint Productions studio, "Infinite" displayed Eminem's early style, characterized by complex rhymes and a noticeably different, less aggressive delivery compared to his later works.

"Infinite" is significant as it provided a glimpse into Eminem's potential. The album's lyrics reflected his struggles with poverty, the birth of his daughter Hailie, and his aspirations to break free from life's constraints. Despite its lack of commercial success, "Infinite" was a crucial stepping stone for Eminem. It demonstrated his unique storytelling ability and his willingness to be vulnerable and authentic in his music. The album's tracks, such as "It's OK" and "313," offered a stark contrast to the Slim Shady persona that would later define his career.

Infinite by Eminem US cassette album
Album cover for Eminem's debut album "Infinite"

The release of "Infinite" was a defining moment for Eminem. While it didn't gain widespread recognition, it played a pivotal role in his artistic development. The album's limited production and distribution meant it didn't reach a broad audience, but it earned respect in Detroit's underground rap scene. The experience of creating "Infinite" was instrumental in shaping Eminem's future musical direction, ultimately leading to the creation of the Slim Shady EP and his subsequent rise to fame.

How Many Albums Has Eminem Sold?

Eminem's commercial success in the music industry is nothing short of remarkable. Eminem has sold over 220 million albums worldwide, a testament to his widespread appeal and enduring influence in the music industry. This staggering number not only places him among the best-selling music artists of all time but also underscores his status as one of the most successful hip-hop artists ever.

The significance of Eminem's album sales lies not just in the numbers but in what they represent. His ability to connect with a vast array of listeners across different demographics is exceptional. Each album, from "The Slim Shady LP" to "Music To Be Murdered By," has contributed to this massive sales figure, showcasing his evolution as an artist and his knack for staying relevant in a rapidly changing music landscape.

Eminem albums in order have not only sold well but have also received critical acclaim and numerous awards. His work has garnered multiple Grammy Awards, including Best Rap Album for "The Slim Shady LP," "The Marshall Mathers LP," and "The Eminem Show," cementing his position in the music industry. The commercial success of his albums is a reflection of his ability to craft compelling narratives, his skillful wordplay, and his fearless approach to addressing controversial topics.

Eminem's album sales are a remarkable feat, especially considering the challenges he faced early in his career. They reflect his journey from an aspiring rapper in Detroit's underground scene to a global superstar. Eminem's sales numbers are not just about commercial success; they are a testament to his impact on music and culture, highlighting his ability to resonate with people from all walks of life through his art.

Eminem Albums in Order with Release Dates


Released in 1996

Eminem's debut album "Infinite" introduced a young artist experimenting with his newfound style. The album, largely unnoticed at the time of its release, laid the groundwork for his future persona. "Infinite" showcased Eminem's early approach to rap, characterized by complex lyrics and a more subdued style than his later works. The album, reflecting his struggles in Detroit, didn't achieve significant commercial success but is now appreciated for its raw lyricism and storytelling.

The Slim Shady LP

Released in 1999

"The Slim Shady LP" was Eminem's introduction to mainstream success, a drastic shift from his debut. Produced by Dr. Dre, this album unveiled the controversial and provocative Slim Shady persona. It won the Grammy for Best Rap Album, marking Eminem's arrival as a major force in hip-hop. Notable for hits like "My Name Is" and "Guilty Conscience," the album was a commercial success, praised for its unique blend of humor, dark storytelling, and social commentary. It marked a significant evolution in Eminem's style, setting the tone for his future work.

The Marshall Mathers LP

Released in 2000

One of Eminem's most critically acclaimed works, featuring iconic tracks like "Stan" and "The Real Slim Shady." "The Marshall Mathers LP" broke sales records and won the Grammy for Best Rap Album. Its raw, autobiographical content and exploration of personal and controversial topics resonated with a wide audience, solidifying Eminem's status as one of rap's most influential voices. This album marked a pivotal point in his career, showcasing his storytelling prowess and cementing his place in hip-hop history.

The Eminem Show

Released in 2002

"The Eminem Show" continued Eminem's streak of critically acclaimed albums, blending personal narratives with socio-political commentary. Tracks like "Without Me" and "Cleanin' Out My Closet" became anthems of the early 2000s. The album received the Grammy for Best Rap Album, praised for its introspection and cohesiveness. Eminem's growth as an artist was evident, as he explored more mature themes and showcased a more refined lyrical style. This album is often regarded as one of his best, demonstrating his versatility and depth as an artist.


Released in 2004

Eminem continued his exploration of personal and controversial themes on "Encore". Tracks like "Like Toy Soldiers" and "Mockingbird" offered insight into his personal life and struggles. While it received mixed reviews and was seen as less impactful than his previous works, "Encore" still achieved commercial success and contained hit singles. This album reflected a transitional period in Eminem's career, grappling with fame and personal challenges.


Released in 2009

After a hiatus Eminem's returned to music with "Relapse". The album, heavily influenced by his experiences with addiction and rehabilitation, showcased a darker, more introspective side of Eminem. Despite mixed reviews, it won the Grammy for Best Rap Album. "Relapse" was significant for its candid exploration of Eminem's struggles, a theme that would continue in his subsequent works. It represented a comeback, demonstrating his resilience both personally and artistically.


Released in 2010

"Recovery," a follow-up to "Relapse," was seen as a return to form for Eminem. Embracing a more uplifting and motivational tone, the album resonated with fans, spawning hits like "Not Afraid" and "Love the Way You Lie." "Recovery" won the Grammy for Best Rap Album and was praised for its honest reflection on Eminem's journey of self-improvement and redemption. This album marked a significant shift in his musical approach, focusing on personal growth and resilience.

The Marshall Mathers LP2

Released in 2013

A sequel to his 2000 album "The Marshall Mathers LP", #2 revisited themes from his earlier career. With tracks like "Rap God" and "The Monster," the album was both a critical and commercial success, winning the Grammy for Best Rap Album. It combined nostalgia with innovation, showcasing Eminem's continued lyrical prowess and ability to evolve. This album reinforced his status as a veteran in the rap game, bridging his past and present styles.


Released in 2017

"Revival" marked a departure from Eminem's previous themes, focusing more on political and social issues. Despite its ambitious scope, the album received mixed reviews for its inconsistency and departure from his traditional style. Tracks like "Walk on Water" and "River" highlighted his introspective and reflective nature. "Revival" represented an artist grappling with the changing landscape of the world and hip-hop, trying to find his place within it.


Released in 2018

Released unexpectedly, "Kamikaze" was a response to the criticism of "Revival." The album showcased a return to Eminem's aggressive style, with sharp lyrics and a defiant attitude. Praised for its energy and intensity, "Kamikaze" addressed critics and contemporaries alike, reaffirming Eminem's place in the rap industry. The album's surprise release and bold content made it a standout project, signaling his unwillingness to compromise his artistic vision.

Music to Be Murdered By

Released in 2020

Eminem's late-career resurgence continued in 2020, with "Music to Be Murdered By" blending traditional hip-hop elements with contemporary sounds. The album, featuring collaborations with various artists, was both a critical and commercial success. Tracks like "Godzilla" showcased his technical skill, while "Darkness" addressed social issues. This album reflected Eminem's ability to stay relevant and influential in the ever-evolving rap landscape, proving his enduring appeal and artistic versatility.

An Uncontested Rap Legend

Eminem's unparalleled career in hip-hop has earned him the GOAT (Greatest of All Time) title for many Hip Hop fans and critics. His unique blend of raw lyrical prowess, storytelling ability, and versatility has set him apart in the rap industry. Eminem has consistently pushed boundaries, addressing controversial topics with honesty and complexity. His influence extends beyond music, impacting culture and inspiring a generation of artists.

Eminem 2021

Eminem's journey from a struggling rapper in Detroit to a global superstar is a testament to his talent, resilience, and hard work. His ability to evolve while staying true to his roots has kept him relevant in an ever-changing music landscape. With numerous awards, record-breaking album sales, and a legacy of influential Eminem albums in order, his contributions to hip-hop are undeniable. He has not just created music; he has crafted a narrative that resonates with people worldwide, making him a true icon in the music industry.

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