Ranking the Best Eminem Albums

It’s funny how hip-hop seemed to forget that Eminem is one of the greatest of all time.

Blame it on his relatively low profile, I guess. After emerging from the shadows to deliver a scorching freestyle directed at Donald Trump last month, controversy raised its head yet again.

Eminem and controversy have always gone hand in hand.

Before he releases his new album, Revival, in a couple of weeks, let’s look back at his entire discography, from bottom to top. We’ll only focus on his LPs and exclude his various compilation records.

Em’s one of the best to ever touch a microphone. The proof is below.


8. Encore  (2004)

Soul In Stereo rating: 3 stars out of 5

Edd said: Yeah, you knew this was gonna sit at the bottom of the list. And while it’s by far his worst studio album, let’s add a little context – it was released not long after one of Eminem’s greatest projects so the bar was set high; Em was struggling with well-documented personal issues; and there are definitely quality tracks sprinkled throughout. But the lack of focus and overreliance on juvenile toilet humor did it no favors.

Forgotten favorites: “Spend Some Time,” “Rain Man,” “Like Toy Soliders”


7. Infinite (1996)

Soul In Stereo rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Edd said: Infinite is an album so elusive that many so-called hip-hop experts still don’t know of its existence today. Eminem’s debut was as grass-roots as it gets – he literally sold most of these copies from the back of his trunk. That hunger to succeed bleeds over into this debut, which features the raw potential that would eventually make him a star .

Forgotten favorites: “Infinite,” “It’s OK,” “313”


6. Relapse (2009)

Soul In Stereo rating: 3.5 stars out of 5 (read our review here)

Edd said: Relapse has a weird legacy on the always-fickle Internet. When Em released the album in the summer of 2009 – his first studio LP in half a decade – it was embraced by most critics as a triumphant return to form. But when Em later came out and said he was never that thrilled with the album, suddenly public opinion turned and it was immediately criticized. The truth – as is usually the case online – is in the middle. Relapse had its share of successes but ultimately served as a way for him to rediscover his voice in the changing rap landscape.

Forgotten favorites: “3 a.m.,” “Medicine Ball,” “Bagpipes from Baghdad”

marshall mathers lp 2

5. The Marshall Mathers LP 2 (2013)

Soul In Stereo rating: 4 stars out of 5 (read our review here)

Edd said: Sequel albums always face an uphill climb – comparing yourself to a superior predecessor often sets the bar way too high. And while The Marshall Mathers LP 2 doesn’t reach the level of its namesake, it’s FAR from a failure. No longer the angry kid from 2000, this wiser Eminem tackles life with a new approach – but with bars as menacing as the ones from his heyday. It’s the most underrated album in his catalog.

Forgotten favorites: “Bad Guy,” “Evil Twin,” “Rhyme or Reason”


4. Recovery (2010)

Soul In Stereo rating: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: If Relapse was Eminem searching for his voice, Recovery is when he found it. Finally stepping away from the anarchic persona that defined his earlier releases, Recovery featured Em as an elder statesmen – by no means old and out of touch, but much more measured and calculated in his approach. The result was his most cohesive release in many years. Certainly, some of the albums pop-flavored records are the antithesis of Early Eminem but there’s more than enough for both old and new fans to appreciate.

Forgotten favorites: “Seduction,” “Cinderella Man,” “25 to Life”

slim shady lp

3. The Slim Shady LP (1999)

Soul In Stereo rating: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: I’ll never forget hearing “My Name Is” for the first time one late 1999 night back in Virginia. I couldn’t tell if it was a radio ad for a new sitcom or if my frequency was hijacked by the kids from South Park. All I knew is that I wanted to hear MORE. The Slim Shady LP was the right time and right place for Eminem, a caustic voice ready to shake hip-hop to its core. But what made this album special was that there was actual substance behind those shock-value lyrics. As great as this was, it was just the beginning.

Forgotten favorites: “97 Bonnie & Clyde,” “Bad Meets Evil,” “Role Model”

eminem show

2. The Eminem Show (2002)

Soul In Stereo rating: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: It might be hard for newer rap fans to recognize this but back in the early 00s, Eminem absolutely dominated the scene. That oversaturation caused his fourth album, The Eminem Show, to be met with mixed reviews but make no mistake – this album is worthy of accolades. Showing a bit more maturity but retaining his trademark wit, Em showcased impressive growth both lyrically and emotionally.

Forgotten favorites: “Superman,” “Business,” “My Dad’s Gone Crazy”

marshall mathers lp

1. The Marshal Mathers LP (2000)

Soul In Stereo rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Edd said: In 2000, Eminem was truly the man America loved to hate. Mainstream America saw him as loud-mouthed anarchist, mainstream hip-hop saw him as a culture vulture looking for a cash-in. The Marshall Mathers LP was birthed from that frustration, a gripping portrait of a troubled young man grappling with fame. But it wasn’t a pity party – Em fought back with fiery fans that inspired a new generation of rap fans and fueled an album that would become a modern classic.

Forgotten favorites: “Marshall Mathers,” “Kim,” “Kill You”


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