Ranking Eminem's Top 5 Albums
Updated: Oct 12, 2021
From the time ‘My Name Is’ hit the airways there has never been an MC that has divided opinion and courted controversy quite like the white boy from Detroit, Eminem. Here, I am going to do something that is not going to go down well - rank the legendary rappers’ top 5 albums.
WARNING - This is just a personal opinion, read it all the way through and save your hate for the comments section. (Spoiler: ‘Infinite’ doesn’t make the list)
5. KAMIKAZE (2018)
“Maybe the vocals should have been auto-tuned/And you would have bought it/But sayin' I no longer got it/'Cause you missed the line and never caught it/'Cause it went over your head, because you're too stupid to get it/'Cause you're mentally retarded but pretend to be the smartest/ With your expertise and knowledge, but you'll never be an artist” (The Ringer)
His second album in a 12 month period and he came out swinging. From the first bars of ‘The Ringer’, he looks to right the wrongs of 2017s ‘Revival’ album, which was panned by critics and fans alike.
It heralded a new evolution of Eminem with his already incredible wordplay taken to another level. Tracks featuring Royce Da 5’9”, Joyner Lucas, and Jessie Reyez also saw a move away from the more feature-heavy style of previous releases.
4. EMINEM SHOW (2002)
“That's why we, sing for these kids who don't have a thing/Except for a dream and a fucking rap magazine/Who post pin-up pictures on they walls all day long/Idolize their favorite rappers and know all their songs/Or for anyone who's ever been through shit in they lives/So they sit and they cry at night wishing they'd die/'Til they throw on a rap record and they sit and they vibe/We're nothing to you, but we're the fucking shit in their eyes” (Sing For The Moment)
I’m expecting a lot of hate for breaking up the holy trinity of Eminem albums here. As I mentioned in the intro this is just a personal opinion piece. Hate is welcomed in the comments section.
With this legendary album, the Detroit MC did something that only a select few artists across any genre of music have achieved by releasing three classic albums back to back.
The final act of his ‘Persona Trilogy’ saw him dial back the shock tactics and inflammatory antics of his first two albums as he took a more introspective look at the way his fame and success (which was never bigger than in 2002) had changed his life.
3. SLIM SHADY LP (1999)
“Fuck droppin' a jewel, I'm flippin' a sacred treasure/I'll bite your motherfuckin' style, just to make it fresher/I can't take the pressure, I'm sick of bitches/Sick of nagging bosses bitchin' while I'm washin' dishes (Just Don’t Give A Fuck)”
His breakthrough to the mainstream. A more polished version of his independently released ‘Slim Shady EP’ and the first of his persona trilogy. And an instant classic. Praised critically across the board and incredible commercial success meant his first studio album had placed Eminem at the center of pop culture at the time.
Shocking, violent, cartoonish lyrics that were the exception at the time were revolutionary. And his attacks on pop music icons of the time earned him credit with angry teens across the globe. Without question, a 5-star album.
2. RECOVERY (2010)
“They call me a freak 'cause I like to spit on these pussies 'fore I eat them/Man get these whack cocksuckers off stage, where the fuck is Kanye when you need him?/Snatch the mic from him, bitch I'mma let you finish in a minute,/Yeah that rap was tight, but I'm 'bout to spit the greatest verse of all time/So you might want to go back to the lab tonight and um/Scribble out them rhymes you were gonna spit and start over from scratch and write new ones” (No Love)
This is the one I am expecting the most hate for. But I stand by it.
After the success of the early ‘aughts and the acclaim he received for his ‘8 Mile’ acting role and subsequent soundtrack, Em definitely hit a flat spot as he closed out the decade.
While Recovery didn’t symbolize a permanent return to the top of the game, it was a brief return. In this writer’s opinion, there is not a poor track on this album and to this day I play this album from start to finish.
1. MARSHALL MATHERS LP (2000)
“Eh-heh, know why I say these things?/'Cause lady's screams keep creepin' in Shady's dreams/And the way things seem, I shouldn't have to pay these shrinks/This eighty G's a week to say the same things tweece/Twice? Whatever, I hate these things” (Kill You)
His greatest achievement ever. As much as I expect hate for my previous pick, I don’t think there can be any argument with placing this album at the top of the list.
There is no sophomore slump from Em here as he knocked it out of the park. Critically acclaimed. Loved by fans the world over. Sold like hotcakes. And still his most replayable album of all time