Infinite is Eminem’s debut studio album. The first one. It was released on November 12, 1996, through Web Entertainment. Recording sessions took place at the Bass Brothers’ studio, with production handled by Mr. Porter (Kon Artis) and Eminem himself.
The album features guest vocals from fellow rappers Proof, Mr. Porter, Eye-Kyu, Three, and Thyme, as well as singer Angela Workman.
Physical copies of Infinite were released on cassette and vinyl only, and Eminem sold the copies from the trunk of his car in Detroit.
Label: Web Entertainment
Release date: 12 November 1996
Infinite showcases Eminem during a pre-shock rap era when he was trying to find his lyrical voice and still building up his persona. The album gives insight into his life before rap stardom.
“On [Infinite] you can hear the pain and the woes of just growing up and being poor and having a baby on the way. I started taking all the feedback (from Infinite) and started throwing it back in my music: ‘Yeah, I am white trash, I am whatever you’re gonna say about me.’ Somehow started taking the disadvantages and used them to my advantage. I reached a point where I stopped caring what people thought about me. And the second I stopped caring, people started caring about me.”— Eminem in a 2004 interview with Vanity Fair
Track listing – Eminem: Infinite
|1.||“Infinite”||Marshall Mathers, Denaun Porter||4:11|
|2.||“W.E.G.O.” (Interlude) (Skit) (performed by Proof & DJ Head)||0:26|
|3.||“It’s O.K.” (featuring Eye-Kyu)||Mathers, W. Drake, Porter||3:29|
|5.||“313” (featuring Eye-Kyu)||Mathers, W. Drake, Porter||4:11|
|6.||“Maxine” (featuring Mr. Porter & Three)||Mathers, Porter, W. Strong||Porter, Eminem[a]||3:55|
|7.||“Open Mic” (featuring Thyme)||Mathers, Thyme, Porter||4:02|
|8.||“Never 2 Far”||Mathers||3:38|
|9.||“Searchin'” (featuring Mr. Porter & Angela Workman)||Mathers, Porter, Angela Workman||3:45|
|11.||“Jealousy Woes II”||Mathers, Porter||Porter, Eminem[a]||3:19|
^[a] signifies a co-producer
Credits adapted from album booklet.
- Eminem – vocals, production
- Kevin Wilder – mixing, recording
- Robert “Flipside” Handy – mixing, recording
- Mr. Porter – production
- Jeff Bass – executive production
- Mark Bass – executive production
- DJ Butter Fingers – scratches
Note: While Mr. Porter produced the majority of the album, late Proof programmed the drums but went uncredited.
“Like me and Em did that record [Infinite] from start to finish and Proof came in and actually did the drum programming. So when me, him and Proof worked on the album together, it was just crazy. Then it went from that to Slim Shady LP. Like you don’t think it’s gonna be anything big, you’re just kids making music, know what I mean? We were so big on trying to get on the radio at home but the radio did not mess with us. We did not have the support at all. I remember we were trying to make songs that may work but they still didn’t play them (laughs).”— Mr. Porter in an interview for HipHop-N-More (21 April 2012)
Interesting facts about Eminem’s Infinite album
When this rare indie album was first released in 1996, only 1000 copies were made originally. It is not officially available on any online music stores and only the title track “Infinite” has been made available on Spotify.
The album was briefly re-released in 2009 for free (through 50 Cent’s website) in anticipation for Eminem’s comeback album Relapse, but has since been removed again.
On November 17, 2016, five days after the 20th anniversary of the album, Eminem posted a remix of the title track that was remastered, made by the Bass Brothers, to his Vevo channel, releasing it digitally for the first time.
“ There’s a monster in me that just wants to kill mc’s ”— Eminem ‘Infinite‘ song lyrics (little did he know…)
It’s not known exactly how many copies of Infinite were sold
The album received mixed reviews from music critics, and was a commercial failure upon release, selling only around 70 copies according to Eminem, although that was likely exaggerated and up to 1000 units were sold / given away. They are highly valued since the album was made before Eminem was signed to Interscope and Aftermath and there are hardly any original ones floating around. Plenty of fakes though, so beware.
“I recorded Infinite in 1995, my first album. It sold maybe 70 copies and didn’t get great feedback. A lot of people said it sounded like Nas, and he was a heavy influence at the time. But I had an album out, and I could say that. With The Slim Shady EP, it was a different story. That shit got some buzz in the underground, and online sites couldn’t keep it in stock. I started getting calls about shows.”— Eminem in his 2008 autobiography, “The Way I Am.”
Album Cover – Eminem: Infinite
There are two covers circulating around, the original one in color and a black and white one of the unofficial reissue from 2003. Since physical copies of Infinite were only released on cassette and vinyl, there are actually no original CD covers out there.
Album front cover (Cassette, 1996)
The official cover for the cassette released in 1996, cropped to square proportions:
Album front cover (Unofficial 2003 reissue)
The cover for the unofficial 2003 Europe reissue of “Infinite”, and also the most commonly used one:
European reissue album cover:
European reissue CD art:
Album back cover
This is in extremely low quality and likely of the reissue, but will have to do until we get a better one:
With some many fakes out there it is hard to find a photo that you can be certain is of original.
More original cover photos:
This beauty got signed by Eminem during the Mom’s Spaghetti restaurant opening in Detroit. The first 10 visitors in the line got 1 on 1 with Marshall, and a long time Eminem fan @zvessels55 (Instagram) happened to be tenth. Based on his collection and the fact that he has no plans of selling it, the luck sure struck the right person 🙂
Alternative album cover by a fan
A modern take on the Infinite cover, created by an artistic fan. Unfortunately the source / author got lost (will update as soon as I find it).
The criticism and commercial failure of Infinite inspired Eminem to create his Slim Shady alter ego (introduced on 1997’s The Slim Shady EP), and to reject his passive old style for the violent one he’d become famous for.
It was right before my daughter was born, so having a future for her was all I talked about. It was way hip-hopped out, like Nas and AZ — that rhyme style that was real in at the time. I’ve always been a smartass comedian, and that’s why it wasn’t a good album.— Eminem for Rolling Stone (29 April 1999)
So ironically enough, the disappointment by the lack of success of his first album and the criticism he encountered is also what brought out the Slim Shady in him that finally made it.
Infinite related quotes
FBT (Funky Bass Team) aka Bass Brothers (Mark and Jeff Bass) signed a recording contract with Eminem in 1995 and released Infinite in 1996, so the quoted dates might be a bit off. On their work with Eminem, Mark and Jeff Bass are usually credited as F.B.T. Productions.
I was driving in my car back in ’95 or ’96 and heard him on the radio. It was like, “Whoa, who is this?” He was doing an open mic with [WJLB-FM programmer Lisa Orlando] in Detroit. And I was like, “Wow, who is this kid? I’ve gotta get him over to the studio.” That’s when I called out to the radio station and asked, “Put me on the phone with the guy.”— Mark Bass for Rolling Stone in 2016
“Obviously, I was young and influenced by other artists, and I got a lot of feedback saying that I sounded like AZ. Infinite was me trying to figure out how I wanted my rap style to be, how I wanted to sound on the mic and present myself. It was a growing stage. I felt like Infinite was like the demo that just got pressed up.“— Eminem in his official biography at Eminem.com
“(Laughs) You see, that’s a question we both wonder often. We often look at each other and say “what the hell happened?” It’s not necessarily like that. I don’t think there was a want to be that way. Most people start their careers like ‘I wanna be the biggest thing ever’. But we started with the love for music. He loves the music. I love being a producer. I love the fact that so many people are rapping over my beats.”— Mr. Porter when asked if he ever thought back in the Infinite days that Eminem would get as big he is today (21 April 2012, HipHop-N-More)