Infinite is the debut studio album by American rapper Eminem. 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 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, and Eminem sold the copies from the trunk of his car in Detroit. It is not officially available on any online music stores and only the title track “Infinite” has been made available on Spotify. 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. Retrospectively, the former received mixed reviews from music critics, it was a commercial failure, selling around 1,000 copies.
Background and recording
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, 2016
In 1992, Eminem signed with FBT Productions, which had been run by Jeff and Mark Bass; they are known as the Bass Brothers. Eminem also held a minimum-wage job that involved cooking and washing dishes at Gilbert’s Lodge restaurant in St. Clair Shores for some time. Infinite was recorded in 1995, later being released by the Bass Brothers’ independent label Web Entertainment the following year.
Eminem was encouraged by others for the album, who noted he was noted as sounding like Nas and AZ. Mr. Porter produced the majority of the album, while Proof programmed the drums.
Composition and lyrics
Eminem purposely made Infinite’s songs “radio-friendly” in hopes of getting played on Detroit radio stations; only around a thousand copies of the album were made. Subjects covered on Infinite included Eminem, his and his grandma’s struggles with raising Hailie Jade Mathers, Eminem’s newborn daughter, while on limited funds and his strong desire to become rich. After the release of Infinite, Eminem’s personal struggles and as well as his abuse of drugs and alcohol resulted in a suicide attempt. Eminem recalled: “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.”
Release and reception
On September 12, 1996, Infinite was released by Web Entertainment. It is not known exactly how many copies Infinite exactly sold.. Eminem stated in his autobiography The Way I Am (2008) that it sold “maybe 70 copies”. However, other sources stated that the album a few hundred copies or even a thousand copies. Eminem’s overall disappointment with Infinite’s lack of success inspired him to develop his famous Slim Shady alter ego, which became present in his later works.
On May 14, 2009, thisis50.com re-released it for free download on their website to build anticipation for Eminem’s sixth studio album Relapse (2009); this was his comeback album. On November 17, 2016, a remix of the album’s title track “Infinite” was released in commemoration of the album’s 20th anniversary five days after the event. The remix was followed by a documentary about the making of Infinite, also released on November 17, 2006.
Professional ratingsReview scoresSourceRatingAllMusic
Total length: 37:54
^[a] signifies a co-producer
“Infinite” contains a sample of “Hot Wind” performed by Les Baxter.
“Tonite” contains a sample of “Let This River Flow” performed by Googie and Tom Cappola.
“313” contains a sample of “A Secret Place” performed by Grover Washington Jr.
“Maxine” contains a sample of “Dolphin Dance” performed by Grover Washington, Jr.
“Open Mic” contains a sample of “Give Me Your Love (Love Song)” performed by Curtis Mayfield, and “World Go Round” performed by Naughty by Nature.
“Never 2 Far” contains a sample of “Right on Time” performed by Maze.
“Searchin'” contains a sample of “The Dude” performed by Quincy Jones.
“Backstabber” contains samples of “Fuckin’ Backstabber” performed by Soul Intent, “Jealous” performed by LL Cool J, and “Get Down” performed by Craig Mack.
“Jealousy Woes II” contains samples of “Say What” performed by Idris Muhammad, “Jealous” performed by LL Cool J, and “The World Is Yours” performed by Nas.
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
^ a b c James, Andy. “How the Failure of ‘Infinite’ Turned Eminem Into Slim Shady”. DJBooth. Retrieved September 13, 2020.
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