Eminem’s evolution as an artist since his pre-rapping time is impressing.
Eminem’s musical evolution goes along with his personal evolution.

While listening to the Infinite LP, we can feel a young man who is in search for love and recognition. We can also feel his hard struggle for fame. He already got verbal skills (if you doubt it, just check out the lyrically rich song « Infinite »), but he lacked experience in the music industry and the marketing of his product which explains the flop of his first album.
When Eminem speaks about his former Infinite album, he describes it as a kind of « demo »:

“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 a demo that just got pressed up.” – (Eminem)

When Eminem felt like everything was lost, the Bass Brothers came up with the brilliant concept of a « shock rapper ». The Infinite album was too soft, maybe too common to attract numerous people. In fact, Eminem’s long term collaborators, the Bass Brothers, had just offered Marshall Mathers the first key to success:

« We came up with the idea of shock rap. When we went to Interscope [Eminem’s parent record company] we worked him as the Marilyn Manson of rap. Marshall was about 24 at this time, things were going a little berserk in his life, we were getting turned away by labels that didn’t want a white rapper and some of the anger started coming out of him. We said, ‘You’ve got to let this out and ride with it.’ »(Jeff and Marky Bass)

The idea of shock rap had just matured into their heads. But this concept needed to become reality. A reality that would be personified by Slim Shady, Eminem’s alter ego.
And this is how the entity Slim Shady became Eminem’s creation:

« I was takin’ a shit. I swear to God. And the fuckin’ name just popped into my head. Then I started thinkin’ of twenty million things that rhymed with it. »

Slim Shady’s introduction to the world appears in Eminem’s offensive and creative production, the Slim Shady EP. A production that was good enough to impress Dr Dre, who signed Eminem to his Aftermath label after listening to his demo.

The 10 tracks EP clearly reveals Eminem’s talent and widespread imagination. « Low, Down, Dirty » and « Murder, Murder » will make you appreciate Eminem’s narrative skills.

The Slim Shady EP is a masterpiece of work that will be followed by the Slim Shady LP. The provocative Slim Shady LP will open the doors to Eminem’s success. The Slim Shady LP will intelligently combine Eminem and Dr Dre’s talent.

The Slim Shady LP is Eminem’s first reality show: it exposes his frustrations, his harsh childhood, his crazy mom’s behavior, his drug addictions, his every day life and his constant struggle to become famous. Songs like « Rock Bottom » and « If I Had » can be pictured as a philosophical reflexion about life and the human condition.

The offensiveness, the sadness and the provocative content make the beauty of Eminem’s first successful album.

The Marshall Mathers LP will accentuate Eminem’s provocative’s side; it will also add some enemies to his list.
The Marshall Mathers LP is also the mirror of Eminem’s personal mistakes and exposes his time of trouble and his legal battles with his mom, who was unable to face the truth exposed to the public’s eye.
The « misogynistic » and « homophobic » content of Eminem’s lyrics in his second album- which by the way is typical to hip hop culture- has offended gay and lesbian activists from the GLAAD, who didn’t hesitate to misquote Eminem in order to prove his « homophobia »…
Lyrics like the lyrics of the song « Criminal » were published in the form of exerpts on the GLAAD’s wesbite:

http://www.glaad.org/media/archive_detail.php?id=65

« My words are like a dagger with a jagged edge
That’ll stab you in the head
whether you’re a fag or lez
Or the homosex, hermaph or a trans-a-vest
Pants or dress – hate fags? The answer’s ‘yes’»

Of course, the following line was completely ignored:

« C’mon!– Relax guy, I like gay men… »

In no time, Eminem had become the « icon for homophobia and misogyny ». Ridiculous? Certainly.
Because bad publicity is better than no publicity at all in the pop world, even those activists helped Eminem to increase his records’ sales.

The Marshall Mathers LP is hard work from a brilliant mind. It is full of dark humor and poetry. It reveals great writing skills and verbal dexterity. Songs like « Stan », « Drug Ballad » and « The Way I Am » are poetry. Marshall Mathers exactly knows how to put words and syllables together. His words, his syllables, his sentences are put into the right place to make you feel the sensations that are expressed at the very moment you are listening to the song.

The Eminem Show is more politically oriented. It offers much more criticism against the Bush administration. It is also influenced by the drama of September the 11th.
The Eminem Show offers us the work of a matured man who has learnt from his former mistakes.
Some people thought that Eminem had lost his edge when the Eminem Show was released in 2002. I think that his edge has just to be found elsewhere: in his political engagement against the Bush policy for instance.

In the meantime, Eminem has also shown to the world his ability to act with the release of his movie,8 Mile. The 8 Mile soundtracks features great songs like « Lose Yourself » and « 8 Mile Road » that will spread a great message of hope. It can be summarized in three words: « Follow your dreams. »

Since 1996, Eminem has fulfilled his greatest dreams. He has even released his own cartoon. Slim Shady lovers will enjoy the « Slim Shady Show ».
Since 2001, he has introduced his group, D12, to the world with the release of Devil’s Night that has been followed by « D12 World » in 2004.
The talented rapper has also proven to be a successful businessman with the release of his own clothing line, Shady Limited.

It’s been a long way for Marshall Mathers since the release of the Infinite album. A way to success that hasn’t been without struggles, controversy and a lot of pain, but that’s exactly what makes Eminem’s greatness. He is an example for anybody of us never to give up our dreams.