Regardless of your personal opinion of Eminem as far as his skills on the mic, the impact that he has had in the hip hop community is undeniable. Eminem is the highest selling rapper of all time with total record sales at 220 million records worldwide and counting. That makes him the highest selling rapper in the history of hip hop and one of the best selling artists in the history of music.
Eminem is the only rapper with 3 Diamond certified albums by the RIAA. For those that don’t know, to receive an RIAA Diamond certification you need to have an album that sold 10 million records in the US alone. Eminem has done it 3 times with The Eminem Show, The Marshall Mathers LP and Curtain Call: The Hits.
THE DISAPPOINTMENT OF INFINITE
However, before all the platinum plaques and Diamond certifications and worldwide sales, Eminem released his lowest selling album of his rap career, Infinite.
Infinite was released on November 12, 1996, and it is unknown exactly how many records it sold. Eminem, in his biography, The Way I Am (2008), states that it sold “maybe 70 copies.” With that said, other sources state that the album sold a few hundred copies to a thousand copies.
Hard copies of Infinite were originally released on cassette and vinyl. Eminem himself sold copies of the album from the trunk of his car in Detroit. Till this day the album is not officially available on online music stores, although the title song, Infinite, is available on Spotify.
Listening to the album and perhaps the most notable song on the album, infinite, one can’t help but to pick up on Eminem sounding like rappers Nas and AZ.
Of the comparisons Eminem says: “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.”
CRITICS REVIEW OF INFINITE
The album was clearly not a success sales wise. As far as critics, it received no reviews. However, retrospective reviews of Infinite from music critics varied.
AllMusic gave Infinite a 2.5 out of 5 stars, without a review. Of the album, Rob Kenner from Complex stated, Eminem “has yet to develop his own distinctive style”, and that it was a “competent but unremarkable effort”.
Mosi states that because spirituality had not been an element that played a role in his later rap lyrics. Although in the 2022 remix of Kanye West’s, Use This Gospel, Eminem spits rap based lyrics “I put all of my trust and faith in You, Father,” and “my Savior I call on to rescue me … He is my shepherd. I’m armed with Jesus, my weapon is prayer.”
LESSON LEARNED FROM INFINITE
With the lack of success on Infinite, disappointed, Eminem developed his Slim Shady alter ego which became part of his later works that would go on to sell hundreds of millions of records worldwide.
And as always we like to close with a saying, quote or adage and today’s is: FAILURE IS NOT THE OPPOSITE OF SUCCESS, IT IS PART OF SUCCESS.
Now, go forth and change the game!