Release date: November 1996
Infinite is the debut album by Eminem, released November 12, 1996, on Web Entertainment. The album was recorded and produced in 1995, with help from The Bass Brothers and fellow D12 members Kon Artis, Proof and Eye-Kyu, along with fellow Rappers Thyme of 5 Elementz and Three.
Infinite is Eminem's debut full-length and professionally packaged album. After years of cutting demo tracks with his mentors, the Bass Brothers, at their Ferndale, Michigan studio (dubbed "The Bassmint"), Eminem was ready to release his debut album. The album was written and recorded in 1995. At the time the album was first conceived, Eminem had been using the stage name M&M. However, he changed his stage name after the release of his first official single, in early 1995. Infinite marks the debut of the name "Eminem". The album was only released on cassette and vinyl, and was originally sold through Mathers himself. Only 1,000 cassettes and 100 vinyl records were made. Only 250 copies were sold. Eminem himself, and old friends from around the time Infinite was recorded, have claimed the laid-back and humble nature of the album is due to Eminem purposely making "radio-friendly" songs in hopes of getting on the air of Detroit's leading Hip Hop radio station, WJLB. Bootlegged compact-disc copies are commonly found on sites such as eBay. The song "Backstabber" is a re-cut version of a song called "Fuckin' Backstabber", which is featured on Eminem's demo tape released by Soul Intent.
The album received mixed critical reviews and was met with derision from within the local hip-hop community, earning Eminem unfavorable accusations of copying other rappers' styles, particularly Nas and AZ. Eminem recalls: "Obviously, I was young and influenced by other artists, and I got a lot of feedback saying that I sounded like Nas and 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 a demo that just got pressed up."
While it contains some swearing, Infinite is relatively inoffensive compared to the subsequent albums that would make Eminem famous.
In 2009, Thisis50.com, re-released it for a free download on their website to build anticipation for his highly anticipated album Relapse.
On a DVD about Eminem's life, a former friend and collaborator of Eminem's, named DJ Rec, stated that "Infinite" was produced by a variety of producers who were never credited. The album artwork says the album was produced by Denaun Porter and "Slim" for F.B.T. Productions. However, it may be possible that DJ Rec, and others, contributed to the production of "Infinite." It is known that former D12 DJ, DJ Head, produced the "W.E.G.O." skit on the album. Proof of D12 may have also co-produced the track as well, as his vocals are featured on the skit. Not only that, but on the original cassette artwork, Proof is credited for doing "Additional Drum Programming" on several tracks. Former Bassmint Productions and Soul Intent DJ and co-producer, DJ Butterfingers, also contributed several cuts and scratches to the album. Since he was so involved in that aspect, he may have also done some un-credited production as well. Butterfingers' cuts and scratches appear on "Infinite" and "Tonite".