Release date: December 1997
The Slim Shady EP is the first EP by American rapper Eminem, released in 1997 on the Detroit-based record label Web Entertainment. The Slim Shady EP was released on cassette, vinyl, and CD. Eminem sold roughly 250 copies of this EP independently, according to an interview he did on Zane Lowe. The album debuted at number #27 on the UK albums chart in 1997.
Eminem first introduced his "Slim Shady" persona on this EP, and his lyrics are a marked departure from those found on Infinite, featuring constant references to drug use, sexual acts, mental instability, and over-the-top violence. Another departure was his exploration of more serious themes of dealing with poverty, his direct and self-deprecating response to criticism, and of marital and family difficulties. His flow is also noticeably different than on Infinite, where critics claimed he sounded too much like Nas and AZ on that album. Eminem also began utilizing story telling on this EP. The production value of the music on the tracks — from previous collaborators DJ Head, The Bass Brothers, and Mr. Porter — was also noticeably higher than on prior album efforts.
Unlike Infinite, The Slim Shady EP gained Eminem significant underground attention and eventually garnered the interest of famous West Coast hip-hop producer Dr. Dre, who subsequently signed Eminem to his fledgling Aftermath label, and executive-produced his breakthrough major-label debut The Slim Shady LP.