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The Slim Shady LP (1999)

Eminem's debut album—the lyrics are quick, clear, and quirky, but also deep, dark, and disturbing. Eminem's voice is at its highest and most nasal, a sound not as prevalent on other albums.

The Marshal Mathers LP (2000)

Eminem creates continuity with the name theme of his albums. While The Slim Shady LP put him on a parental watch-list, The Marshall Mathers LP probably landed him on the hit list of every advocacy group on the planet. Eminem seems to go out of his way to offend everyone, and he pulls it off with his extreme theatrics. Some notable songs are “The Real Slim Shady,” "Kill You," "Stan," and "The Way I Am."

8 Mile Soundtrack (2002)

While Eminem took home the Oscar, he gets support from 50 Cent, Jay-Z, Obie Trice, Macy Gray, Nas, Rakim, and Gang Starr. The 50 Cent track "Wanksta" proved to be 50's breakout song.

The Eminem Show (2002)

Having been mired in personal and professional controversies, The Eminem Show is Em's first album to deal heavily with his status as a celebrity. Em takes a staunchly anti-celebrity stance and drops plenty of hints about his retirement from rap. Worth a listen: the emotional "Cleanin' Out My Closet," "Til' I Collapse" (which was also produced by the Bass Brothers around the time of "Lose Yourself"—see if you can spot some similarities), and "My Dad's Gone Crazy," which is a duet with his daughter, Hailie.

Recovery (2010)

While Eminem has proven himself to be a lyrical master, his three most recent albums have largely conformed to the same format, though they have grown increasingly personal regarding Eminem's own struggle with drugs and suicidal tendencies. With Encore, Relapse, and Recovery you'll find the same catchy beats, clever lyrics, emotional revelations, and non-sensical topics delivered by one of the strongest voices in rap. Because he has become increasingly revealing about his emotional problems, Eminem avoids self-parody and the curse of the artist who overstays his welcome.

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