The Slim Shady LP (1999)
This was an album that has become both a gift and a curse for the debuting, blonde hair Eminem. Of course, this would be the start to his ascent into hip-hop Valhalla after going platinum in just over a week — a victory for those seeking refuge from late-90s, Bad Boy flourish. The Slim Shady LP placed an obstacle ahead of him at the same time. Was he going to be bigger than hip-hop’s Alex DeLarge? Can he outlive the revenge rape (“As the World Turns”), world-cursing vitriol (“Just Don’t Give a Fuck”), and absurdity (“Brain Damage”)? Well obviously, in retrospect. But it’s not like the debut didn’t hint he could. Tracks like the mournful, self-deprecative “If I Had” and the high-concept, twisted father-daughter lover story in “’97 Bonnie & Clyde” showed a frayed emotional depth.