Will Hagle knows every line of 8 Mile.
Eminem has one of the most polarizing discographies in modern hip-hop. The general consensus seems to be that his first two albums (not including Infinite) were classics, and he fell off somewhere thereafter. There are, however, plenty of young fans who grew up on Relapse, think “Love The Way You Lie” is his biggest single, and claim Recovery is the best album ever made. There are people who heard The Marshall Mathers LP 2 before they ever even knew about the prequel. There are people out there who loved The Slim Shady LP and now are ashamed to admit they ever liked Marshall Mathers in the first place.
The varying reactions to Eminem’s albums stems from the fact that he has had a wide span of diehard fans supporting him at various points throughout his career. By now, he’s cornered every single aspect of the hip-hop market: young and old, urban and suburban, white and black, pop and underground. Whether they want to admit it or not, everyone who listens to rap has, at some point, been an Eminem fan. The main takeaway from Eminem’s recent BET cypher wasn’t that Trump is bad, it was the reminder that Eminem has a lot of fans who probably support Trump. He has a lot of fans who probably voted for Hillary, too. He has a lot of fans in general.
A lot of Eminem’s fans, unsurprisingly, like commenting on YouTube videos. This post examines some of the more common Eminem fan types, using YouTube comments taken from the pages containing full streams of each of his albums as inspiration. If you’re a different type of Eminem fan, or you know another type of Eminem fan out there, let me know in this comment section. Also, all of Eminem’s albums are available to stream in full on YouTube, and some of them, including Infinite, are worth revisiting.
THE FAN WHO KNOWS ABOUT AND ALWAYS BRINGS UP INFINITE
There is no better feeling in the world for “The Fan Who Knows About And Always Brings Up Infinite” than encountering another Eminem “aficionado” who’s never heard of Eminem’s “technically first,” “totally underrated” debut solo LP. To this fan, Infinite represents Eminem at his purest, before superstardom overshadowed him. The album is either “REAL Rap!!!!!” or it’s “HIP HOP!!!!,” but to “The Fan Who Knows About And Always Brings Up Infinite,” it is life.
The Slim Shady LP
THE NOSTALGIC FAN
“The Nostalgic Fan” is one of the most common types of Eminem fans. These people listened to Eminem back in the day. They were old enough to buy The Slim Shady LP when it came out in 1999, or at least were around to hear the singles on the radio. “The Nostalgic Fan” may or may not know about Infinite, but did grow up listening to Eminem a bunch. The Slim Shady LP was their favorite CD at one point. And damn, they can’t believe no one listens to CDs anymore, because almost every great album is available on YouTube in its entirety. And damn, they can’t believe how old they’re getting.
THE YOUNG, CURIOUS FAN
“The Young, Curious Fan” is the rare Eminem fan who was born after 1999, but is able to appreciate his entire discography without obsessing over it. The first Eminem album he ever heard was Relapse, and he thought it was pretty decent, so he went online to find the older stuff. His first time listening to The Slim Shady LP in full was so good that he just had to share his feelings with the rest of the YouTube community.
THE FAN WHO FEELS COMPELLED TO REMIND YOU HE KNEW ABOUT EMINEM BEFORE YOU DID
“The Fan Who Feels Compelled To Remind You He Knew About Eminem Before You Did” is a longtime super fan, just a notch lower than “The Fan Who Knows About And Always Brings Up Infinite.” They make YouTube accounts with names like “DICK LONG,” and post unsolicited, yet thoughtful, criticism of albums that are nearly 20 years old, for the sole purpose of letting you know they knew from the start that “Eminem was a force to be reckoned with.”
The Marshall Mathers LP
THE FAN ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE LINE IN THE SAND
The worst type of Eminem fan.
The Eminem Show
THE FAN WHO KNOWS ABOUT THE SLIM SHADY EP AND CONSIDERS IT AN ALBUM FOR THE SAKE OF ARGUMENT
“The Fan Who Knows About The Slim Shady EP And Considers It An Album For The Sake Of Argument” is the sworn nemesis of “The Fan Who Knows About And Always Brings Up Infinite.” This type of fan is just waiting to pounce on anyone who claims that The Eminem Show is actually Marshall’s fourth album if you count Infinite. “Well, it’s really his fifth album,” this type of fan says, before hitting you with his or her knowledge of The Slim Shady EP. This type of fan sucks only slightly less than “The Fan On The Wrong Side Of The Line In the Sand.”
THE FAN WHO KNOWS ABOUT BUT DOESN’T LIKE INFINITE AND ISN’T AFRAID TO SAY IT
This type of fan knows about Infinite, but doesn’t use his or her knowledge of the album for the sake of argument, opting instead to acknowledge it and dismiss it. They don’t even need to spell it right, that’s how much Infinite, which by the way is Eminem’s real first album, sucks. But Eminem is the best rapper alive, though.
THE FAN WHO HAS TO RANK THE BEST VERSES ON EVERY SONG
This is the Eminem obsessive, the type of fan who adds annotations to RapGenius and then shares their thoughts on an Eminem subreddit. They have gone through every album, carefully weighed the quality of each of the verses against each other, and came to concrete conclusions. They need to share it with the world, in the hopes of instigating an argument or discussion.
THE FAN WHO THINKS EMINEM FELL OFF WITH ENCORE
This fan is right.
THE FAN WHO THINKS EMINEM FELL OFF WITH RECOVERY
This fan is wrong, but still right.
THE FAN ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE LINE OF THE SAND
A better type of Eminem fan.
THE FAN WHO LIKES RECOVERY WAY TOO MUCH
This is the strangest subset of Eminem fans for older heads to understand. Whereas the vast majority of “Nostalgic Fans” or people who grew up listening to Eminem’s earlier albums think Recovery was a hot pile of dog shit, many people genuinely think it is his best work.
THE FAN WHOSE FIRST RAP ALBUM/ALBUM HE’S ACTUALLY LISTENED TO WAS RECOVERY
This type of fan may help explain, and even be the same person as, “The Fan Who Likes Recovery Way Too Much.” Recovery is the first rap album/album they’ve ever listened to, and we can’t fault them for that. We can only feel sorry for them.
THE FAN WHO HAS TO RANK THE BEST VERSES ON EVERY SONG AGAIN
This guy again.