Eminem’s Infinite album sold only a few hundred copies when it was released 20 years ago. As a debut album, Infinite was a tremendous record, although it didn’t have the polish of the subsequent records Marshall Mathers made for the rest of his legendary music career. And while the album was a flop, it laid the foundation for Eminem’s legacy as one of the best rappers in the world.
Two decades later, Marshall Mathers’ Infinite is being reworked by Jeff and Mark Bass, collectively known as the Funky Bass Brothers — the same producers who worked on the album when it first came out in 1996.
“My brother and myself were executive producers of the album,” says Jeff. “What would it be like to hear the Infinite album with no samples in it, and take the approach that we used for all of the other Eminem music in the last 17 years?”
So what the Funky Bass Brothers did was apply the same methods they used on the Eminem tracks that followed Infinite’s release, most notably “Lose Yourself.” Instead of samples, Jeff and Mark Bass used live instruments to produce the latest Infinite remixes, which will soon be released through digital streaming services and limited-edition singles.
To mark the 20th anniversary of Eminem’s Infinite album, the Bass Brothers and Kevin Wilder talked with Rolling Stone magazine about the making of the album and Slim Shady’s humble beginnings.
When asked how they met Eminem, Mark recounted how he chanced upon Eminem when he was doing an open mic with WJLB-FM in Detroit. After hearing Mathers’ performance, he immediately called the radio station and asked if the white rapper could come over to his studio.
“I was driving in my car back in ’95 or ’96 and heard him on the radio. It was like, ‘Whoa, who is this?” He was doing an open mic with [WJLB-FM programmer Lisa Orlando] in Detroit. And I was like, “Wow, who is this kid? I’ve gotta get him over to the studio.” That’s when I called out to the radio station and asked, “Put me on the phone with the guy.” And then 4 o’clock in the morning, a bunch of kids showed up at my studio. It was Marshall and a couple of other guys.”
To say that the Bass Brothers were impressed by Marshall Mathers is an understatement.
“For me, Marshall was able to put rhymes together rhythmically that looked like a drum solo. He was able to change rhythms in the middle of his phrases. He had great metaphors. It was fresh. It was new to me. Honestly, I had to turn to [Wilder] and say, ‘I think we should do this. Let’s go ahead and do it.’ And I laid it on him. And here we are today.”
After Infinite flopped in 1996, Eminem laid low for a while. When he emerged again from his hiatus, Marshall had just adopted a new alter ego: Slim Shady.
“He came back a whole different person,” Mark Bass recalled.
Eminem’s Infinite album comprises of 11 tracks, six of which are collaboration songs such as “W.E.G.O.” (Proof and DJ Head), “313” (Eye-Kyu), “Maxine” (Kon Artis and Three), “Searchin” (Kon Artis and Angela Workman), and “Open Mic” (Thyme).
The remixed version of “Infinite” (single) can now be listened to online via this link.
Meanwhile, Yibada reports that Eminem is working on his upcoming ninth studio album, which is set to be released in 2017. It was announced that Rihanna will be a featured artist on the album, and that she and Eminem have recorded four collaboration songs namely “Love the Way You Lie,” “Love the Way You Lie 2,” “Numb,” and “Monster.”
How excited are you to for the remastered release of Eminem’s Infinite album? Did you enjoy the remixed version of the “Infinite” single?
[Featured Image by Christopher Polk/Getty Images]