Album: Eminem: Encore
Street Date: November 12, 2004
Length: 77:06 (not including the bonus CD)
Rating: 3stars
Reviewed by: Brian

The latest CD from worldwide superstar Eminem, Encore, has been highly anticipated since his last full length LP The Eminem Show was released over 2 years ago. While Eminem kept his emcee skills sharp by appearing on various mixtapes, songs with other artists, and extensively on D12's D12 World, with Encore, Eminem once again gets the chance to shine as a solo artist, and prove to the hip hop community he's still got what it takes to be one of the top emcees in the game right now.

1. Curtains Up - This is your typical rap CD intro. Nothing to see here. A crowd chanting Eminem's name is basically all it is.

2. Evil Deeds - We open with typical Eminem you'd expect from the past few albums, ripping on his dad, his mom, talking about the general things we've heard on the past three commercial releases. The beat is a nice mid-tempo beat with a pretty catchy hook. Eminem's raps are solid, typical of what is expected.

3. Never Enough feat. 50 Cent and Nate Dogg - There is a really neat, kind of synthesized beat to this song. Very good lyrics by Eminem, and this song features the customary Nate Dogg hook. It is a pretty short song, but it is produced well, both 50 and Em spit good raps, and with Nate Dogg on the hook it makes the song complete.

4. Yellow Brick Road - A slower tempo beat is used for this song, and it fits well. Though the lyrics we see Eminem's serious rapping tone as he tells a story about how he grew up. A very solid track, again with a nice hook.

5. Like Toy Soldiers - The song starts with a sample [by Martika] (which fades back in as each chorus) and rolls into a marching drumroll beat in the verses. The beat works perfectly with the song, along with the rap. The entire song is about the beefs Eminem has been involved in since he's been in the mainstream (with Benzino, Ja Rule, etc.) and how sometimes a beef that starts as just lyrics going back and forth actually turns into violence, and how it isn't intended to be like that ("That was never my object for someone to get killed / Why would I wanna destroy something I help build / It wasn't my intentions, my intentions was good"). The song ends with Eminem basically trying to put some of the beefs to rest by saying: "I'll walk away from it all before I let it go any further / But don't get it twisted, it's not a plea that I'm coppin' / I'm just willin' to be the bigger man / If ya'll can quit poppin' off at your jaws with the knockin' / Cuz frankly I'm sick of talkin' / I'm not gonna let someone elses coffin rest on my conscience."

6. Mosh - This track features a mid-tempo driving beat, another marching type beat. Basically the entire point of the song is for Eminem to take his shots on President Bush and the War on Terror ("Let the president answer a higher anarchy / Strap him with an Ak-47, let him go, fight his own war / Let him impress daddy that way").

7. Puke - This is the accustomed to every Eminem album "Kim" song. It features an up-tempo, catchy beat. And while it has silly undertones with some silly lyrics, you get the feeling and the impression that there is some true bitterness there.

8. My 1st Single - This is just kind of a "fun" song. It is pretty silly, with Em just rapping about anything and randomly rhyming words. It is entertaining, and the beat is light and energizing.

9. Paul (skit) - The typical Paul calls Em skit. Talking about how Michael Jackson is upset with the "Just Lose It" video. Same kinda stuff as seen in the previous albums.

10. Rain Man - More of Eminem making fun of people. The beat is about as typical Dr. Dre beat as you can get. Eminem makes fun of Christopher Reeves, homosexuals, and Jessica Simpson during the course of the song. He ends the song by saying "And I don't gotta make no god damn sense / I just did a whole song and I didn't say shit," and that is about right.

11. Big Weenie - Another nice, typical Dre beat. The hook is really silly, and almost sounds elementary schoolish ("You are just jealous of me / Cuz you, you just can't do what I do / So instead of just admitting it / You walk around and say / All kinds of really mean things / About me cuz you're a meanie, a meanie"). Other than the silly hook, the rap in the song works rather well. The silliness compliments the seriousness.

12. Em Calls Paul (skit) - Pretty funny skit, Em calls Paul using a voice modification box, and plays off the title of Michael Jackson songs to reply to Paul's message to him. Kind of entertaining.

13. Just Lose It - The incredibly silly lead single for Encore. There really isn't a whole lot to say about it, other than it is here to get radioplay and sell records.

14. Ass Like That - This is the clownin' song on the album. The beat is just kind of light and reinicient of older east coast booty shakin' beats. The chorus is the silliest part of the song ("The way you shake it, I can't believe it / I ain't never seen an ass like that / The way you move it, you make my pee pee go / Doing, doing, doing"). Eminem does the entire song (other than the chorus) in some sort of accent, mostly Triumph the Comic Dog. Em pokes fun at at least 10 different people, with quips such as "Hilary Duff is not quite old enough so / I ain't never seen a butt like that / Maybe next year I'll say ass and she'll make my pee pee go / Doing, doing, doing." A very silly song.

15. Spend Some Time feat. Obie Trice, Stat Quo & 50 Cent - An "ode" to hoes, in a sense, and what happens when you get caught up into them and see them as more than a booty call. The song has a slower, melodic beat. Solid rhymes.

16. Mockingbird - The "Hailie" song. A nice, slow beat with Em lacing the mic nicely.

17. Crazy In Love - This is an interesting song. It has a sample in the chorus, and is an even to mid-tempo beat. The lyrics are solid.

18. One Shot 2 Shot feat. D-12 - The beat for this song is light and silly, pretty much like something you'd find on a D-12 CD (fitting, as the song features the rest of D-12). The lyrics are basically about D12 having a gunfight in a club, and while the beat is silly and the lyrics are serious, they do compliment each other well.

19. Final Thought (skit) - Paper ripping, and a door closing.

20. Encore (curtains) feat. Dr. Dre & 50 Cent - A nice close to the CD. Eminem and Dre go back and forth most of the song, and 50 spits one verse. A nice beat, good lyrics.

Bonus CD (which comes with the regular Encore CD):
1. We As Americans
2. Love You More
3. Ricky Ticky Toc
There is nothing really noteworthy about any of these three songs. You can see why they are on the bonus CD and not Encore itself. They aren't as good as what else is on the CD.

Overall Impression:
This CD is basically what Eminem fans have come to expect from Eminem. It displays a handful of silly songs, and some serious songs which really show Em's talent as an emcee.
Encore has a few too many silly songs to be great, but the songs do serve their purpose and are entertaining. The CD wasn't a disappointment by any means, but it probably could have been better. For hardcore Eminem fans, there is a Limited Collectors Edition of Encore (which retails at $10 more than the regular CD) that contains a telescoping box, 25 photo inserts featuring song lyrics, and an exclusive Eminem ringtone.

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