Eminem Encore

With Encore, Eminem, still a caricature of Slim Shady, once again updates his fans on his relationship with his mother, his estranged wife Kim, and their daughter Haillie, as well as taking pot shots at the defenceless. Thankfully, Em also touches on some fresh subject matter with "Yellow Brick Road,” the autobiography of a white boy born on the wrong side of the rap tracks, and "Like Toy Soldiers,” which drops knowledge on the many beefs he and his crew have. There’s also "Never Enough,” one of the album’s catchiest tracks thanks to a beat from Dre and a chorus from Nate Dogg. However, it’s also on this song that Eminem declares his desire to be amongst rap greats like Jay-Z when he’s dead and gone, but it seems less and less likely with each release. Eminem resorts to juvenile humour about bodily functions with burping and puking sound effects and talk of his "pee pee.” And let’s not forget the impressive number of gay jokes peppered throughout. Finally, Eminem needs to realise his beats are just too similar and simple, with a drum loop lacking in any boom bap and a few minor samples that can’t hide the fact they don’t sound quite finished; except for the choruses, which are often overblown. Hopefully Eminem only gets to experience one encore before his 15 minutes of fame ticks away. Oh, and thanks, Mr Mathers, for a bonus disc with only three whole songs. Generous. (Interscope)