While Eminem has revealed levels of depth far beyond his Slim Shady persona, few could have anticipated "Mosh," the second single from his 2004 release, ENCORE. This song, by one of music's most controversial artists, features Em focusing his rage like never before, ultimately calling on the youth of America to rise up?and vote. While his brilliantly scathing tirade against President George W. Bush didn't lead to the politician's defeat, it certainly captured the country's attention and attempted to raise listeners' political awareness. It also effectively increased the already-huge stature of the expectation-defying Detroit rapper only a few weeks before his highly anticipated fourth record's release.
ENCORE is far from a letdown, as Eminem's twisted mind continues to produce razor-sharp rhymes, whether examining the world (the aforementioned "Mosh"), venting his spleen ("Puke"), exploring his soul ("Like Toy Soldiers") or just being plain silly ("My 1st Single"). While Em's inclination towards the shocking is well documented, other than "Mosh," the record is relatively toned-down; he even apologizes for racist comments made on a 1993 underground tape. However, that's not to imply that the proceedings are low-key; ENCORE burns with the fire of a master lyricist letting his words loose on whatever crosses his mind.
What the critics say...
Rolling Stone (p.173) - 4 stars out of 5 - "[I]t showcases a phenomenally gifted musician and lyricist doing all the things he does best."
Rolling Stone (p.142) - Included in Rolling Stone's Top 50 Records Of 2004 - "Marshall Mathers brings the pain in ENCORE."
Spin (pp.95-6) - "Captivated by hip-hop, Marshall crosses tracks both literal and metaphorical..." - Grade: B
Spin (p.64) - Ranked #26 in Spin's "40 Best Albums of the Year" - "[H]e will remain America's finest reality show: crass, oddly tender, riveting."
Uncut (p.116) - 4 stars out of 5 - "ENCORE defeats expectations by both embracing...maturity, and being his most adolescently outrageous, gut-bustingly funny effort since THE SLIM SHADY LP."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.96) - 3 stars out of 5 - "[I]t's a lean, mean beast....There's precious little accompanying Mater's virtuoso, syllable-crammed raps."