Eminem’s new rehash

Alex Grosby

Now that the music world has lost Jay-Z to the world of CEOs and stock options, it questions who will become the next figurehead of rap. Many people would point to Detroit’s finest, Marshall Mathers III, also known as Eminem.

Eminem came out of nowhere to rule rap in 1999 and, since then he has only expanded his empire, making Shady a name brand almost as large as Roc-a-Fella. Plus, he beats out Jay-Z, in that his proteges are far more successful than Jay-Z’s picks; the biggest new names in rap, such as 50 Cent and D-12, are courtesy of Eminem.

As Jay-Z had his glorious send-off with “The Black Album,” rumors abound that “Encore” is Eminem’s last joint. But if it truly is, let’s hope he gives it another go around.

The album replicates pieces of 2002’s “The Eminem Show.” It features the same “Curtain” idea used on “Show” to open and close the album, and similar album art. It’s almost as if this is Em’s version of Jay-Z’s “Blueprint 2,” two separate albums that are visually linked together. The songs on “Encore” may have their own identity, but whether the album itself will remains a mystery.

Some of the song formulas that Dre and Em dreamed up for “The Eminem Show” reappear on “Encore.” Once again, a classic rock song is sampled for its chorus, as “Crazy In Love” samples Heart’s “Crazy On You,” just like “Sing for the Moment” sampled Aerosmith’s “Dream On.” And Eminem’s first single off the album, “Just Lose It,” is the requisite goofy hit, replacing “Without Me.”

But the whole album is not a redo. One hot track, “Never Enough,” features Nate Dogg for the chorus, whose deep baritone is a welcome addition to an already pleasing track. The catchy beats of “My First Single” showcases Em’s development as a producer, creating the Neptunes’ style without the Neptunes.

The whole album expands Eminem’s work as a producer, which he split 50-50 with his mentor, the legendary Dr. Dre. The duo creates beats especially for the album, unlike so many rappers who use samples to death. The best track of the album is “Encore,” an intriguing mix of Dre and Em going back and forth on rhymes. The two just flow off of each other incredibly and the tune also hints at this song being the end of Eminem. If that is in fact true, this album is good – but not the great album the world knows lives within him.