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Eminem's new album doesn't build on previous success.

Publication: The Philadelphia Inquirer (via Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service)

Publication Date: 12-NOV-04
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COPYRIGHT 2004 The Philadelphia Inquirer

Byline: Dan DeLuca

PHILADELPHIA _ Does Eminem matter anymore?

Even Marshall Mathers seems unsure. Encore, the platinum-haired provocateur's fifth disc, lacks the courage of its convictions.

There's a schizophrenic uncertainty apparent in the first two videos _ the silly Slim Shady goof "Just Lose It" and the irate anti-Bush attack "Mosh" _ that carries through the most disappointing album of his career. Since making his name as an impudent court jester with The Slim Shady LP in 1999, Eminem has always been skilled at persona juggling, to the point of voicing multiple characters within one song.

But now, the 32-year-old rapper and parent _ he has custody of his 9-year-old daughter, 8-year-old niece and 18-year-old half-brother _ is confronted with a fork in the road.

Should he build on the adult-oriented introspection of "8 Mile," his 2002 film debut as a hip-hop Rocky Balboa that won him an audience of moviegoers surprised to learn that the antisocial, gay-bashing rapper was actually an intelligent, sensitive young...

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