(Shady/ Aftermath)
Even with a release date that was bumped up in an effort to circumvent internet piracy, Eminem’s fifth studio release spread across the web like wildfire. Then came the theory that it was a planned leak, an album so bad that people would rush to pick up the “real” Encore. But it’s the same record. Encore is far from awful but just as far from great. A juvenile, foul-mouthed but nonetheless talented MC, Eminem is sub-par here. Rather than bringing hardcore rhymes, he carries over from his novelty act D12.
—Trevor Savory

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