Eminem’s ‘Encore’ Album Suffered Because of Leaks

Eminem is an award-winning rapper with several hit albums to his name. But that doesn’t mean the “Lose Yourself” rapper is immune to issues with his albums, either on his end or from fans online.

Eminem performing in 2004, the year he released his album 'Encore
Eminem | Anthony Harvey/PA Images via Getty Images

Eminem released his ‘Encore’ album in 2004

Eminem rose to fame in the late 1990s and early 2000s with albums including The Slim Shady LP, The Marshall Mathers LP, and The Eminem Show. In 2004, Eminem sought to replicate his success once again with Encore, his fifth studio album.

Eminem started recording Encore after the success of The Eminem Show and his Oscar-winning turn in his 2002 movie 8 Mile. But as his addiction to prescription drugs worsened, so did the quality of the album. The project suffered another blow when songs that he had recorded for the LP were leaked before its release.

Encore took a whole f***in’ different trajectory because Encore was during my addiction,” he said. “I was just coming off The Eminem Show and the 8 Mile soundtrack and I started recording and had about seven or eight songs that were very much in the vein of what I do. But we ended up putting them out as a f***in’ bonus disc because the songs leaked. If those hadn’t leaked, Encore would’ve been a much different album.”

Eminem believes ‘Encore’ would’ve been a better album if it hadn’t leaked

As a result of the songs on the album leaking, Eminem decided to release the album a few days early in April 2004. Still, he was upset that he had to release some of the songs he had recorded as part of the deluxe edition bonus disc.

“‘We as Americans,’ ‘Love You More,’ a lot of songs ended up on the bonus disc because they leaked and that disappointed me. So, I had to start over, which felt like a mountain I had to climb. You climb half the mountain, and then all of a sudden, you get knocked back down,” he said. “‘We as Americans’ was going to start the album, then ‘Bully.’ ‘Evil Deeds’ was in there. If that would’ve been on Encore and the other couple songs that leaked, to me it would’ve been right there with The Eminem Show as far as its caliber.”


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He was in the throes of his addiction when he released it

When looking back on his addiction during the recording of Encore, Eminem regrets that it affected the quality of the music he was writing. Some of the songs on the album were a direct result of his loopy state while on drugs.

“The problem was, in the recording process as I was getting more addicted to drugs, I was in more of a goofy mood. So now, I go make ‘A** Like That,’ ‘Big Weenie,’ ‘Rain Man,’ all those silly songs, which I’m writing in f***in’ seconds at that point in time. I was just writing high and feeling good about what I’m doing because I got f***in’ 20 Vicodin in me and this is fun to do, and I’m having fun, so f*** it.”

When Encore was released, it didn’t receive as much wild fanfare as his previous works did. It helped Eminem snap back into reality.

“The album comes out and it was definitely a wake-up call, a slap in the face, a sobering moment, because I was on a roll and then somehow, I got off this roll,” he said. “I didn’t know where to f***in’ pick things back up and I was angry at a lot of things, including the songs leaking because it changed the entire landscape of that album.”

“I knew in my heart of hearts, this is not the same quality as The Eminem Show,” he added.

The album’s leaking, combined with his disappointment in his work, was hard for Eminem to get over.

“It became a misstep and I struggled to get over the fact that I didn’t do my best. My best would’ve been good enough if the leaks hadn’t happened. But I released what I had at that point in time, and I feel that put a kind of a mark on my catalog,” he said. “Encore did some decent numbers, but I was never that concerned with numbers. I was more so worried about what people think about the album. Critics and fans were important to me, and they were always at me about that project.”

How to get help: In the U.S., contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helpline at 1-800-662-4357.