Eminem is going back to his day job. After spending the last couple of years as a movie star, Oscar-winning composer, record producer, label executive, fashion mogul, and satellite radio programmer, he's putting on his solo-rapper hat and releasing his first album of all-new material in two and a half years. On Monday, Interscope named Nov. 16 as the release date for ''Encore,'' Slim Shady's first solo album since ''The Eminem Show,'' the top-selling album of 2002.
The announcement came as something of a surprise, given that multiplatinum artists traditionally announce their fall album release dates much further in advance. (Maybe he's trying to stem piracy, as he did with ''The Eminem Show'' by moving its release date forward several days at the last minute.) Also, despite his high-profile work in other areas -- most notably, as the co-producer of 50 Cent's ''Get Rich or Die Tryin''' (2003's top-selling album) and as the frontman of Detroit rap collective D12 (mocking his own celebrity in the group's 2004 hit ''My Band'') -- Eminem kept quiet about the recording of his own album. No word yet on song titles, singles, or the names of any studio collaborators. But ''Encore'' will be the first of his solo releases not to include his name in the title. Eminemologists, make of that what you will.