"Encore" (stylized as ƎNCORE and sometimes known as "Curtains Down") is a song by the rapper Eminem, released in 2004 as a vinyl single in the U.S. It was the title track from his fourth major studio album, Encore, which was also released that year. It is the 20th and final track from the album. The song is a collaboration of the biggest artists on the Shady and Aftermath record label, which consist of Eminem himself, Dr. Dre and 50 Cent. It was nominated for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group at the Grammy Awards of 2006, but lost to The Black Eyed Peas song "Don't Phunk with My Heart". No music video was filmed for the song. Eminem, Dre and 50 Cent would later return to work together on the song "Crack a Bottle" from Relapse. On Encore, "One Shot 2 Shot" segues into the skit "Final Thought", which then segues into Encore/Curtains Down, which also segues into the "Curtains Down" skit.
After the song is over, "Encore" features a line by Eminem alerting listeners of Dr. Dre's upcoming album Detox. Eminem tells his audience "Don't worry about that Detox album. It's coming. We're gonna make Dre do it." In the song, Eminem hints at his career aspirations with the line, "10 Multi-Platinum albums later three Diamond worldwide, we hit the charts with a bullet, and still climb." After "Encore", the next track on the album is a skit in which Eminem returns to the stage, stating that he forgot "one more thing", starts shooting at the crowd, and shoots himself through the mouth. The album's last lines are "See you in hell, fuckers" in a robotic voice. Many critics thought that it might have meant Eminem will totally stop his music career. Others see it as him getting rid of his alter ego "Slim Shady", and coming back as a whole new rapper. Eminem had stated that, at that moment in time, he was not certain about the future but that he would still be involved in the music industry. The edited version fades out before the shooting segment begins. It was later confirmed that the shooting was meant to represent the death of Slim Shady. Shady however returned in Relapse, coming back after Eminem was released from a rehabilitation center. The skit was hinted in the earlier skit "Em Calls Paul", in which he tells his manager Paul Rosenberg through the phone that he has a good idea for the ending - "I have this idea about how I want to end the show" - in the same robotic voice. In the skit, he also lies to Paul that he didn't get a new gun, referencing an earlier skit on the album where Paul hears rumours about him having a new gun as well as a skit on The Eminem Show, where Paul was stressed over Eminem bringing his gun to the studio.
DX magazine praised the song: "The best might be last though as Dre and 50 join Eminem for the title track and a surefire hit song." NME was negative: "‘Encore/Curtains Down’ is the archetypal ‘gang’s all here’ show-closer, only with much more swearing and ‘the gang’ in this case being Dr Dre and 50 Cent, who are really the only two of Eminem’s collaborators who deserve to share his applause. A round of applause which, by the way, hidden-significance-spotters, ends with Eminem blowing his brains out." RapReviews was positive: "the album finally closes with a sure shot banger "Encore/Curtains Down." The Doctor lays the beat, Eminem drops the hook, and Eminem and Dre foray flames back and forth:
[Dr. Dre] "The buzz is tremendous, we drop you all to sense it I don't gotta promote it for you to know that doc is off the benches"
[Eminem] "We keep the party rockin' off the hinges We ain't showin' off, we just goin' off popular consensus"
[Dr. Dre] "But critics say that Doc is soft, Doc is talk Doc is all washed up, knock it off Who the fuck is Doc impressin'? Doc is this, Doc is that, you got the wrong impression You must be on the cock of Doc, cuz Doc left you all guessin' So DJ take the needle and just drop it on the record We gon' have this mutherfucker hoppin' in a second That's why we always save the best cut last To make you scratch and itch for it like fresh cut grass"