Amy Ryan
July 15, 2005 AT 11:06 PM EDT

Is Eminem retiring? So suggests a big package of stories today in his hometown paper, the Detroit Free Press. His pals are saying he wants to quit while he’s ahead, that his Sept. 17 show in Ireland will be his last, and that last year’s Encore will be his final CD as a rapper.

Of course, he’ll only be ”retiring” in the Jay-Z sense; as with Jay, there’s still a lot on his plate, including producing jobs, running his label, and his satellite radio station. (Jay-Z, who staged his own death in the ”99 Problems” video as a metaphor for his own farewell to the mic, is also the apparent inspiration for a clip Eminem is showing in concert, in which he appears to shoot himself in the temple, only to emerge unscathed and announce, ”This is how you go out with a bang, baby!”)

Still, even if Marshall Mathers is busy offstage, what does it mean that there might be no more Slim Shady? Is this a sign of the rapocalypse, or will someone just as big come along to fill the vacuum?

addCredit(“Eminem: Barry Brecheisen/WireImage.com”)

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