Eminem has revealed he is returning to the studio to produce his first album in four years.

Rumours had surfaced that the rapper, real name Marshall Mathers, had gained a substantial amount of weight and was experiencing a number of health problems.

But while he did not address these issues, he confirmed that he is working on his first album since 2004's Encore.

The news emerged as the Detroit rap star made a prank call to his own radio station.

Fellow hip-hop artist LL Cool J was being interviewed on DJ Tony Touch's show on Shade 45 when Eminem called in, posing as an aspiring rapper named Jason from Miami.

He challenged the rap veteran to a game of Name That Tune and earned praise from LL after rapping lines from Eat Up Em L Chill and other tracks.

"You sound hot saying the joints!" LL told him. "That sounds like you need to write some bars, homie! You sound good, baby."

But when 'Jason' asked: "Can I drop a little something?" and began to rap lines from Lose Yourself - Eminem's Oscar-winning song from the 8 Mile soundtrack, the true identity of the caller was revealed.

He told the show host: "Everything is good. I'm just in the studio right now working on songs and stuff like that."

And addressing LL, he asked: "When are we going to hang out? I've got cable in my house and the game is on."

Speaking to Blender magazine last month, 50 Cent revealed he had already heard some of the new tracks by his mentor.

"You know, Michael Jordan was supposed to play basketball. Floyd Mayweather was meant to box. And Eminem was meant to rap," the G-Unit star said.

13/06/2008 16:11:44