Updated January 17, 2020 - 2:58 pm
Eminem has used a re-creation of the Oct. 1 shooting on the Las Vegas Strip as a backdrop for the new single from his latest release, a move certain to ignite debate across the cultural spectrum.
The video for the single “Darkness” is infused with re-created images and audio recordings from the Route 91 Harvest festival mass shooting at Las Vegas Village in 2017. Eminem has consistently emphasized gun-control messages, and has previously called out the National Rifle Association in his song “Nowhere Fast,” slamming gun owners for “loving their guns more than our children.”
Warning: The video linked below contains images and language that may be disturbing to some viewers.
— Marshall Mathers (@Eminem) January 17, 2020
The Detroit rapper dropped the “Darkness” video and his most recent album, “Music To Be Murdered By,” both unannounced and in the dark of the night late Thursday. The release went public at midnight Eastern time.
Eminem employed the same surprise strategy for “Kamikaze” in 2018.
In the new single, the artist whose legal name is Marshall Mathers, assumes the persona of a would-be shooter. He also incorporates an actor firing out of the upper-level resort suite while rapping the lyrics, “Feels like I’m loathing in Las Vegas, haven’t got the vaguest why I’m so lost. But I’d make you this small wager, I’ll bet you I’ll be in tomorrow’s paper. Who would the odds favor?”
The camera pans across a fictional Vegas Daily newspaper, a stack of betting slips under cocktail glasses and dozens of automatic rifles and cartridges.
The rapper, often nicknamed Slim Shady, follows with, “I keep pacin’ this room Valium, then chasin’ it with booze. One little taste it’ll do, maybe I’ll take it and snooze. Then tear up the stage in a few.”
Throughout the song, the lyric “Hello darkness, my old friend” from Simon & Garfunkel’s “Sound of Silence” is sampled.
Eminem continually peers out a window to the Strip and the Village venue, singing the refrain, “I don’t wanna be alone in the darkness.”
An actor portraying an older, balding, heavy-set man in a white tank top begins firing out of the window. Police storm the floor and the suite, to the lyric, “But if you’d like to know the reason why I did this, you’ll never find a motive. Truth is, I have no idea, I am just as stumped. No sign of mental illness.”
The shooter finally puts a handgun in his mouth. The video shows reports of other mass shootings across the country before closing with the words, “WHEN WILL THIS END? WHEN ENOUGH PEOPLE CARE.” and a link to list of gun control organizations.
Inspired by and featuring the image of Alfred Hitchcock, “Music To Be Murdered By” is Eminem’s 11th studio album. The cover borrows from Hitchcock’s 1958 album of the same name.
Dr. Dre produces the album, which features 10 songs, including contributions from Ed Sheeran, Skylar Grey and even Juice Wrld, who died in December at age 21.
The video is certain to produce millions of views on YouTube. Within four hours of release, it had amassed more than a half-million views.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.