Eminem is known for rapping about controversial subject matter and his latest album Music to Be Murdered By is no exception. This is his 11th LP, following Kamikaze from 2018. With a theme of murder and confronting violence, Eminem addresses a phenomenon he says “has become so common place that we are a society obsessed and fascinated by it”
Eminem’s new album is a response to current events and the truth of violence in our lives. Eminem adopts a psychopath persona throughout the album, similar to the work he did on “Stan.” More than any song, this can be noticed in “Darkness.” The track has received much attention as it is written from the perspective of Stephen Paddock, the Las Vegas shooter from the 2017 tragedy at the Route 91 Festival. The accompanying music video is filmed from Paddock’s point of view, switching back and forth to Eminem rapping to the camera.
The music video alludes more to his intent with the song as we get to visually endure the tragic dramatization of a real event. The shock factor is used here to get people to talk about what Eminem considers to be an important concern in America. At the end of the music video, Eminem is seen standing in front of television screens broadcasting shooting related news stories, which create the shape of the United States.
“This album was not made for the squeamish,” says Eminem. “Certain selections have been designed to shock the conscience, which may cause positive action. Unfortunately, darkness has truly fallen upon us.”
At the end of the “Darkness” music video, the words “When will this end? When enough people care” appear along with a link to the artists’ website featuring resources for those who have experienced a tragic mass shooting.
Eminem truly uses the platform of music to speak about important issues. This continues throughout the entire album as he confronts family violence in the song “Stepdad,” relationship violence in “Too Deep,” and drug violence in “Never Love Again” and “Farewell.” Other violent imagery like martians in “Marsh” and monsters in “Godzilla” are used to contribute to the overall theme.
The topic of murder also is perpetuated throughout with interludes that feature Alfred Hitchcock clips and many references to cereal killers in songs like “Unaccommodating”
The line “they wanna JonBenet me (Fuck you), I’m unaccommodating,” contributes to the overall theme that Music to Be Murdered By is not accommodating to those who are easily offended.
Beyond subject matter, Music to Be Murdered By is yet another LP where Eminem’s music mastery is fully demonstrated. From beginning to end, songs flow seamlessly track to track, making one wonder when one song stops, and another begins. This is a quality of a truly seasoned and talented artist, which Eminem is undoubtedly.
He also collaborates with various artists including; Ed Sheeran, Anderson .Paak, Q-Tip, Don Toliver, Sklyer Grey, Young M.A., Juice WRLD, and Royce Da 5’9; making the album one that has different levels and layers bringing out different elements of Eminem’s talent.
The beats are elevated and outstanding on most tunes; particularly, “In Too Deep,” “Godzilla,” and “Never Love Again.” “Godzilla” has gotten praise as one of the best songs on the album. Here we get to experience Eminem’s mind-blowing rapping skills, comparable to “Rap God.” Some slower songs like “Leaving Heaven” and “No Regrets” make the smoothness of the album come to a halt.
Overall, Eminem demonstrates yet again that he is a rap master and creatively ingenious as he cultivates an album that is truly an experience. He also successfully stimulates discussion about hot topic issues, making his music more than just entertainment.