Eminem has dropped a surprise album — and it’s politically charged.
The rapper’s eleventh studio album, Music To Be Murdered By, was released Friday as well as the video for the track “Darkness,” which calls for an overhaul of U.S. gun laws.
The six-minute video eerily shows a concert shooting playing out with both the dramatization and lyrics referencing the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, when Stephen Paddock opened fire into a crowd of concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest music festival. It was the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history, killing 59 people and wounding hundreds.
The video for the song, which samples Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence,” also included footage of news broadcasts from several other recent mass shootings across the country.
The end of the video sees Eminem (real name: Marshall Mathers) staring at a wall of TV screens as the news reports play, one after another. Each screen then turns to an image of the American flag. The words, “When will this end?” then appear across the screen followed by, “When enough people care.”
The last messages urge people to register to vote with the note, “Make your voice heard and help change the gun laws in America.” A link to the performer’s own website is also included, which has a page with various organizations — including Sandy Hook Promise, Brady United Against Gun Violence
and Everytown for Gun Safety — that are working to put “an end to senseless gun violence, or to help survivors and their families.”
Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action, which is part of Everytown for Gun Safety, applauded his efforts.
Grateful to @Eminem for calling attention to our nation’s gun violence crisis and waya to solve it. A link to the music video on Eminem's website encourages viewers to contact or visit several gun violence prevention organizations, including @Everytown. https://t.co/MdKJNU3YaA— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) January 17, 2020
So did Brady United Against Gun Violence.
Thank you to @Eminem for using his music to make a powerful statement about our nation’s weak gun laws. His website links @bradybuzz.— Brady (@bradybuzz) January 17, 2020
Be prepared, this video is a difficult watch. There is no easy way to depict America’s senseless bloodshed. #MusicToBeMurderedBy #EndGunViolence https://t.co/JQrEazW4XD
And the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.
However, another track on the album referring to the Ariana Grande concert bombing in Manchester — in which 22 people died — didn't go over as well. In "Unaccommodating," Eminem sings, "I’m contemplating yelling ‘bombs away’ on the game / Like I’m outside of an Ariana Grande concert waiting," seemingly making light of the bombing, which has caused a fan fury.
In addition to Grande fans branding Eminem “trash” for the lyrics, the mom of Martyn Hett, who died at the Manchester Arena in 2017, slammed the rapper for having “no sense.”
Ok, I just watched the 11 min clip. Feels like he is piggybacking on the fame of Ariana grande and Justin bieber and says distasteful things about other celebrities. Not clever. Totally pointless. And before all Eminem fans pounce on me, I am not interested and will not engage. https://t.co/fE9MbepeqN— Figen Murray (@FigenMurray) January 17, 2020
Yeah, I watched the clip. Totally no sense in any of his lyrics. I will ignore the possible barrage of insults I may receive from his fans. https://t.co/4A8PtrV0Po— Figen Murray (@FigenMurray) January 17, 2020
Eminem has yet to address the line or offer further explanation. (For what it’s worth, the rapper did help raise money for Manchester victims.)
The album cover for Music To Be Murdered By — which features collaborations with Ed Sheeran and Skylar Grey — shows a bearded Eminem wearing a suit and hat while holding a shovel. There’s blood dripping down the opposite side.
A second cover has the same spatter and Eminem, sans hat, holds a gun to his head on one side and a hatchet on the other.
The latter was inspired by “the master,” Alfred Hitchcock, the performer said.
Read more from Yahoo Entertainment:
Want daily pop culture news delivered to your inbox? Sign up here for Yahoo Entertainment & Lifestyle’s newsletter.