Eminem surprised fans with a new album, Music to Be Murdered By, on Jan. 17, and along with the record, he also dropped a music video for the song, “Darkness.” The song and video start out as the story of a man who is slowly losing control, and turning to alcohol and pills to help numb the pain. The subject of the song is seemingly in a hotel room before taking the stage at a show, and his anxiety is creeping in as he notices that there aren’t as many people in the crowd as he expected. However, it isn’t long before the story takes a tragic turn.
It turns out that the person who’s telling the story in the song isn’t the performer at the show. Rather, it’s from the point of view of Stephen Paddock — the man who opened fire on the Route 91 Music Festival from the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Oct. 2017, killing 59 people and injuring dozens more. “I’m already sweatin’ but I’m locked and loaded,” Eminem raps. “For rapid fire, spittin’ for all the concert-goers, scopes or sniper vision, surprise from out of nowhere, as I slide the clip in from inside the hotel.”
As if the lyrics weren’t chilling enough, the video is even more haunting. The footage literally shows a man picking up an assault rifle, then firing dozens of shots out the window. When he sees the cops coming down the hall, he picks up a gun and shoots himself. The song’s lyrics also conclude with, “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 signs of mental illness, just tryin’ to show ya the reason why we’re so f***ed, cause by the time it’s over, won’t make the slightest difference.” It’s a powerful message, reminding listeners that we still don’t have answers for the motive behind the tragic shooting in Las Vegas.
At the end of the video, more clips play from other mass shootings around the United States. It ends with this message: “When will this end? When enough people care. Register to vote at Vote.gov. Make your voice heard and help change gun laws in America. For information on how you can help please visit eminem.com/darkness.”