Eminem Takes Stand Against Gun Violence on New Song 'Darkness' From Surprise Album: 'When Will This End?'

Eminem surprised fans Friday by dropping a brand new album, Music to Be Murdered By, the lead track for which is a musical stand against gun violence in the U.S.

The lyrics and music video for "Darkness" eerily evoke the 2017 Las Vegas shooting in which 58 people were killed when 68-year-old Stephen Paddock opened fire at a country music festival from his 32nd floor hotel suite.

Eminem, who appears to put himself in the mind of the shooter, raps scathingly about lax U.S. gun control laws that allow people like Paddock to stockpile automatic weapons with little monitoring.

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In one poignant lyric, Eminem raps about not having prior convictions, which makes it easier for people to buy guns. "Finger on the trigger, but I'm a licensed owner / With no prior convictions, so loss, the sky's the limit / So my supplies infinite, strapped like I'm a soldier," raps Eminem.

The lyrics also appear to allude to treatment of mental health in the U.S. The shooter has "no signs of mental illness," raps Eminem, but the chorus suggests someone who is lonely and dealing with mental illness.

"I don't wanna be alone in the darkness," Eminem repeats on the chorus, before sampling the famous first line from the Simon and Garfunkel song "The Sound of Silence": "Hello darkness, my old friend."

The video concludes with various news clips about mass shootings that have taken place in recently history, seen on televisions mounted on top of each other. The screens then transform into a collage of the United States flag.

Eminem closes the video with a simple message on screen, encouraging fans to engage with the upcoming 2020 presidential election. Text appears on the screen reading: "When will this end? When enough people care." Another text screen points people to register to vote along with the message: "Make your voice heard and help change gun laws in America."

According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 1,767 gun violence deaths in the U.S. since the start of 2020. Already this year, the U.S. has had nine mass shootings.

In total, there were 39,385 gun violence deaths across America last year, the not-for-profit group reported.

Last year had the highest number of mass shootings in the U.S. over the six years that the Gun Violence Archive has been tracking gun-related violence. There were 417 mass shootings in 2019, up from 337 in 2018, according to the group's data.

Music to Be Murdered By, Eminem's 11th studio album, was executive produced by the rapper's long-time collaborator Dr. Dre and features collaborations with Ed Sheeran and late rapper Juice Wrld, who died aged 21 in December following a seizure at an airport in Chicago.

Eminem in Darkness video
Eminem in "Darkness" video. Interscope
Eminem Takes Stand Against Gun Violence on New Song 'Darkness' From Surprise Album: 'When Will This End?' | Culture