“Darkness” is the 8th track on Eminem’s 2020 album ‘Music to Be Murdered By.’ In the song, Eminem narrates the stories of mass shootings that plagued the United States in recent years.
Eminem released his much anticipated eleventh studio album titled ‘Music to Be Murdered By’ on January 17, 2020. Although the album was heavily awaited by Stans, the release of the album was a surprise as Eminem nor any official party gave out any confirmation of the release. ‘Music to Be Murdered By‘ album consists a staggering 20 tracks and is considered as a double album. The album is seemingly an address to the current status of the Rap God, addressing his friends and foes in the game. This recent surprise project follows Eminem’s 2018 surprise hit ‘Kamikaze‘ album that literally attacked every disdainful aspect in society including mumble rap.
In “Darkness,” Eminem assumes the persona of a person suffering from depression. He talks about how his world is full of emptiness and darkness that stops him from seeing the world proper. In the song, Eminem absorbs himself into the character of Stephen Paddock, who is responsible for the 2017 Las Vegas shooting.
The album release was complemented with a music video debut for “Darkness.” Watch below.
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“Darkness” samples one of the most classical and famous lines from music “Hello, darkness my old friend.” This lyric became mainstream through Simon & Garfunkel’s 1964 song “The Sound of Silence.”
Eminem laments in the darkness that surrounds his life. The worst part is that he sees that he is in the dark and he wants to get out and yet he has no help coming in. This mental state can surely corrupt someone’s sanity.
In the first verse, Eminem gets inside the head of a murderer suffering from depression. Em lays out the thought process that leads such a person to commit such devastation. Some little bit of attention? Some little bit of admiration? These are the thoughts that flow in his head before he devises an action plan to get it. The murderer considers this a “small wager” which can get his name in the newspaper tomorrow and then maybe people will notice his existence.
Stephen Paddock’s father was a bank robber and has been mostly absent in his life all his childhood. He considers himself so much like his father now that he is about to commit a massive crime. It is evident that Paddock is looking for some kind of belongingness.
The final bit of the verse if a complete double entendre between booze and guns. Em starts off with ‘Cold 45’ not being strong enough, which is a gun as well as a beer with little alcohol percentage. ‘Pop the Cap’ also refers to shooting as well as removing the lid of the bottle. “Shots” also refers to shooting as well as drinking alcohol.
In the second verse, Eminem puts himself on the spotlight along with Stephen Paddock. He draws some similarities between their lives, at the cusp of their grandest event. For Eminem, it is every concert he performs. For Paddock, it is his first and final shooting. Both events are about to make the newspaper the day after.
The final verse of “Darkness,” goes through similar feelings of Eminem performing a concert and Paddock committing mass murder. There are so many similar emotions both of them go. Nervousness before the curtains pull up. Massive crowds awaiting their once-in-a-lifetime experience. Their delivery is their final performance. The audience will never be the same again, in both situations.
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Check out the complete lyrics and further song meaning breakdown on Genius.