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Music

Eminem releases surprise new album ‘Music to Be Murdered By.’ (Not surprising: It’s very dark)

Eminem
Eminem, pictured at Coachella in 2018, released an unannounced new album on Thursday night.
(Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella)

Eminem — remember him? — is back.

The polarizing rap superstar emerged from something like a deep freeze Thursday night with the surprise release of a new album, “Music to Be Murdered By,” his first LP since the coolly received (and similarly unannounced) “Kamikaze” in 2018.

With a characteristically macabre title reproducing that of a late-’50s album by Alfred Hitchcock, Eminem’s 20-song project features guest appearances by Ed Sheeran, Q-Tip, the Roots’ Black Thought, Anderson .Paak, Royce da 5’9” and the late Juice Wrld, among others. Dr. Dre, who helped introduce Eminem to a mainstream audience with early singles including “My Name Is” and “The Real Slim Shady,” is among the credited producers.

Eminem’s 10th major-label studio album, “Music to Be Murdered By” opens with what sounds like a dramatization of a woman being stabbed and then buried; various songs on the album refer to drugs, violence and mental illness — familiar topics for the rapper who became one of pop music’s biggest acts by continuously testing the boundaries of acceptable subject matter.

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In “Unaccommodating,” he makes light of the terrorist bombing that killed nearly two dozen people as they left a concert by Ariana Grande in Manchester, England, in 2017: “I’m contemplating yelling ‘Bombs away’ on the game like I’m outside of an Ariana Grande concert waiting,” he raps.

Eminem, who played festivals including Coachella in 2018, also released a music video on Thursday for the song “Darkness” in which an actor reenacts the 2017 mass shooting that killed 58 people at a country-music festival in Las Vegas.

At the end of the clip, which had been viewed nearly half a million times in its first hour on YouTube, a message appears onscreen that reads, “When will this end? When enough people care.”


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