Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Eminem's 'October Surprise'

Who'da thunk that one of the most damning statements of the Bush Administration would be delivered by a mega-successful white rapper out of Detroit? Well, in this ever-intriguing election campaign season, anything goes. Eminem has come out with a slashing diatribe of President Bush and his handling of the Iraq War and the economy. And it is powerful stuff, even if you don't like Eminem or rap in general.

Here's a little background on the video:


Michael Moore, the "Fahrenheit 9/11" filmmaker who tried his hand at directing music videos with Rage Against the Machine (Ed note: I thought it was System Of A Down), would certainly approve of Eminem's new clip, "Mosh," which has just hit the Internet.

A scathing indictment of President Bush and the war in Iraq (see
"Em Changes Targets From Jacko To Bush On New Track 'Mosh' "), the animated video begins with the jarring image of a commercial airliner flying over a school and then exploding offscreen. The point of view then zooms into the school, where Eminem is reading a children's book to a class in a scene reminiscent of the minutes following the 9-11 attacks, when Bush was at a Florida elementary school reading to second graders. Eminem is holding his book upside down.

From there, "Mosh" moves to Eminem's apartment, where the walls are covered with articles critical of the Bush administration and its policies. Filled with anger, he puts on gloves and dons a hooded jacket. Clips of Em rapping the track are then interspersed with scenes of domestic problems facing the country, such as racial profiling (an animated Lloyd Banks is harassed by police) and poverty (an inner-city family receives an eviction notice as their TV set shows Bush promising tax cuts for the wealthy).

"Mosh" portrays Eminem as a powerful rebellious figure who just by using his voice and music has the ability to mobilize people who are fed up with the president. With his following uniformly dressed in dark hoodies, the group looks to be storming toward the White House but actually end up signing up to vote. At the same time in the song, Em talks about the people assembling to disarm what he calls the real weapon of mass destruction: George W. Bush.

A pro-vote message is tagged on at the end of the clip, directed by Ian Inaba of the Guerrilla News Network, which is hosting the video at GNN.tv. Eminem's Encore is due November 16.

Here's a little about how the video and song came together, and matched up. The director was influenced by Greg Palast and various works that GNN was doing:


As a music video director, ideas for videos usually come independent of the song and are then adapted to fit the timing and lyrics of the featured track. I initially developed a concept for this video in June 2004 and contacted Interscope shortly after to find out what artists in their roster would be releasing albums near the election. The goal was to make a video that inspired young people to vote because they too often disregard it as a powerless exercise. To show them that political decisions do impact their daily lives and that voting is the most powerful act we all have to voice our opinion and effect change. And to educate and reiterate the point that whether or not people want to accept it, there are forces in play that attempt to suppress the youth and minority vote.

When I got the callback that our favorite conspirator of controversy, Eminem would be releasing an album in November, I knew we had the potential to
say something that would be heard by the masses. And after hearing the song later that month it seemed Mr. Mathers had also been in the lab concocting his own plans for the election and it was precisely the anthem I had been looking for. So with less than six weeks to deliver we put together a team and forgot about what it meant to sleep. In order to produce animation for a song that runs 5:20 in just over 5 weeks we were going to need a lot of green tea and mate and a little help from Marshall himself. This video was made possible by a team of artists who came together inspired by a song and video that might be able to effect the next four years of all of our lives.

Two years ago, this video would not have been approved by a single record label. A year ago it would never had the possibility of being played on television. But with the changing tide of public sentiment marked by the success of our last video for Chronic Future, an anti-war message that made it into rotation on TRL we think it might just have a chance.

But will MTV play it? You can vote for it on TRL by writing it in. I hope everyone sees it, it is a powerful video and song, even if you don't like rap.

You can see the video here:

Rap Basement

Or here:



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