Dissecting the Religiously Charged Subtext of Eminem's "Berzerk" Video
The thin veil between life and death was ripped apart earlier this week with the release of Eminem's music video for "Berzerk." The highly anticipated visual debut for the first single from Marshall Mathers LP 2 (to be released November 5th) features old-school graphics, Detroit, and a pixilated "So What Che Want" view of one of rap's greatest heroes. But above all, it is Eminem's desperate attempt to be released from the in-between and restored to life so he can restore hip-hop to it's former glory. The success of this venture can only be determined by us (and God, probably, who knows).
See also: Does the World Still Want Eminem?
Eminem wants to make it clear that he didn't just choose to be absent from the hip-hop music scene during one of it's most trying times--he's actually been dead for awhile. As if recording the "Berzerk" video on a VHS tape was not enough to prove his complete worldly detachment, he shows us the literal split between his head and feet (soul and body). It is a genius moment of devastation showcased in one artful split second.
But before the mourning of Marshall Mathers/Slim Shady/Eminem can begin, it becomes evident that all is not exactly lost. Eminem has not descended into the depths of hell (yet)--he is currently residing in a white-walled purgatory illuminated by studio lights and the boom of a giant (...Beats By Dre...?) boom-box. And, luckily for him, he is accompanied by
producer of "Berzerk" and otherwise-infamous music-master Rick Rubin Detroit-Purgatory-God, as clearly evidenced by his long beard, lack of shoes, and general appearance of apathy. Unlike real-God, Detroit-Purgatory-God is here to help.