Eminem has never been an artist that pulls any punches in both his lyrics and music videos. Back in 2010, Eminem teamed up with Rihanna to tackle domestic abuse in “Love The Way You Lie,” with the music video featuring a couple, played by Dominic Mohaghan and Megan Fox, fighting in the middle of a burning house.
Now Eminem is taking on another dark relationship with his latest single “River,” this time, bringing British pop singer Ed Sheeran along for the ride. The pair first released the song back in December, a career milestone for Sheeran, who often cites Eminem as one of his biggest musical influences.
The second single from Eminem’s 2017 album Revival, “River” tells the story of a woman who is cheated on by her husband and uses Eminem for revenge. Thinking their relationship is only casual, Eminem is shocked when the woman announces that she’s pregnant and demands she get an abortion.
As if the song’s subject matter wasn’t already heavy, the new music video, which dropped on Wednesday, brings a visual element that includes domestic violence to the already dark song. Although both Eminem and Sheeran appear in the video, they shot their scenes separately and do not appear together at any point. Eminem and Ed Sheeran both give candid interviews for the documentary style scenes, with Eminem responding to the question ‘What does love mean to you?’ by saying, “My personal life is not exactly a highlight reel.”
Whether Eminem is referring to his relationship with ex-wife Kim Mathers, one the rapper has spoken about at length in his music over his career, or a new relationship is unclear. One thing we do know is that Eminem using the hashtag #UnhappyValentine to promote the new video is fitting.
River follows Eminem’s first Revival single “Walk On Water,” which the Detroit rapper recorded with Beyoncé.