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In the late 1990s and early 2000s, a new music video from Eminem acted as a cultural milestone. Creating a genre of video entirely his own, the Detroit rapper continually made headlines with his groundbreaking and shocking videos. You may have loved them, you may have hated them, but you definitely saw them.
It’s been a quiet few years for Eminem. Battling with addiction caused Marshall Mathers III to take a step away from the mic, while the musical landscape shifted to a new, younger breed of rappers who dropped mixtapes online and boasted millions of Instagram followers. Rather than conform to the new norm of rap, Eminem has signaled a return to the Slim Shady days with his new video Phenomenal. It’s good to see you, Em. We’ve been waiting.
Written for the soundtrack to this summer’s boxing film Southpaw, Phenomenal features Eminem in fighting form both lyrically and on camera. Looking healthy and sporting his trademark bleached buzz cut, Em plays a highly trained secret service agent that wakes up in a hospital bed and has to fight his way out. Once on the streets of Tokyo, Eminem comes face to face with actor John Malkovich, who seems intent on having the rapper killed.
Eminem is able to fend off Malkovich’s goons, but not without a little help from comedian Randall Park and his car. In what we can easily imagine is something based on an actual encounter the notoriously stone faced rapper has encountered, Park is kicked out of the high speed chase for taking a selfie. The video concludes with Em arriving just in time for his show and joined on stage by a familiar face.
The new video has Eminem teaming up again with director Rich Lee, the mastermind behind Em’s videos for Not Afraid, Rap God, and Monster featuring Rihanna. Lee is known for his theatrical music videos, with the mini-action movies including impressive stunts and rich city landscapes.
Check out Eminem doing an impressive Jason Bourne in Phenomenal below.