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THE RACE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE

Eminem Swipes at Bush

He recruits an army to oust the president at the polls in the video for his new single, 'Mosh.'

October 28, 2004|Geoff Boucher | Times Staff Writer

Slim Shady is becoming Citizen Eminem.

Rapper Eminem, who made headlines with the gleefully profane alias Slim Shady, has taken his deepest plunge yet into the political world with "Mosh," a new song that, along with its music video, slams President Bush and calls on young America to mobilize against the administration.

In the animated video, which had its debut on the Internet this week, Eminem leads an army of young people in hooded sweatshirts who march through the streets of a police-state America. As the ominous, martial cadence of the song builds, the hooded legion gains new members -- a single mom who receives an eviction notice, a soldier who returns home from war only to be ordered back to Iraq, and rapper Lloyd Bankschafes under the harsh authority of police.

The disaffected army makes it past police and soldiers to storm a government building, but inside they don't riot -- the video climaxes with the mob in an orderly line at a table with a placard that reads, "Sign in to vote." The fade shot at the end reads simply: "Vote Tuesday, November 2."

In the lyrics, Eminem savages the president as a liar and a thief of American honor. "Strap him with an AK-47 / Let him go fight his own war / Let him impress daddy that way," the song chides. "Mosh" implores young America to unite for the election. "Let us beg to differ / As we set aside our differences / And assemble our own army / To disarm this weapon of mass destruction / That we call our president / For the present."

Eminem's rhymes have veered to the political before -- notably in the song "White America" -- but "Mosh" has the usually antisocial firebrand calling for activism instead of anarchy. There are still plenty of hot-button moments, among them a combat knife driven through a portrait of Bush and a sequence that suggests that some of Osama bin Laden's messages have been faked on federal soundstages.

The video also opens with children reciting the pledge of allegiance while a jetliner crashes near their school -- and in that scene Eminem is at the front of the class with a children's book, a reference to the president's whereabouts during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The video premiered Monday on the Guerrilla News Network website and was directed by Ian Inaba, a Berkeley-based contributor to the website. It hit MTV on Tuesday, and as of Wednesday afternoon the channel's website listed it as No. 1 on its chart of hot videos.

"Mosh" is Eminem's second single for his upcoming album, "Encore," and follows "Lose It," another music video that grabbed attention with its shots at Michael Jackson. "Encore" arrives in stores Nov. 16.

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