Eminem has premiered the music video for his song “Higher” Saturday night during ESPN’s UFC 257 Countdown: Poirier vs. McGregor 2. The track had first been released in December as part of the rapper’s Music To Be Murdered By – Side B.
“It’s always been amazing to be able to work with Eminem for promotional and programming content on various ESPN properties over the years,” Kevin Wilson, ESPN’s music director, said in a statement. “To be able to work on this video together with his team – not only featuring our team’s great UFC coverage but also debuting it exclusively on ABC, is just invaluable.”
The music video features Eminem training and lifting weights, rapping into a microphone set in the middle of a boxing ring. “Higher” features Eminem rapping about how he continues to evolve, “All I know is every time I hit my ceiling/I go higher than I’ve ever fucking been.” Footage of boxers sparing and practicing for the UFC are interspersed with images of fans rapping the song via zoom and Eminem standing in the center of the boxing ring. Michael Eves has an appearance in the middle of the video, sitting at the Sports Center desk, saying that Eminem “will be the first tell you that he treats the rap game the same way the world’s best athletes treat their respective sport.” Dana White also appears in the music video, speaking with Eves about tackling their demons.
The video continues with Eminem’s rap, discussing how he had to live in survival mode. He sits in a messy room, writing lyrics in a notebook, the footage of the video returning to a black and white aesthetic as he’s raps become faster and taking on a more anxious tone.
“We have always been interested in fostering the synergy between music and sports and along with ESPN we have created many great moments together,” David Neiman, VP of Sports and Gaming for Interscope Geffen A&M said in a press statement. “Working together to amplify Eminem’s artistic vision in such a unique way for this highly anticipated UFC event is absolutely a high point.”
Eminem released his 11th studio album, Music To Be Murdered By in January, 2020. He followed up the album with a deluxe edition, titled Music To Be Murdered By – Side B in December, 2020, with the deluxe version delivering 16 new tracks. Neither album was promoted prior to its release. Last February, Eminem also surprised the Oscars with a performance of his hit song “Lose Yourself,” while in July, he had joined Kid Cudi for the single “The Adventures of Moon Man & Slim Shady.”