By Kevin Rutherford
For over a decade, Debbie Nelson was known as, to put it plainly, a bad mother. That’s at least what the lyrics of songs from her son, Eminem, indicated. It became commonplace to expect some sort of mom diss on early albums from the rapper, with very rarely anything nice to say about the mother of two.
But “Headlights,” a song off Eminem’s most recent MMLP2, was a departure, finding Marshall Mathers apologizing to Nelson for what had transpired between them over the years, the headlights in question referencing their final meeting as he watched her car drive away.
Indeed, it’s somewhat fitting that a music video for the song would come on the such-hallowed holiday for moms everywhere, Mother’s Day. Released today, the clip gives more of a visual peek into the two’s rocky relationship, complementing the story that had already been told in the song itself.
The Spike Lee-directed video, shot in Eminem’s hometown of Detroit, is a first-person account shown through the eyes of Nelson. It finds her at home watching television, where the only thing on any channel seems to be her son’s less-than-glamorous depictions of her in his music videos. She attempts to travel to the gated community in which he resides but is turned away at the door by guards.
Much of the rest of the video is rinse, repeat. A photo album featuring young Mathers makes a few appearances, and she continuously tries to make it to see her son, only to be turned away. Finally, after letters, near-misses and false alarms, the pair finally happens to cross paths outside the gate, locking in an embrace before breaking away for the last time.
“Headlights” acts as purportedly the final time Mathers will reference his mom in a song. In an interview last year on Sirius XM, the rapper said that everything he’d want to address in terms of his relationship with Nelson was on the song and that he wouldn’t likely touch on the topic again.
The song is the fifth single from MMLP2, which originally dropped last November and has sold over 2 million copies.