"3 a.m." (CD single)

Music review by
Jacqueline Rupp, Common Sense Media
"3 a.m." (CD single) Music Poster Image
Ultra-violent single glorifies sociopathic impulses.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 24 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

The song is like a horror film set to hip-hop beats. The sociopathic, murderous tirade goes far beyond social misbehavior.


The song is a diatribe glorifying evil and violence. The video is awash in blood and victims -- and the vast majority of them are young women. The chorus sums things up: "It's 3 a.m. in the morning, put my key in the door, bodies laying all over the floor and I don't remember how they got there, but I guess I must've killed 'em, killed 'em."


A warped sensibility permeates the song, as in the lyrics where Eminem talks about masturbating while watching Hannah Montana.


Although there are very few profanities, the violent lyrics go into such detail they are profane without the use of any four-letter words."I wrapped him in Christmas lights, pushed him in the stinking tub, cut him up into pieces and just when I went to drink his blood, I thought I outta drink his bathwater, that outta be fun."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Abusing prescription drugs is the least of a listener's concerns on this single, however Eminem does rap casually about "Swallowing a calotapin while I'm not in and out of ionamin," referencing a cocktail of "uppers" and "downers."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this song is full of grotesque, unapologetically violent lyrics about murderous, sociopathic impulses. The video is full of ultra-violent scenes of blood, gore, and murder -- Eminem is seen in a bathtub filled with "blood" and standing over the bloodied corpses of dead (mostly female) victims.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byAnonymos June 26, 2019
Adult Written byHorro November 5, 2017
The song is okay except it seems like he tried to hard to make a shock song but that’s just me and it sounds really annoying when he screams so overall it is fi... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old October 24, 2020

God,this is an awful song and its message is MURDER.

This song has Eminem's cringy(awful) accent and it is about Eminem taking drugs and blacking out then going on a murderous(and raping)rampage.For example h... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byspeyan727 September 11, 2018

What's the story?

On the single "3 a.m.," from Eminem's latest album Relapse, the rapper portrays a serial killer recounting his violent and twisted history. The single is quite darker than the album's other releases up to this point, with quotes from the Silence of the Lambs even incorporated into the lyrical confessions. The single definitely qualifies itself for a place in the "horrorcore" genre of hip-hop, where rappers attempt to create a musical version of horror fiction.

Is it any good?

It's easy to bash Eminem for glorifying heinous, brutal acts on this single. But the real problem here is: What's the point of this song? If it's intended as an examination of the criminal mind, it misses. It just comes off a violent song whose imagery is played only for shock value. The song loses all hope for redemption with its weak writing, exhibited in such unoriginal, repetitive lines as "...there is the coroner, waiting for you to turn the corner so he could corner ya, you're a goner, he's on to ya, out the corner of his cornea."

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Eminem uses his alter-ego, Slim Shady as a mechanism for bad, down-right deplorable behavior. Do you think the rapper is playing a character when he celebrates killing people? What effect do you think this single will have on listeners? Talk to kids about the messages in the music.

Music details

  • Artist: Eminem
  • Release date: April 28, 2009
  • Label: Aftermath
  • Genre: Rap
  • Parental advisory: Yes
  • Edited version available: Yes
  • Last updated: November 30, 2018

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate