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Eminem, ‘Rap God’ – Song Meaning

Eminem
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Eminem spews over 6,000 words in the six-minute epic ‘Rap God,’ where he ponders his place in the rap music and hip-hop universe. There’s lots of words and syllables, but we’re still game for breaking down the song’s larger meaning. The lyrics reveal the song to be from the mind of a man who knows what he does affects others without ever forgetting how his actions affect himself.

“Everybody want the key and the secret to rap / Immortality like I have got / Well, to be truthful the blueprint’s / Simply rage and youthful exuberance / Everybody loves to root for a nuisance / Hit the earth like an asteroid / Did nothing but shoot for the moon since.”

Eminem is revealing trade secrets in this verse. The secret to success is a hybrid of rage and youth. And while he is in his 40s, he still has that same fire in his belly, which certainly fuels his music and makes it worth listening to. Rap music and Eminem’s rage will not be confined by age. So by that token, rage > youth. Plus, he hits on the important point that everyone roots for a nuisance, aka the underdog.

“I’m beginning to feel like a rap god, rap god / All my people from the front to the back nod, back nod
/ The way I’m racing around the track / Call me NASCAR, NASCAR
 / Dale Earnhardt of the trailer park / The White Trash God / 
Kneel before General Zod / This planet’s Krypton, no Asgard, Asgard.”

Here’s Em dropping a ton of pop culture references, from NASCAR drivers to Superman’s nemeses. It demonstrates his brilliance as a wordsmith, and how he can use the things he sees, and that we all see, and create clever phrases out of them. It ensures that we relate to the words that tumble from his cake hole.

“My honesty’s brutal / But it’s honestly futile if I don’t utilize / What I do though for good / At least once in a while so I wanna make sure Somewhere in this chicken scratch I scribble and doodle / Enough rhymes to / Maybe try to help get some people through tough times / But I gotta keep a few punchlines / Just in case cause even you unsigned / Rappers are hungry looking at me like it’s lunchtime.”

And this is why Em is still at the top of his game and is a true Rap God. He meshes reality with humor. He wants his words to mean something to someone out there – any of his fans—but not without injecting them with a little joke here and there. He’s not all serious; he’s just clever. He also knows that there’s someone younger and hungrier coming up the steps behind him so he has to stay fresh and relevant. That’s our assessment of the gist of Eminem’s ‘Rap God.’

PopCrushers and Eminemaniacs, what do you guys think of our read of the song?

Listen to Eminem, ‘Rap God’

Next: What Is Sara Bareilles' 'Brave' All About?

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