(Song Meaning) “SlaughterMouse (Letter To Eminem)” by Joe Budden
Not many people have the rights or guts to address Eminem. And many of such callings have been in the form of disses, to which Eminem has given absolutely no concern at all. Joe Budden has done something slightly different to all of them. He touched a sweet spot between being a ‘Stan’ and being direct and blunt. Don’t get me wrong, “SluaghterMouse” is no way a diss to Eminem. It’s more of a direct opinion about Eminem and Joe Budden’s relationship right now.
Listen to the non-stop rap below and let’s get into the lyrics review afterwards.
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Lyrics Review/Song Meaning of “SluaghterMouse (Letter To Eminem)” by Joe Budden
Joe Budden wastes no time getting into the core of the message he wants to deliver through this song.
Look, it was around ’99, baby comin’ while I was at rock bottom
Ironic shit, I was listenin’ to “Rock Bottom”
Pockets, rabbit ears, no paper, lot of cotton
Had some charges stemmin’ from me and my squad robbin’
Had to leave the hood, shit stayin’, not an option
He starts off by saying how Eminem was and has been the beacon of light to his life. Back in 1999’s Joe Budden had hit rock bottom in his personal life-married, unemployed with a baby on the way and unable to provide for his family or himself. He plays on words by saying he was listening to Eminem’s iconic track “Rock Bottom” back then, which must have closely related to his life as well. Joe Budden also had some minor charges against him for theft back in the days. So he was on the run for some time.
I bumped your shit forever, felt we had a lot in common
A rapper expressin’ wit who spoke in depressive stints
All that introspectiveness, I couldn’t measure what it did
Joe Budden used to listen to Em’s tracks a lot. Loosely speaking, they both had a rough upbringing, and that made Joe Budden feel closer to Eminem. Joe Budden too had suffered from depression, drug addiction and the lot.
Listen, I’m writin’ to you now cause we don’t get to talk much
‘Cept for in the stu’ when we be passin’ through the halls and such
I wonder if you catch me stare at you in awe much
And we be busy workin’ so I never share my thoughts much
In an interview, Joe Budden said the situation mentioned above is probably an overstatement. Things aren’t that bad in their relationship. But however, beyond music-relationship Joe Budden doubts if Eminem knows him at all. They meet in the studio for recordings and such and they discuss music and business. But beyond that their relationship takes no sail.
Remember signin’ four niggas with an attitude?
Well maybe we’ll get your star power and his magnitude
All I thought was it was ’bout to be on
But I never guessed that I was ’bout to be wrong
Joe Budden speaks about N.W.A being signed under Shady Records. They believed that some of Em’s stardom would rub off on them being signed on to his record label. They thought it was about to be on! But it wasn’t the case.
We encountered some things, maybe we should’ve figured out all along
Who the fuck was I to be too vocal in my doubt for some songs?
Even I can’t be that dumb to step over the threshold
And be the guy who says no to so many records sold
Whole career, I never bit my tongue, I let it go
Too many times bein’ the rebel, ain’t end in what’s best for Joe
That second album came and added truth to the slander
But we learned what’s good for the goose ain’t good for the gander
Joe Budden has a reputation for speaking out his mind-be it appropriate or not. And that attribute has landed him in many a troubles. Joe spit out truth in his lyrics and he now believes what’s true isn’t very best for business. And along those sentiments comes the following powerful lines.
Guess I’m askin’ for advice right now
Experience and leadership to help suffice right now
I guess I’m askin’, “How would you do it?”
Before I do somethin’ too stupid
Before my group lose it just to get our views lucid
Every other day these niggas want a new exclusive
Should I be in the mix more? Maybe I’m too secluded
Joe Budden openly asks for advice from Eminem. Joe Budden may be good with his lyrics, but Em has made a name for himself as a true leader. Joe Budden asks what is the next step for him, before he makes a stupid move.
Fans keep asking for new music, and it has become a game of quantity over quality. Joe asks if he should collaborate more.
Do you think you’d be as famous now
If you had to put out “My Name Is” now?
The way the game is now, awful lyrics, shit is shameless now
Just tell me how you’d maneuver if you came in now
Joe Budden raises a serious question in this verse. He talks about the Hip Hop industry today, and calls it having “awful lyrics” and shameless (probably about using music for personal drudges, disses and promoting drugs and sex). So had Eminem released his iconic “My Name Is” track today, would he still be a breakthrough artist as he is today? Among the “awful lyrics” where would the real lyrical craftsmanship of Eminem rank? In the interview, Joe Budden says he really doesn’t know what or how it would have turned out if Eminem was a breakout artist today. Joe Budden asks for advice to teach him how to handle the music industry today.
It’s just thoughts, everything is criss-crossed
Gotta be cool with Complex and Pitchfork if I wanna get my shit off
Complex and Pitchfork are two of the premier music blogging websites that are revered by music aficionados. A good/bad review by them could mean the life for a new artist. So, for artists, it has become a trade off between expressing their opinions and also keeping the media ‘cool’ with them.
These simpleminded niggas won’t think you fuck with us
If they don’t see you poppin’ bottles in the club with us
It’s about fashion now, which I hate
Because I dress like shit, I’m just the best when I spit
Eminem and Joe Budden are not often seen together. In fact, Eminem is not seen with or without anyone in public at all. So their relationship cannot be judged based upon their outings, it goes deeper than that.
Music has become more than music now. Lyrics aren’t enough to win the fans. There is some element of glitz and glamour to it now. But Joe isn’t one for it, he is more of a lyric guy, which is conclusive in this “SlaughterMouse” track as well.
When Bad met Evil, nigga who was happier than me?
Think back, the way that I was on that shit
You woulda thought it was my album and I was on that shit
Like fuck rap, happy to see a friendship get mended
Cemented and any frivolous tension get ended
Joe Budden of Slaughterhouse had played a big role in the re-union of Bad Meets Evil duo. He says he cared more about two friends getting back together than the music they produced.
Joell you my G, Weapon Waist you my OG cuz
Nickel you know I look at you like it’s blood
Here’s the flowers, before this end is covered in mud
We can disband right now and it’s gonna always be love
Joe speaks about the bond between the Slaughterhouse members. Joell Oritz, Royce da 5’9″ (Nickel) and Crooked I (Weapon Waist) are so strongly bonded that even the band fell apart, their friendship will be forever.
For a brief period I tried to rhyme like y’all
I was high, maybe tryin’ to prove that I’m like y’all
But I’m not, I suck at all that syllable shit
I’d rather make the pen bleed to see the feelin’ you get
Joe Budden gets brutally honest in these lines. Being a part of Shady Records is a huge responsibility. They are an elite group of rappers headed by none other than Marshall Mathers himsel. Joe tried to adapt their styles. Eminem is a master-crafter of lyrics. His technicality in lyrics is beyond comprehension. Joe Budden tried to be like them, but he failed. Joe is more of a ‘speak your heart out’ kind of rapper. His raps address the heart.
I’m bein’ honest, we might never sell a million and shit
To me it’s more value in keepin’ it trill with my nigs
Joe Budden’s commercial success has not been on par with his teammates. It takes real courage to admit that and he says there is more value in enjoying what you do and doing it with his friends. Real talk, Joe!
And to Em, one of the illest ever on the mic
We’re less different than we are alike
This ain’t about star power, I ain’t on the hype
Never mind skin color, I see beyond the white
My whole life I fought trauma like you
Had ups and downs with my baby mama like you
I had my fair share of transgressions like you
Had a bad temper once and fought aggression like you
Did drugs, popped pills, fought depression like you
These are things you’d never pick up from our sessions in the stu’
I beefed with Hov, 50, Game and Wu
Got in my own way a lot, I’m sure the same as you
In these lines, Joe draws out similarities between Eminem and himself. Pretty straightforward lyrics here.
Still when I hear your voice, my head goes wrong
Takes me back to that little boy with my headphones on
And the way you saved my life back then is how I’m savin’ them
Eminem’s voice has been the guiding light for Joe Budden’s life. It has been so in the past and it still is today. Like Eminem did to him, he is saving some teenagers from trouble today.
Plaques and charted tracks won’t take me away from them
So I hope you understand
Fuck this record deal, you inspired me as a man
Joe’s mission with music is to help others-like how Eminem’s music saved his. He is happy not to be awarded gold and sit on charts. The Shady Records record deal saved his life, but he says Eminem saved him beyond the record deal-he helped him become a man.
I’ll cut it short, before I start feelin’ like a Stan
HouseGang for life, word to the pig on Royce’s hand
Success’ll never disable me
No record label will ever label me
My morals ain’t for sale, can’t under-the-table me
I’ll ride it out, even when everything ain’t savory
My brothers love me, they won’t enable me
And they won’t kill me, they won’t Cain and Abel me
It’s how I feel at the moment…
In the final few lines, Joe Budden concludes his letter to Eminem. He wants to get stuff out of his heart, so he will get to the point before he feels like a “Stan” (reference to the obsessed fan in Em’s track “Stan”). ‘HouseGang’ is another title for SlaughterHouse. The Slaughterhouse pig is tattooed on Royce’s hand.
Joe Budden says success will not change him as a person. He will forever say what he wants to say. No record label will be able to censor him. His values aren’t to be traded for record labels-he won’t be bought under the table. In every tough time he will get through them with the help of his brothers. Joe takes a biblical reference ‘Cain and Abel’ story, where Cain killed his brother Abel. All of this is how he feels about everything surrounding him at the moment.
That concludes the lyrics review and the analysis of meaning behind “SlaughterMouse (Letter to Eminem)” by Joe Budden. All-in-all a pretty insightful and meaningfully crafted lyrical work.