Eminem – Bad Guy (Lyrics Review and Song Meaning)
“Bad Guy” is the opening track on Eminem’s eighth studio album ‘Marshall Mathers LP 2’ released in 2013. This track is known for its linkage towards the prequel album the ‘Marshall Mathers LP’ released in the year 2000. The song also acts as the sequel to Eminem’s hit track “Stan” from MMLP album.
Eminem talked about “Bad Guy” in an interview with MTV News; “Making the “Bad Guy” record, I felt like I want to make sure that I make something that ties in with The Marshall Mathers LP. You know, the first one. And I wanted to make it make sense that, if I’m gonna go down this road, this could be ready for what’s about to happen. So, it’s kinda like, to me, the song, the way I was thinking, when I wrote it was like: “What if this nightmare just happened that I decided to do this album and everything just started coming back on me?” Matthew came back, Stan’s little brother, and he came back to kill me. Just all this shit just started happening. So, it was kinda like “Bad Guy” to me is more like, technically to me, is more like an intro to the album, like, okay, this is what’s about to happen. Here it is. And then picking up from the “Criminal” skit where The Marshall Mathers LP left off. I don’t know if anyone caught that, but that’s kind of where the continuation starts.”
In “Bad Guy,” a story is being narrated of one Matthew Mitchell, whom we come to understand as the little brother of the character of ‘Stan’ from the song “Stan.” Stan is a massive fan of Eminem, who went to the extremes of killing himself and his pregnant wife because Eminem was not responding to his letters and would not become his close friend. Eminem reads about Stan’s life up until his death in letters written by Stan to Eminem. Stan also mentions of his little brother in the song. Years down the line, this little brother is grown up and is after Eminem for revenge, believing Eminem is responsible for his brother’s death.
Listen to “Bad Guy” by Eminem
In the first verse, Matthew explains how every effort to put Eminem out of his mind has failed over the years. For one, Matthew is a huge fan of Eminem ever since he was a small kid. Also, Eminem has now become public enemy number one for the death of his brother. No matter how much he tries to forget about everything that happened, one Em song on the radio brings in all the foul memories. And he is in pain all over again.
Matthew is stuck in a strange mentality of his childhood idol becoming his worst nightmare. The fact that he was, rather unintentionally, ignored by Eminem after a concert, waiting in the freezing cold, has left a wound in Matthew’s heart which has also not healed. His mind begs him to let go of this, things that happened over 13 years before. But his heart is saying that he will only have closure when Eminem is dead and buried.
In the second verse, Matthew continues to spit out his anger on Eminem on the ways he was responsible for leaving his home in shambles. Matthew’s brother slowly went insane. He tied up his pregnant wife and put her in the trunk of the car and drove off of a bridge killing them all. It is quite clear that Matthew might have been a part of Stan’s life and has witnessed his slow descent into madness.
In the third verse of “Bad Guy,” Matthew Mitchell explains his every move into the kidnapping of Eminem. He drives around town looking for Em’s new address and finds it after 9 hours. He reaches Em’s house walks into the bedroom and ties up Eminem and puts him in the trunk of his car. For all cynical reasons, Matthew plays the ‘Marshall Mathers LP’ album in the car while kidnapping Eminem. Matthew drives the car off of a bridge in the same fashion Stan killed himself.
This is also the verse Eminem starts pulling in clever twists in his whole storyline. Matthew Michell in initials is M & M, and M&M is how Eminem’s name was formed from his birth name Marshall Mathers. So, we are left to think if there is an actual Matthew Mitchell involved in this story at all. This could very well be Eminem’s subconscious haunting him after all these years for the death of Stan.
The fourth verse shares some valid knowledge for all the celebrities and fans alike. Em sings;
‘Cause Marshall Mathers, the rapper’s persona
Is half a facade, and Matthew and Stan’s just symbolic
Of you not knowing what you had ’til it’s gone
‘Cause after all the glitz and the glam
No more fans that are calling your name