“Zeus” is the fourteenth track on Eminem’s second 2020 album ‘Music to Be Murdered By: Side B.’ The song drops so many names from the industry; some for the better and some for the worse. Em also brings in several names related to several social issues present.
Eminem released his second surprise album ‘Music to Be Murdered By: Side B’ on December 18, 2020, a sequel to his January 2020 album ‘Music to Be Murdered By.’ The brand new album, 12th in his career, consists of 16 new tracks and carries on Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller theme from the former album.
Most notably, Eminem extends a sincere apology to Rihanna for Em’s leaked alternate version of the song titled “Things Get Worse.” This leaked version seemed to have Eminem siding with Chris Brown in the infamous assault case with then-girlfriend Rihanna.
Listen to “Zeus” by Eminem Ft. White Gold
Buy ‘Music to Be Murdered By: Side B’ Album on Apple Music & Amazon
“Zeus” Lyrics Meaning and Song Review
The first round of shots from Eminem’s lyrical barrel land on rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine. It is comical that Eminem even has to bring up Tekashi as a tool for comparison. However, the idea is that Tekashi has some of the most controversial lyrics and visuals and personal behavior in the industry in 2020. Critics’ claim of Eminem’s controversies dates back to decades ago. So, there really are some double standards when it comes to receiving Eminem and other artists in the music game. Em also seems to respond to people who think that his beef with Machine Gun Kelly had any impact on him. Eminem came out with two successful hip-hop/rap albums since the feud went down and Machine Gun Kelly seemed to change his entire genre in his 2020 album ‘Tickets to My Downfall.’
MGK seemingly responded to these jabs by Eminem inferring the subliminal messages in the lyrics are trash;
In the next few line, Eminem goes back to his roots. He talks about the days of the underground rap battle era in Detroit. He claims these rap battles made him, built him up, and made him strong. And people who witnessed Eminem’s skills in these arenas are still rooting for him.
There is a clever underline message going behind these lines too. From ‘plant’ to ‘planet’ to ‘underground’ to plant ‘roots’ that go underground to ‘Roots’ hip hop group to its member Tariq Trotter (in lyrics as “to wreak”) better known by his stage name Black Thought, all these words or phrases in the lyrics are connected. Need more proof of Eminem’s genius?
The final lines on the first verse talk about the leaked alternate version of the song as mentioned above. Eminem accepts the responsibility for what he wrote down even though he did not release it.
White Gold performs the chorus of the song. However, he assumes the POV of Eminem for these lyrics.
With these lyrics, Eminem is portrayed in the light of Zeus: the Greek god of the sky and the king of gods. He is said to reside at the top of Mount Olympus looking down on Earth. Eminem, in his stature in the rap game, is similar to the state of god in the game. Em keeps to himself, locked in his mansion in Detroit, and barely gets involved in collaborations or social events. This behavior is similar to that of Zeus who only involves himself in Earthly matter when absolutely necessary. Unironically, Eminem’s hit single “Rap God” stands witness to this claim. White Gold throws another reference to Em’s hit single “Godzilla” by dropping the word “monsta.”
In the second verse, Eminem plays out his role as Zeus in the rap game. Other rappers who try to go against Eminem, do not know what’s coming at them until the giant wakes up and starts spitting bars. Even when his feet are on the ground, his head is still in the sky. Playing on this theme, Em mentions the notion of ‘mile-high club.’
Eminem also adds that he is merely trying to survive the “climate of vag*nas” and follows up with the phrase ‘cancel culture.’ Eminem is not the controversial Slim Shady persona he was five albums ago. Today, the world has become a lot more fragile, both physically and mentally. ‘Cancel culture’ is a big movement for the smallest step out of line. Em draws the example of Aunt Jemima brand of foods stating its roots in racial stereotyping.
Fortunately, Eminem does not have to do much to survive in this climate. Yes, he has cleaned up his act and filtered his lyrics, but he has a massive discography behind him that still fuels his earnings. Back in the day, Em used to sit and gaze at bills piling up without the means to settle them. Now, he just sits back and watches dollar bills pile up!
In the third verse, the Rap God seems to share some wisdom with his colleagues. He directly addresses Drake warning him that the industry will spit him out as soon as they see him even slightly falling off the rails, i.e. not ranking high on Billboard! Em says they did it to Chance the Rapper. Em says they will do the same to the likes of Future, and Migos. Eminem says he has lived long enough in the industry to witness the biggest of debuts fading into nothing but a blimp in the memory. Eminem warns every artist to take care of themselves because the industry will not.
Eminem has gone through his share of criticism for the most part of his career. Even after he recovered from his drug abuse, people were not optimistic about his ability to return to music. “They keep wantin’ me to rap responsibly,” is what Eminem had to do to survive these climates. In the process, we barely see the fan-favorite persona Slim Shady.
Next, Eminem brings up a few names relating to police brutality towards racial oppression; Laquan McDonald, Trayvon Martin, Breonna Taylor, Atatiana Jefferson, Rayshard Brooks, Dominique Clayton, Eric Garner, and Rodney King.
In the final lines, Eminem seems to address the latest buzz with Snoop Dogg. In an interview in July 2020, Snoop Dogg seemed to credit Eminem’s success purely to Dr. Dre. Snoop Dogg also dropped Eminem from his top ten rappers list. Eminem seems to respond to this by saying that Eminem thought of Snoop Dog as a ‘god,’ but he realizes that he just had it in reverse; just a dog!
However, Eminem thinks that Snoop Dogg starting to talk smack about him is just another chapter of Eminem’s downfall that everyone seems to wish for.
Let us hear what you think about this song in the comments below. Check out the complete lyrics and further meaning breakdown on Genius.