Nas – EPMD 2 Ft. Eminem | Lyrics Meaning & Review
Grammy-winning rap artist Nas just announced his brand new project ‘King’s Disease 2,’ a follow-up to his Grammy-winning album ‘King’s Disease.’ Following the release of the tracklist by Nas, the hashtag #Eminem trended on Twitter for hours.
Yes, Eminem features on the new Nas album on a track titled “EPMD 2,” a follow-up to “EPMD” from Nas’s contribution to the soundtrack of ‘Judas and the Black Messiah‘ movie. The song title is an ode to the legendary hip hop group ‘EPMD’ from New York. EPMD is an acronym for ‘Erick and Parrish Making Dollars,’ referencing its members: Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith. The group parted ways in 1992 but is back together to mark a career run of over 35 years in hip hop. The equally bigger news is that EMPD is also featured in the song.
Both Nas and Eminem are hip-hop artists of the same caliber and longevity as EPMD. Nas has been active and consistent since 1989 and Eminem, raising the bar, since 1988. “EPMD 2” marks Eminem and Nas’s first collaboration in their careers.
Listen to “EPMD 2” by Nas Ft. Eminem & EPMD
Buy ‘King’s Disease II’ Album on Apple Music & Amazon
“EPMD 2” Lyrics Meaning and Song Review
Nas talks about the unfortunate situation of artists who don’t get the credit they deserve. Even worse so, only their death can seem to open up the eyes of the masses.
They don’t give you one single rose while you can smell it
Nas has had an unparalleled rap career for over two decades and has always gone under the radar of mainstream critics. He won his first Grammy in 2020, despite having a stellar career thus far.
Nas realizes that you have to plant your own gardens to pick roses for yourself. It is just how it is in this game.
The first verse is by the legendary hip-hop group EPMD. This braggadocious verse raps about how elite EPMD is in this music business, and they equate their presence in hip-hop to the second coming of God.
The singers go on to talk about some of the injustices in the system, despite having come so far.
My people can’t even get minimum wage
The lyric “EPMD, we back in business” that appears throughout the song is a reference to the ‘Back to Business’ album by EPMD from 1997.
The lyrics “give me some interest” and “Give me that land you owe me so I can roam” could refer to the ‘Forty acres and a mule‘ land proclamation bill passed on to provide 40 acres of land and a mule to African Americans freed from slavery. Obviously, this system would not have been implemented flawlessly and EPMD seems to hint that the government owes them the land promised and interest on the delay.
In the second verse by Nas, he goes on to yet another braggadocious verse about his wealth and position in the hip-hop game. He flexes on his luxury lifestyle with choppers, diamond chains, his enterprises, and his connections all over the planet. One of the best lines in the verse is “My teachers they couldn’t grade me,” telling us how Nas was never good at the books, but he excelled in his music craft.
The last part of Nas’s verse is on another level. He talks about the state of hip-hop with a reference to the late great Tupac Shakur.
Might walk through a cemetery to see where Hip Hop is buried
I said it was dead but it faked its death like Machiavelli
Machiavelli is the alter-ego of Tupac in his fifth studio album ‘The Don Killuminati’ from 1996. There are rumors that Tupac faked his own death.
Nas ends his verse with the word “spaghetti,” a word choice quite off-track with the whole rawness of the theme he has been running so far. But, this is a clever setup of the stage for Eminem who comes up next on the track. ‘Mom’s spaghetti’ is almost synonymous with Eminem now with his iconic track “Lose Yourself” which goes “His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy / There’s vomit on his sweater already: Mom’s spaghetti…”
Eminem goes last!
Eminem is not about that braggadocious flexing about his money and cars. Instead, he settled to his penmanship, as usual.
First Eminem settles into a ‘shell/ammunition’ scheme. Ammunition is the bullets in a gun and bullets are enclosed in shells. He brings in Taco Bell, the fast-food restaurant chain, which serves taco shells. Ammunition also stands for how much or how impactful are your lyrical game in hip-hop. He simply says he got more ammo like Taco Bell while all the other artists got none!
Next, Eminem settles into a ‘Christmas/Santa’ theme. He just says that all the rappers out there today are fake, singing about nothing that relates to their lives. Everybody sings about drugs, money, and women, and the saddest part is those songs sell, too.
Y’all should call yourselves Santa (Why?)
‘Cause none of y’all are real (Nah), not a single one (Like what?)
Soon after, Eminem settles into a ‘Law/jail’ scheme. Starting from the ‘appeal court’ to his woman not bailing on him and not even bailing out from jail.
Like Rudolph and his homies when they pullin’ the sleigh, yeah
It’s a lot of bucks flyin’ when I’m makin’ it rain, dear
These lyrics show, yet again, the clever wordplay of Eminem. He draws inspiration from the previous mention of the Christmas theme and Santa Claus and talks about Santa’s vehicle–the flying reindeer sleigh. A male deer is also called a buck and these bucks flying is literally what Santa’s sleigh does. ‘Bucks’ also stand for dollars, and Eminem says when he makes it rain (get money), he sees dollars flying all over the place like raining bucks.
Several lines later, Eminem pays homage to some of the hip-hop artists that passed away recently. Eminem mentions DMX (died on April 9, 2021), Stezo (died on April 29, 2020), Nipsey Hussle (died on March 31, 2019), MC Ecstasy (died on December 31, 2020), Biz Markie (July 16, 2021), and MF Doom (October 31, 2020). Just a GOAT doing GOAT things.
Eminem also brings in a little jest recalling how he texts his close friend 50 Cent. In a recent interview, 50 Cent revealed how Eminem casually texts him vulgar messages (a reference to 50’s verse from a Pop Smoke collab). Eminem also hints at how artists seem to fall dead on the streets and want to cherish his friendships while he can. This could be a reference to the death of Proof, who was Em’s best friend back then.
The end of Em’s verse is filled with praise. He says that he could only wish that one day his name will be placed among the greats of this hip-hop game such as Big Daddy Kane, Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, Dr. Dre, Kanye West, Drake, J Dilla, Jadakiss, LL Cool J, Rakim, and his fellow collaborator Nas himself. Eminem calls this line-up the ‘golden age of hip-hop.’ Just a GOAT doing GOAT things.
We believe that it is fair to say that Eminem out-rapped Nas and EPMD on this track, which is nothing new at this point.
Let us hear what you think about this song in the comments below. Check out the complete lyrics on Genius.