Eminem has always had his fair share of struggles with different women in his early life–from an addict mom, an ex-wife, and ex-girlfriends. The only women with who he hasn’t had a problem, ever, were his daughters. “Superman” is about the former kind of women, who almost ruined his life and drove him to insanity.
In the age of chivalry, a ‘superman’ was the white knight women would hope and pray would come along and sweep them off their feet. In this song, Eminem says he does not want to do anything with these women who bring him down. He will not be anybody’s superman, saving the day.
In his biography ‘The Way I Am,’ Eminem explained the inspiration behind the song;
With “Superman”, all I ever hear people talk about is Mariah Carey. Did she inspire it? Yes, she kind of did. I don’t want to get into tabloid gossip, but if you read between the lines, and you listen to it, you’ll know what I’m talking about. I recorded it toward the end of The Eminem Show. I wanted to do it with an LL Cool J kind of a whisper, like in his song “I Need Love”. That was the thing for a while with the good old-school love songs, to be gentle and playful with your voice. In “Superman”, the girl thinks I’m serenading her, but I’m really telling her I’m sick of her. I’d just gotten divorced from Kim, and I wasn’t going down the same road I’d already been on. This was my way of saying, I’m not going to make a love song.
Eminem and Mariah Carey had a brief relationship for six months back in 2001. Mariah Carey, however, denied the relationship, which spawned a beef between the two artists that resulted in several diss tracks such as “Clown” and “Obsessed” from Mariah Carey and “Bagpipes from Baghdad” and “The Warning” by Eminem.
“Superman” is the third single from Eminem’s infamous fourth studio album ‘The Eminem Show.’ The song was released as a single on January 27, 2003. The song peaked at #15 on Billboard Hot 100 Chart and has sold over a million copies in the United States.
“Superman” features vocals by R&B singer Dina Rae. The singer claimed that these vocals were supposed to be that of Mariah Carey’s before she was enlisted on the track.
The music video features a cameo by adult movie actress Gina Lynn. The uncensored/explicit version of the video contains nudity.
Listen to “Superman” by Eminem (NSFW)
Eminem “Superman” Lyrics Meaning and Song Review
Let’s get to the lyrics.
The start of the song is a complete hoax of what is to come. Eminem and this girl are seemingly getting into the mood, whispering sweet nothings into each other’s ears.
I’m here to save you, girl, come be in Shady’s world (Ooh-ooh, ooh)
But, soon enough, Slim Shady reveals his true intentions–that he cannot stand her, the sight of her, and doesn’t want anything to do with her.
And the war begins.
In the first verse of the song, among other things, the focus is on Eminem’s ex-wife, Kim Mathers.
I’m single now: got no ring on this finger now
I’d never let another chick bring me down
Ever since I broke up with what’s-her-face
I’m a different man, kiss my a*s
Eminem and his ex-wife Kim have had their ups and downs ever since they started dating when they were teenagers. They have both flung cheating claims at each other, and Kim got addicted to drugs when Eminem was peaking in his rap career. Despite the kids, the two could not make it work and eventually separated. Eminem has mentioned Kim in many songs throughout his discography, most notoriously on “Kim.” However, towards the latter part of his career, Eminem seemed to have taken a more neutral stance against his ex-wife, singing “I still love your mother, that’ll never change / Think about her every day, we just could never get it together” on the song “Going Through Changes” from ‘Recovery’ album (2010).
However, in “Superman,” Eminem is vicious. He has no sympathy or remorse toward his ex-wife. He asks her to go her own way without weighing him down and binging on his money.
What, you tryin’ to be my new wife?
What, you Mariah? Fly through twice
Eminem, being one of the biggest artists at the time, would have had no short of women trying to enter into his life for all the wrong reasons. This song is about them. He has a very skeptical eye toward any woman getting too close to him. A subtle jab at Mariah Carey, too. And Eminem says, these women will have to try harder than just flying by him once.
In these lyrics, Eminem realizes that these shallow women just come and go and it would be his fault to get attached to any of them. Eminem mocks that there might be a day that he will settle down with a woman and grow together, but returning from a fresh divorce, that day is not coming any time soon.
‘Cause I can’t be your Superman, can’t be your Superman
Eminem is straightforward and blunt as he has always been. Simply, he says that he will not be anyone’s savior.
Eminem does not attempt to be an angel in this conversation. He is not denouncing these women who are after him for all the wrong reasons. He confesses that he loves them because they are easy. But he does mind when these women try to overrun him with requests and demands. This is where Eminem draws the line. If they just hooked up, they should be able to look the other way and move on. Eminem seemed to be drained from relationships and commitments.
In the third verse, Eminem narrates how a typical conversation with these women goes. Usually, they will pretend to downplay Eminem’s celebrity status because you don’t want to look too desperate. Also, this is to make it look as if they are not after Eminem’s money and fame. Then these women will just say anything to agree with Eminem to win him over. A tattoo that says “rot in pieces” suddenly seems philosophical to these women.
Eminem has no time or patience for these games. Slim Shady would not mind getting physical to get these leeches off him. And he knows he will get sued for that. But he’d rather save his sanity than money. So, these women only bring a lose-lose relationship to his life regardless of how it goes.
Eminem has always spoken his mind regardless of the consequences–especially the young Eminem. This song is a prime example of that and one that landed him hot waters with feminists. But the truth of the matter is, Eminem is only talking about the gold-diggers and leeches whose only goal is to feed off of others. Regardless of the sexes, this should be a recurring theme in Hollywood and the music industry.
Let us hear what you think about this song in the comments below. Check out the complete lyrics on Genius.