Nas – EPMD 2 Ft. Eminem | Lyrics Meaning & Review

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Grammy-winning rapper Nas has just announced his brand new project “King’s Disease 2”, a sequel to his Grammy-winning album “King’s Disease”. Following Nas’ release of the tracklist, the #Eminem hashtag trended on Twitter for hours.

Yes, Eminem is featured on Nas’ new album on a track titled “EPMD 2,” a sequel to “EPMD” from Nas’ contribution to the soundtrack to the movie “Judas and the Black Messiah.” The title of the song is an ode to the legendary hip hop group ‘EPMD’ from New York. EPMD stands for “Erick and Parrish Making Dollars”, referring to its members: Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith. The group broke up in 1992 but returned to mark a career spanning over 35 years in hip hop. The equally important news is that the EMPD is also featured in the song.

Nas and Eminem are both 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’ first collaboration in their careers.

Listen to “EPMD 2” by Nas Ft. Eminem & EPMD

Buy the album ‘King’s Disease II’ on Apple Music and Amazon


“EPMD 2” Lyrics Meaning and Song Review

Introduction

Nas talks about the unfortunate situation of artists who don’t get the credit they deserve. Worse still, only their deaths can seem to open the eyes of the masses.

They don’t give you a single rose as long as you can smell it

Nas had an unparalleled rap career spanning over two decades and always flew under the radar of mainstream critics. He won his first Grammy in 2020, despite having a stellar career so far.

Nas realizes that you have to plant your own gardens to pick roses for yourself. That’s how it is in this game.

Verse 1

The first verse is by legendary hip-hop group EPMD. This boastful verse tells how elite the EPMD are in this music industry, and they equate their presence in hip-hop with the second coming of God.

The singers continue to speak out about some of the injustices of the system, despite how far they’ve come.

My people can’t even make minimum wage

The lyrics “EPMD, we back in business” that appear throughout the song refer to EPMD’s 1997 album “Back to Business”.

The lyrics “give me a little 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 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 the EPMD seems to imply that the government owes them the promised lands and default interest.

Verse 2

In Nas’ second verse, he cuts to another boastful verse about his wealth and standing in the hip-hop game. He flexes on his luxury lifestyle with choppers, diamond chains, his businesses and 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 books, but he excelled at his craft as a musician.

The last part of Nas’ 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 graveyard to see where Hip Hop is buried
I said he was dead but he faked his death like Machiavelli

Machiavelli is Tupac’s alter-ego 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 rather offbeat choice of words with all the rawness of the theme he has performed so far. But, it’s a clever stage setup for Eminem that comes next on the runway. “Mom’s Spaghetti” is almost synonymous with Eminem now with his signature track “Lose Yourself” going “His palms are sweaty, his knees weak, his arms are heavy / There’s already vomit on his sweater: mom’s spaghetti…”

Verse 3

Eminem goes last!

Eminem isn’t about that bragging about his money and his cars. Instead, he stuck to his calligraphy, as usual.

Eminem first settled into a “shells/ammunition” scheme. Ammunition is the bullets in a gun and the bullets are enclosed in shells. He brings in Taco Bell, the fast food chain, which serves tacos. Ammunition also represents the scale or impact of your lyrical playing in hip-hop. He just says he has more ammo like Taco Bell while all the other artists don’t!

Next, Eminem settles into a “Christmas/Santa Claus” theme. He’s just saying that all the rappers today are fake, not singing anything that relates to their life. Everyone sings about drugs, money and women, and the sad thing is that these songs also sell.

Y’all should be called Santa (Why?)
‘Cause none of you real (No), not one (Like what?)

Soon after, Eminem settled into a “law/jail” regime. From ‘court of appeal’ until his wife didn’t bail him out and even get out of jail.

Like Rudolph and his homies when they pull the sled, yeah
It’s a lot of money flying when I make it rain, dear

These lyrics show, yet again, Eminem’s clever wordplay. It builds on the previous mention of the theme of Christmas and Santa Claus and is about Santa’s vehicle – the flying reindeer sleigh. A buck deer is also called a buck and those flying bucks are literally what Santa’s sleigh does. “Bucks” also means dollars, and Eminem says that when he makes it rain (get money), he sees dollars flying everywhere like it’s raining dollars.

A few lines later, Eminem pays tribute to some of the late hip-hop artists. Eminem mentions DMX (died April 9, 2021), Stezo (died April 29, 2020), Nipsey Hussle (died March 31, 2019), MC Ecstasy (died December 31, 2020), Biz Markie (died July 16, 2021) and MF Doom (October 31, 2020). Just a GOAT doing GOAT things.

Eminem also brings a little joke recalling how he texts his close friend 50 Cent. In a recent interview, 50 Cent revealed how Eminem sends vulgar messages to him (a reference to the 50s verses of a Pop Smoke collaboration). Eminem also alludes to how artists seem to drop 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 at the time.

The end of Em’s verse is filled with praise. He says he could only wish that one day his name would 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 colleague Nas himself. Eminem calls this line-up “the golden age of hip-hop”. Just a GOAT doing GOAT things.

We think it’s fair to say that Eminem has passed Nas and EPMD on this track, which is nothing new at this point.

Let us hear what you think of this song in the comments below. Check out the full lyrics on Genius.

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