“Bagpipes from Baghdad” by Eminem

“Bagpipes from Baghdad” reads like a quintessential Eminem spaz song, which is something Shady himself even alluded to. As an exercise in displaying his impressive lyrical skills this isn’t, by far, one of Eminem’s best songs. But it has remained in the spotlight throughout the years for one prominent reason – his scathing attack on fellow music superstar Mariah Carey and by extension her then-husband Nick Cannon.

Now Mariah’s beef with Eminem actually dates back to 2002. It was during this year that they reportedly dated. And Marshall, being who he is, started dissing her in songs afterwards, which she responded to, and things escalated from there. But for the most part is was indeed Eminem who kept the issue alive.

Narrative

And thus we have “Bagpipes from Baghdad”. The rapper uses a song which is generally about his relationship with women to go on a tirade against Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon, a multi-faceted entertainer whom she married in 2008. And again, him dissing Mariah wasn’t anything new or even really unexpected. But this time around he goes as far as referring to her using a number of directly-disparaging appellations. And whereas any man would be offended by another referring to his wife in such a manner, Eminem takes things a step further by also dragging Cannon personally, into the fray. And in that regard he refers to Nick as a “sucker”. In doing so, he insinuates that Nick was tricked and seduced into marriage by the more cunning Carey. 

And whereas Em does call Cannon and Mariah a number of offensive names, in the second verse for the most part from that point onwards the song really isn’t about them at all. Rather it is the first verse which is honed on the rapper making fun of Mariah, specifically by sarcastically (i.e. jokingly) stating that he wants to get back with her.

But once Eminem gets past that point (attacking Carey and Cannon), the rest of the song is pretty much him freestyling, referencing the likes of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer (1960-1994) in the process. And this is in addition to the vocalist rapping about having bedroom fun with conjoined twins, ‘luring a little boy’ with chocolate-chip cookies and generally making the types of off-the-wall comments which are his claim to fame. Moreover as stated earlier, there is a special emphasis on his romantic relationships with women, if one were forced to derive a definitive theme from “Bagpipes from Baghdad”.

What’s the meaning of “Bagpipes from Baghdad”?

Concerning the track’s title, what it most likely alludes to is the fact that the instrumental to this song has a Middle Eastern flavor to it.

Lyrics of “Bagpipes from Baghdad”

Facts about “Bagpipes from Baghdad”

This track was released on 15 May 2009 as part of Eminem’s sixth album, “Relapse”. And the labels behind it are Aftermath Records (run by Dr. Dre), Shady Records (run by Eminem) and Interscope Records.

“Bagpipes from Baghdad” was produced by Trevor Lawrence Jr. and Eminem’s label boss, Dr. Dre.

The two of them also helped Eminem write the song, with additional input from Mark Batson, Sean Cruse, Mike Elizondo and Dawaun Parker.

This track features an instrument referred to as a pungi, which some maybe familiar with as the preferred pipe of snake charmers from India.

Nick Cannon did respond publicly to being called out by Eminem. And in addition to referring to this song as being “mediocre”, the thesis of his argument was that Slim Shady is a racist, which is why he is fond of attacking Mariah Carey, who is half-Black.

And while himself responding to Nick’s accusations, Eminem went on to say that his actual intent on “Bagpipes from Baghdad” was to “wish them [Cannon and Carey] the best”, which he actually does in the second verse, albeit Slim Shady style while simultaneously damning them.

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