“Drug Ballad” by Eminem

“Drug Ballad” serves as Eminem’s “love song” directed towards the true lady in his life, that being drugs. Simply put, it serves as an ode to the intoxicants which play such an all-important role in his normal lifestyle. Or stated differently, the rapper is an admitted drug addict. However, this is Slim Shady we’re talking about, so he is unapologetic about the whole ordeal. 

Thus on one on hand it can be said that he’s lamenting the ‘hold’ drugs have on him. But more to the point is his enjoyment and even to some extent espousement of these substances, despite the rapper being well aware of the negative consequences involved.

So practically from the onset we have him giving a shoutout to a couple of his favorite brands, Hennessy and Bacardi Black.  And he raps about getting so drunk on these liquors that one gets sick and starts hallucinating. 

Under his narrative, getting wasted like this also gives users the license to let loose and do something dangerously stupid.  And he relays all these experiences as someone who basically enjoys engaging in such activities.

II

The second verse centers on a story where he and a lady who is equally high on an intoxicant hook up for the night. In their drug-induced state, the two of them are convinced that they are in love with each other. But by the time Slim Shady wakes up the next morning sober, he promptly evacuates the scene before he ends up being “stuck” in a relationship with her. 

He then goes on to highlight some of the perceived physical negative effects of taking said intoxicant. But conclusively, him being an addict, he’s still going to “try to find some more”.

III

Then in the third verse the rapper goes about more or less rationalizing his reckless behavior. And what he basically says is that young people like himself should experiment with drugs and engage in other potentially-destructive acts, like promiscuous sex, while the time is ripe. 

Then he predicts that by the time he’s middle-aged he’ll be a grandfather who still enjoys hitting the bottle, babysitting his grandkids while his own daughter, Hailie, is “out getting smashed”.

And before listeners go off and read too literally into what is being said or label Eminem, as others have, as an intentionally bad influence, let it be known that the lyrics also reek of sarcasm and humor. It’s almost as if the vocalist is daring the listener to be as self-destructive as he is, considering that he harps on the dangerous effects of the substances he takes just as much as the pleasure he and others derive from them. 

And that, once again, brings us to the thesis sentiment of the tune, which is the rapper once again admitting to the world that he’s hooked on intoxicants.

Lyrics of "Drug Ballad"

Facts about “Drug Ballad”

The female vocalist on this song is one Dina Rae. She was a regular collaborator of Eminem and the entire D12 crew back around the turn of the century.

Eminem is both a writer and producer of “Drug Ballad”, as did the Bass Brothers. These two siblings, Jeff and Mark Bass, are, like Slim Shady, from Detroit. And accordingly they have “produced more individual tracks for Eminem than Dr. Dre”. 

Also interesting to note is that before hooking up with Marshall Mathers they had also worked with funk legend George Clinton.

This track originates from “The Marshall Mathers LP”, Eminem’s third-studio album. It is the 13th track on its playlist. And once again in reference to those days, Dina Rae traditionally served as a feature on the 13th track on Eminem and co.’s playlists. 

Other 13th tracks she has participated on include “C*m on Everybody” (The Slim Shady LP, 1999), “Superman” (The Eminem Show, 2002) and “Bi**h” (D12 World, 2004).

Summary

Throughout “Drug Ballad”, Em in a humorous and very sarcastic celebrates a very weird lifestyle. And this said lifestyle is one which involves a heavy dependency on unhealthy intoxicants.

Did Em release “Drug Ballad” as a single?

No. His iconic “The Marshall Mathers LP” birthed the following singles:

Despite the fact that “Drug Ballad” wasn’t a single, it still went on to enjoy the popularity of a single. Actually it is one of Em’s most well-known songs. This track, along several others, played a role in making Em’ “The Marshall Mathers LP” one of the most successful rap albums of all time. Actually it sold almost 2 million copies in just the first week of it being released.

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