Eminem’s “Mockingbird” Lyrics Meaning
“Mockingbird” is a very-personal song in which Eminem is addressing his daughters and in the process reveals private details of their family history as well as his current thoughts and aspirations towards them. In fact in a lot of ways, it can be argued that “Mockingbird” is one of the songs at the foundation of the current emo rap trend, since Eminem was perhaps the first major hip-hop artists to start unveiling such intimate information in his songs.
So once again, in this track Marshall is speaking directly to his daughters. He does this specifically within the context of bemoaning the effect that his separation from his wife as well as his touring lifestyle is having on them, as in his inability to see them as often as he would like to.
One of them, Hailie, (b. 1995) is Eminem’s well-known biological daughter, whom based on the history of his music would be the one individual in the world he loves the most. In fact he had been referencing her in his lyrics as early as 1999 and has consistently done so since.
Her mother is Eminem’s ex-wife Kimberly Anne Scott, who he never namedrops forthrightly in the song. But she still plays a prominent role nonetheless. In fact throughout the second verse, which is specifically addressed to Hailie, there are numerous references to “mom” that are actually shoutouts the Kim. And as is the underlying premise of “Mockingbird”, Shady points out that he and Kim were unprepared, on a number of levels, when they were tasked with taking care of Hailie “and Lainie”. And the way the song reads, the two most-influential factors contributing to that reality was the young couple’s youth and lack of income.
Alaina “Lainie” Mathers
Meanwhile we are introduced to Alaina “Lainie” Mathers (b. 1993) in the first verse. Initially he relates to her as her “uncle” but later as his daughter. This is due to the unique relationship they have in real life. You see, biologically Lainie is actually Eminem’s niece (i.e the daughter of Kim’s twin sister). And due to issues Lainie’s mom was having with drug abuse, it was Em and Kim who raised her. Eminem eventually officially adopted her in 2002. So whereas Hailie logically gets the bulk of the attention in “Mockingbird”, Slim Shady goes out of his way to make sure that Lainie knows that he considers her his daughter also.
And that brings us to the actual sentimental thesis of this song. Looking back on the struggles that he and Kim had raising the girls during their earlier years, as well as the troubled past they all ascended from, has invigorated the rapper to vow his undying dedication to his daughter. Or another, simpler way of looking at it is as due to being devoid of resources, Em felt that he could not properly care for his daughters in the past. However, now that he has blown up, he’s letting the girls know that he’s going to do everything within his power to make them happy and care for them in the manner he deems appropriate. Or as the song poetically symbolizes it, “Daddy’s going to buy (his daughters) a mockingbird”. And the titular term mockingbird, though being derived from on an old-school children’s lullaby, in this case actually represents “the world” and dad’s willingness to “do anything… to see (his daughters) smile”. And continuing within the framework of that same metaphor, Eminem also points that he is prepared to fiercely defend his young ladies.
So conclusively, this is one of the more-unique tracks in Em’s catalog. For instance, apparently due to addressing his daughter, he doesn’t resort to vulgarity as he does in his other songs. Also despite not being on the best of terms with his on-again/off-again wife at the time and staunchly dissing her in other tunes he released during the same era, on “Mockingbird” he portrays her as a committed mother and indeed the glue that held their family together when he was going through his own financial struggles. And as pointed out earlier, this is a very-sentimental song that came out at a time when hip-hop musicians especially weren’t into displaying emotional vulnerability or intimately detailing their personal lives. And all things considered, Eminem was able to pen an oath of commitment to his daughters which turned out to be a classic song in the history of rap music.
Release Date of “Mockingbird”
“Mockingbird” came out on 25 April 2005 as the fifth single from Eminem’s fifth album, “Encore”.
The song was released through the following record labels:
- Aftermath Entertainment
- Interscope Records
- Shady Records
A hit song!
“Mockingbird” went on to become one of Eminem’s greatest hits. For instance, it charted in 15 countries, including scoring a number 4 on the UK Singles Chart. In the United States, it hit number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100.
And despite not even breaking the top 10 on the Hot 100, “Mockingbird” has still went on to be certified quadruple-Platinum in the United States.
The song was also nominated for a Grammy in the Best Rap Solo Performance category and actually did win a Teen Choice Award in 2005 in the category of Choice Music: Rap Track.
The chorus of “Mockingbird” is based on a traditional American lullaby entitled “Hush Little Baby”. This lullaby dates back at least to the mid-20th century.
Writing Credits for “Mockingbird”
Eminem not only wrote “Mockingbird”, but he also co-produced the track alongside Luis Resto.
Lainie’s Mother dies over a Decade after the release of “Mockingbird”
Unfortunately Alaina Mathers’ biological mother, Dawn Scott, was never able to overcome her addiction, as she passed away at the age of 40 apparently due to a drug overdose in 2016.