“Pray for Him” by Nick Cannon (ft. The Black Squad)
In December 2019, Nick Cannon and his homeys dropped a track entitled “The Invitation” which took numerous shots at Eminem. The history of the beef between Nick Cannon and Eminem dates back some years, which we already elaborated on in our look at “The Invitation”. Therefore we won’t revisit the details of that feud yet again. Rather the most-important thing to note is that just a day after dropping “The Invitation”, Cannon and co. produced yet another diss track, this time entitled “Pray for Him”.
In fact the intro acknowledges the reality that Eminem has yet to retaliate for the disses levied against him in “The Invitation”. Indeed in the current day and age, rappers delaying an entire 24 hours to drop a counter-diss track is virtually a lifetime. In fact in his verse, Black Squad member Hitman Holla even states his belief that Em “ain’t going to clap back”, as in retaliate.
The first verse itself is held down by Charlie Clips. Amongst the ideas presented is once again bringing up the subject of race (as was also done in “The Invitation”). And the overall insinuation is that Eminem, a White rapper, made a big mistake by actually sparking beef with his rambunctious Black counterparts. Then Clips goes on to imply – once again as done in the prior track – that he and the boys actually want to shoot Eminem. And in that regard they namedrop “Hailie”, who we all know as Slim Shady’s daughter from the numerous times he (Eminem) has referenced her. And in that regard what Charlie is saying is that once the bullets start flying Hailie, as well as other “kids and women”, need to get out of the way.
Meanwhile as alluded to earlier, Hitman Holla’s verse is based on the premise of Eminem being some sort of coward. In other words he’s down to get into beef with the likes of “P!nk”, “Britney Spears” or “NSYNC”. But when it’s with someone who is a little more serious, like say Ja Rule, Shady then resorts to law enforcement to protect him. And the overall idea being presented is that Em doesn’t have the heart to actually go at it with The Black Squad. That is Hitman’s main point, with their being an underlying subtheme of the rapper touting his own superiority as an artist so to speak.
Then comes Conceited, who alludes to Eminem’s history as a drug addict – yet another topic which was also explored in “The Invitation”. But most notably he invites Slim Shady to “Wild n’ Out”. Wild n’ Out is the hip-hop based sketch-comedy show, hosted by Nick Cannon, that actually put The Black Squad on the map. And basically what Conceited is trying to do is tell Eminem that he should come on the show and participate in a head-to-head rap battle with Nick Cannon for the entire world to see.
At the conclusion of Prince Eazy’s passage he delivers sort of a cheap shot by referencing Eminem’s ‘dirty baby mama’ (with a similar tactic also being employed in the prior diss track). But he also drops what is perhaps the most-notable line of this whole song when he states that it would have been better if Eminem had died instead of Juice WRLD, a popular rapper who surprisingly passed away just a couple of days before this track was released.
Then finally Nick Cannon himself closes “Pray for Him” out. He starts by basically stating that it is Eminem who sparked the beef, which all things considered appears to be true. Then he drops a rap which, according to reports, was inspired by the classic Jay-Z track “Renegade”, which Eminem himself was featured on back in 2001. In fact the instrumental used on “Pray for Him” was actually derived from “Renegade”, which is intended to be an insult against Marshall Mathers in and of itself. In fact during the outro of the track Nick states that Eminem “used to be a renegade”, which basically means that whereas he was hardcore before he isn’t anymore.
And amongst the disses he directly throws at Shady are claiming that he’s a Trump supporter (who ‘gets facelifts’) as well as possibly being a ‘White devil’ or even a “White supremacist”. Indeed in this feud when Eminem’s race is referenced, it’s usually along the lines of insinuating that it somehow contributes to him having an unfavorable personality. And Nick cites the recently-concluded beef Eminem had with another rapper, Machine Gun Kelly. And in that regard what Cannon is basically saying is that he’s coming harder than MGK.
Meanwhile the title of the song points to the idea of Eminem being in need of some type of help. The term “pray for him” is only mentioned twice in the track, and it is not clear exactly what type of assistance the crew feels that he is in need of. But in both cases it seems to be something along the lines of ‘praying for’ Eminem’s safety, as in the rapper needing protection, even if in the form of emotional support, from Nick Cannon and The Black Squad.
Now with all of that being noted it should also be indicated that The Black Squad – and Nick Cannon himself – are known more as comedy than say gangsta rappers. So with that in mind, the lyrics of this song perhaps aren’t meant to be taken as seriously as they would appear. Indeed airing someone’s dirty laundry or calling out their family members is standard fare in hip-hop feuds these days. Or looked at from a different perspective, the most likely reason this track was released so soon after “The Invitation” is to capitalize on the beef between Nick Cannon and Eminem, which is trending at the time. In fact other artists have already started jumping on the bandwagon. So it’s possible that this war of words will continue – and perhaps even proliferate – into the foreseeable future.
“Pray for Me” was written by the artists starring therein – Nick Cannon, Conceited, Charlie Clips, Conceited and Hitman Holla. The latter three rappers also collaborated with Nick on “The Invitation”, which was released just a day prior.
“Pray for Him” itself came out on 10 December 2019. And in addition to Jay-Z’s “Renegade” it also samples a 1999 Eminem track entitled “Brain Damage”.