“The Invitation” by Nick Cannon
“The Invitation” is, succinctly put, a diss track. Nick Cannon has recruited his homeys to launch an attack specifically against superstar rapper Eminem. And he has not done so unsolicited, as those who are familiar with Eminem know that he has a tendency to more or less randomly attack other celebrities, including Nick, indeed in front of the entire world.
The true origins of Cannon’s beef with Eminem dates all the way back to 2002. This was long before Cannon even entered the picture to be honest. This was the year that Marshall Mathers reportedly briefly dated popular songstress Mariah Carey. They both subsequently went on to get romantically involved with other individuals. In fact Mariah married media personality Nick Cannon in 2008. The pair remained legally married for almost 10 years.
The two of them indeed being wed prompted Eminem to dis them both in 2009. This was on a track called “Bagpipes from Baghdad”. In fact on this song he called Nick a number of offensive names, including a “punk” on top of dissing the damn out of his wife. Slim Shady also insinuated in this song that it was Nick who actually started the beef, which may be true. That being said, there doesn’t seem to be any evidence to support such.
Nick Cannon and Mariah Carey Respond
Accordingly Nick and Mariah have had a back-and-forth with Eminem throughout the years. Nick later let it be known that he actually wanted to physical fight Shady. However, by September of 2019 it seems that he was ready to bury the hatchet. Indeed he went on to proclaim that Eminem is one of his favorite rappers. But what really cheesed him off, understandably, was the fact that Marshall had dissed his wife. Moreover he stated that Eminem actually apologized to him, though he didn’t do so in the public spotlight.
Well obviously the feeling of beef being dead wasn’t mutual. For shortly thereafter, in early December 2019, Eminem was featured on Fat Joe’s song “Lord Above”. And he used the occasion to once again bring it to Mariah and by extension, Nick Cannon. This is of course after they have already divorced. But Shady states that at one point Mariah Carey had Nick Cannon so addicted to the sensual aspect of their relationship that he couldn’t objectively judge other facets of it. Moreover he mocked Nick for stating that he wanted to physically fight him.
So that finally brings us to “The Invitation”, Nick’s prompt response to “Lord Above”. The intro is recited by none other than Suge Knight. Suge is one of the most-infamous real-life gangsters in American music history – indeed even recording his vocals from prison – who states that he’s “family” with Nick. Therefore he is on Cannon’s side in this matter. And the titular ‘invite’ is for Eminem ‘to prove to everybody else what he’s about’. Or stated differently, they want Shady to demonstrate that his machismo extends beyond just words. In fact Suge goes on to call ‘Eminem a *****’.
Meanwhile the chorus itself actually has nothing to do with this feud. Rather the addressee seems to be a female, i.e. a romantic interest, whom the vocalist is trying to impress with his cashflow.
Then Nick Cannon begins the first verse by first pointing out that he and Fat Joe are indeed homeys. However, Eminem is another matter altogether. Next he insinuates Eminem has an issue with drugs, which Shady himself had let be publicly known numerous times in the past. But then Nick really launches a low blow, if you will, by mentioning that one of Eminem’s daughters isn’t biologically his. This also isn’t exactly a secret, but the context in which Cannon presents the scenario is definitely intended to have an emotional effect on the rapper.
But the one dis that is really causing headlines is when Nick alleges that there’s actually is/was a video in existence of Eminem performing a sensual act on another man, and that Eminem had to bribe his chauffeur not to release such to the masses. In fact this particular allegation is so scathing that Marshall was compelled to personally respond, albeit somewhat comically, to it.
And afterwards is when “Invitation” itself enters the realm of what some fans deem comical in terms of the lack of sophistication of its lyrics. Everyone knows that Nick Cannon’s strong suit isn’t necessarily his musical talents, so he gets somewhat of a pass. But the most-memorable line Hitman Holla, who is a straight-up battle rapper, drops in his verse is him stating ‘Eminem is the perfect name, because this ***** is a nut’. In other words, he constructed a metaphor between M&M candies, which often have peanuts inside, with Eminem himself being “a nut”, i.e. having mental issues. It’s actually kind of brilliant if it weren’t so simplistically executed.
And another of the featured rappers, Charlie Clips, who is also renowned as a battle rapper, goes on to make yet another candy-related analogy. But he does so amidst basically threatening to shoot Eminem. So as alluded to in the intro, there is definitely a more-ominous, potentially-physically harmful element to this song.
Then the last featured artist, Prince Eazy, takes a personal approach by saying that he slept with and basically abused Eminem’s “baby mama”. He also brings the factor of race into the equation by insinuating that Slim Shady is a culture vulture, i.e. an individual who is not Black yet utilizes these people’s lifestyle for his own monetary gain. Indeed he later calls Em out for being a “White boy trying to act”. He tells Em that despite all his efforts, he will never actually live up to the ideals of African-American culture.
Suge Knight steps in again
The track finally concludes once again with a spoken-word segment by Suge Knight. He goes on a lengthy tirade which serves the primary purpose of further lambasting Eminem while in the background extolling Nick Cannon. And basically what he is saying to Eminem is that he should stop ‘talking ****’. He warns Eminem to stop boasting and dissing people – and then ‘hiding’ when said individuals come to confront him.
But all of that being said, the aspect of this song that seems to have caught some fans attention the most is once again certain elementary-school level lyrics. Indeed by this point in time hip-hop fandom is well used to artists exposing each other’s dirty laundry, calling out family members and even making death threats. So what they are really harping on is what appear to be a rushed, lackluster effort by Nick Cannon to counteract “Lord Above”. Or stated differently, whereas Nick has clearly proven he can get down-and-dirty with Eminem, there is definitely a disparity in lyrical talent between the two artists.
Quick Facts about “The Invitation”
In addition to Cannon alleging that Eminem was caught on tape having a sensual affair with another man, he also alleged something even more interesting. According to him, when Eminem’s lawyers got a wind of such they tried to get him to edit the line out.
The lyrical composition of this song has been credited to Nick Cannon and Chrishan, a songwriter from Ohio.
And the producers of the track are Hitmaka and Go Grizzly.
Ncredible Entertainment, a label founded by Nick Cannon, issued “The Invitation” on 9 December 2019. This is just three days after the song which prompted it, Fat Joe’s “Lord Above”, was released.
“Initiation” marks the first time Nick Cannon has collaborated with Prince Eazy or Suge Knight. However, he has teamed up with Hitman Holla and Charlie Clips in the past as part of a rap group called The Black Squad.