The long-awaited release of late rap icon DMX's JAY-Z and Nas-featured "Bath Salts" collaboration has arrived and it's worthy of much more than just one listen. From getting three of the biggest New York rap kings on one song speaking their truths to speculation about its actual origins - there's plenty to dissect in this standout EXODUS posthumous release.
We’ve come up with 7 lines and references you might have missed with ample context to start up the debates all Memorial Day Weekend.
- The ‘Bath Salts’ Title’s Actual Meaning
The title of the song “Bath Salts” alludes to the deadly, psychoactive “dust” that when taken would cause hallucinations and violent behavior. Basically, Nas warns you’re gonna be a Zombie if you hit this.
2. JAY-Z’s ‘Bath Salts’ Origins + Coca-Cola Clues
JAY-Z’s lyrics are off the rack and seem dated, appearing to be written by him as far back as 2007. He opens with “Haute is the living, Coca Cola is the sponsor.” Here, Young Hov references his luxury lifestyle and the magazine, Haute Living, that ”offers its high net worth audience a one-stop destination for all things pertaining to their elite lifestyles.”
JAY is always relevant and timely in his lyrics, typically writing about his current life in his current rhymes. We think Hov originally made these rhymes back in 2007 — the same year he did a major deal with Coca Cola to relaunch and rebrand Cherry Coke with a new Cherry Coke can, a commercial and a national marketing campaign.
3. Jigga’s Bars Came Before Marrying Beyoncé
Other clues the Hov verses are dated around 2007 is he makes references to the single life and chasing women — pre-wifing Beyonce. Here’s the lyrics of Jay talking like a bachelor: “I think I might need a harem, I’m way too much I just share em.”
Reminder – JAY-Z and his wife Beyoncé didn’t marry until April 2008 — after the wedding there were no more rhymes about chasing women.
4. Young Hov Salutes A DC Comics Icon
JAY also notably mentions, “Be my Halle Berry all you need is a cat suit,” – referring to actress Halle Berry‘s 2004 movie role as Catwoman. It’s clear JAY is a DC comics head. His 9th album, Kingdom Come is named after a 4 part mini series published by DC Comics.
5. Nas Takes It Way Back In The Day
Nas takes us back to the 80s crack era and pays homage to a hip-hop legend when he references: “My instincts guide me through this Kurtis Blow culture.” Kurtis Blow’s song, The Message, described the horrors of life in “the jungle” of the Bronx and uses the same sample as Nas would use on his future hit single, ‘If I Ruled The World.’
6. Forgot About P.O.P.E.Y.E
“I’d still be this fly if I worked at Popeye’s — That’s a whole lotta spinach, whole game full of gimmicks.” Nas goes with the reference to Popeye — the cartoon hero, not the chicken joint — and his line about spinach can be taken two ways: either a bunch of money ( spinach being green) and what the cartoon character Popeye used to fuel up for battle. Or Spinach could be looked at as ‘nonsense’ since the next bar refers to “gimmicks.” He takes things even further by name-dropping vlogger Akademiks who gained popularity for posting gimmicky content like celebrity gossip and drama.
7. Vintage DMX + Godfather Similarities
As expected, DMX finishes the track with classic mayhem and murder.
“I’m holding up the wall, you got more than enough holes in you to fall
You’re just wasting a n*gga’s time, come on, man
I got sh*t to do like hit your crew
Might hit your crib, what that b*tch” gon’ do?”
The above DMX verse appears to have direct connections to classic mafia film The Godfather. It’s mafioso talk and sounds just like Francis Ford Coppola’s classic 1972 classic where character Sonny gets taken out with endless gunfire.
As he approaches a toll plaza, a number of rival gang members emerge from the toll booths and car ahead of Sonny’s with submachine guns and viciously gun him down. The car is sprayed with bullets and though he takes several shots before he exits the car, Sonny tries to escape, only to be shot further – matching perfectly with DMX’s bloody lines and gunfire imagery.
It’s also worth noting X is featured on actor Forest Whitaker‘s Godfather of Harlem EPIX series soundtrack.
Stay tuned for our official Decoded video coming up soon where we dig even deeper into “Bath Salts” origins and more references!