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.
In 2012, when this song was originally debuted, bath salt abuse was an epidemic in the US. Forbes did a massive story on the new deadly drug that would make people so violent “they would bite each other’s faces off.” Police around the country were seeing a spike in domestic violence and assault cases connected with bath salts. Including a 21-year old Louisiana man who slit his own throat in front of his family after a bad trip.
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 Jay 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 We think Hov originally made these rhymes back in 2007 — the same year he did a major deal with Coca Cola to relaunch and rebrand Cherry Coke with a new Cherry Coke can, a commercial and a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 that he also 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.”
Jay continues his bachelor word play with: “Come be my Kardashian, queen of the come up, uh To be loved, Shakespearean.” Here, JAY-Z makes a direct reference to the Eddie Murphy classic, Coming To America, where the bachelor prince travels to NYC to find a wife.
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.’
Here Nas paints a picture of himself as Adam to an un-named Eve in the garden of Eden and their fall due to “hedonism” — which is the pursuit of pleasure; sensual self-indulgence.
Could he be referencing his ex-wife Kelis and their painful, public 2010 divorce? Kelis has said on the first night she met Nas, he told her that she was gonna be his wife.
And the hedonism was real — divorce proceedings revealed allegations of infidelity and that both Nas and Kelis had separate sex tapes from outside affairs. Nas later confessed to infidelity and said he apologized multiple times to his former queen.
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
As expected, DMX finishes the track with classic mayhem and murder.
DMX says, “I’ma go where no man has ever gone, n*gga — a Star Trek reference —
When it’s on, it’s on, I’ll let you know in a f*ckin’ song” …
DMX had a song on DJ Clue’s album The Professional (1998) called “It’s On” where he says “when it’s on, it’s on” in the verses and hook.
FYI: DMX’s last album prior to EXODUS came out in 2012 – Undisputed Champ. Prior to dropping Undisputed Champ – which this verse might have been geared towards, he put out Year of the Dog… Again in 2006. Throughout the years there were plans for X to work on and put out a gospel album but it never came together.
Stay tuned for our official Decoded video coming up soon where we dig even deeper into “Bath Salts” origins and more references!