Eminem blew fans away at the BET Hip Hop awards on Tuesday with a blistering cypher about Donald Trump, and on Wednesday night, it inspired Seth Meyers to write a few lines of his own. Like Eminem, Meyers draws a line in the sand, asking his fans to choose between him and one Donald Trump, and explains the harsh-but-fair consequences of choosing Trump: the loss of Eminem or Seth Meyers’ respect, respectively. But while Eminem kept things relatively straightforward, Meyers’ verse is so lyrically, metrically, and sonically complicated that it pushes hip-hop—and indeed, the English language itself—into bold new territory.
With any artistic project as ambitious as Meyers’ verse, however, comes the danger of leaving some fans behind. To help avoid that, we’ve transcribed the complete lyrics below, then annotated them so you can unpack every obscure reference, hidden diss, and ingenious-dot-com rhyme. Enjoy—but don’t let all your newfound knowledge get in the way of the music!
My name is Seth1 and I’m here2 to say3,
If you like Trump4, then go away! 5
1 Seth Meyers’ name is not, as he claims here, “Seth,” but instead “Seth Adam Meyers.” But don’t drown in the sea of ambiguity Meyers’ unreliable narrator creates! “Seth” is not some sort of rapping persona; instead, Meyers refers to himself by first name only as a way to establish intimacy with the listener, who, for the purposes of this song, is on a “first-name” basis with Seth Adam Meyers.
2 Meyers is the host of Late Night With Seth Meyers, a satirical program that airs on the NBC (National Broadcasting Company) television network on weeknights at 10 p.m. Eastern. By saying, “I’m here,” he is specifically referring to the desk he is sitting behind; he is, indeed, “there.” But in a larger sense, he is also announcing that he is “here” on our television screens and computer monitors, to enlighten and entertain us.
3 Despite the seeming incongruity, Meyers is correct to use “say” here instead of “sing” or “rap.” “Rapping,” a musical style that was popularized with the 1979 release of the Sugarhill Gang’s landmark single, “Rapper’s Delight,” is characterized by words spoken in rhythm—as Meyers does here—rather than traditional melodic singing. Metaphorically, however, “say” can refer to any method whereby a performer delivers his message—even singing!
4 This is probably a reference to Donald J. Trump, a real estate developer and reality television star who ran for president of the United States as the nominee of the Republican Party in 2016. “Like”-ing Trump, then, in this context, may refer to voting for him or supporting his right-wing political agenda, but is unlikely to be a reference to romantic love.
5 Here, Meyers directly addresses anyone listening who also likes Trump. “Go away!” he exhorts them, although it’s unclear where he’d like them to go. Since Meyers is not in the same room with his listeners—except for those in his studio audience—it may be assumed that this is not a literal command, but rather an expression of his desire that fans of Trump no longer listen to his music or watch his television programs. To Trump fans in Meyers’ studio audience, if there were any, this lyric had a simper meaning: leave the room. Or close the browser tab, whatever.