Rat Race

Album: Uncomfortable (2015)
  • songfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • This song finds Mineo giving his perspective on the ego game and ultimately meaningless pursuits that so many contemporary rappers get caught up in. He explained to Billboard magazine: "When I think about the lyrics to that record, the 'Rat Race' for me is the never-ending and unsatisfying pursuit of money, success, power, sex that our culture promotes as the pinnacle of success. Honestly, I feel like I'm free from those things because I know how empty they are, and I also just have a different definition of success… Success for me is faithfulness to what I set out to do, which was to help people have meaningful relationships with themselves, with other people and with God."

    "But what's very interesting too is that I'm a very 'successful rapper.' And I've never had to call a woman out of her name, I've never had to use foul language in my records or lie about who I am or pretend to be somebody else, and I haven't had to hide talking about what I care about most and for me … I guess it just empowers me to feel like I don't have to run the rat race, I don't have to play the games that hip-hop has to play in order for them to achieve this thing that I've already seen as empty anyways."
  • The song features John Bellion crooning the hook. The singer-songwriter has credits on a number of successful hit tunes, including writing the chorus to Eminem's "The Monster" and co-penning and co-producing Jason DeRulo's "Trumpets."

    Mineo told the story of how he hooked up with Bellion on this tune on a Genius annotation: "I was talking to Rob Markman and I said, who are some of your favorite artists you have now? And he was like Logic and Jon Bellion. Then I Googled Jon Bellion and some records came up and I was like: these are crazy! I was like who is this guy?"

    "So I looked him up on Twitter. He had like 30,000 followers – just kind of starting out. I was like, phewww, just tweet him. I was like 'Yo, you're stuff's dope, if you're in NY let's hook up.' Got a message, like a second later: 'Yo, I really appreciate what you stand for in your music. I love what you do. Love to connect. Follow me.'"

    "Then we just stayed connected after that. It's like we were more bonding as brothers. He's grown in his faith. So a lot of our conversations were revolving around that. And music was kind just an afterthought. Then I was out in California working on the album, and he was living out there, working on music. And he was only 30 minutes away or so, so I called him like 'Yo I'm out here if you want to come through. Let's work on a record.'"
  • The phrase "rat race" conjures up the image of the futile efforts of a lab rat trying to escape while running around a maze or in a wheel. It is used to describe an endless, self-defeating struggle to get ahead of one's rivals, particularly in professional and commercial occupations.
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