One of the co-writers, Bebe Rexha, spoke to Mike Veerman of the Mike on Much
podcast about the process of creating this song and her desire to sing the hook of it herself. "It was after I got dropped from my first record deal," she said. "I was like, 'Ahh, it's over. I'm never going to get a chance again.' In the music business, if you're usually signed and dropped, you've been touched already so you're not new and exciting.
So I went in and I had a quote that I found off the internet that made me feel really good because I was kind of fighting my depression and my anxiety. It got to me. I couldn't understand it. I found a quote that said, 'We stop looking for the monsters under our beds when we realize they're inside of us.' So that really spoke to me. I was like, Maybe I'm the one that's stopping myself? Maybe I just need to accept who I am and what I'm going through and accept the emotions and the pain instead of running away from the anxiety and the depression. It was very, very bad and I have no idea what it was so I was just trying to understand these feelings.
I went to the studio with my friends and I told Jon Bellion, he's an incredible writer and artist. I said, 'Jon, there's this quote that I really love and I want to make it like, 'This is who I am,' type of record.' He came up with the melody [sings melody of opening line of chorus], I was like, 'Oh my god, that's genius.' He put the [singing], 'I'm friends with the monster that's under my bed,' and then we started going back-and-forth with rhymes and then it just came together. And then they handed me the mic and I did the [sings yodels], that little yodel part that's my signature thing and then we finished the song. An A&R had heard it and sent it to Eminem and then Lupe Fiasco's people wanted it.
It was tough at the time because I really wanted to be featured on the song so bad just because I felt like it was the first song that I have ever been a part of or I've written that felt so right. I just knew it was something about the energy in the song. When I walked back to the train, because I would go all the way up to Harlem at 125th street, and that's very far from where my parents live. It's about an hour and 45 minute to two hour commute. It's a train to another train to a train to a ferry to a train and then walk to my parents' house. That whole commute, I felt like I was walking on clouds. I knew I had something. I felt so high. I felt so good.
I started feeling really scared and insecure because the second Eminem wanted it and they wanted the vocals, I was like, 'No, no, no, no! They can't. I don't want them to have my vocals unless they okay that I'm on this song,' just because I knew the [yodels] was such an interesting thing. Unless they get Florence and the Machine or somebody who really sings in that register, I don't want to give my vocals away because I don't want them to be used as background vocals, kind of what happens with Sia a lot. But at one point I got kind of bullied, not by Eminem, but by somebody on the team. They were like, 'If you don't give this to us, we'll blackmail you.' They told my manager that. Isn't that crazy? So I had no choice because here I am, a new artist, no hit, nothing. There are a lot of rules. You've got to give your publishing away to some of the artists even though they haven't written anything. You've got to kind of get f-ed up."
She continued to express her disappointment on not being featured on this track. "In the beginning, they asked for my vocals," she said. "They were like, 'Well, because we might want to keep you on it.' I was like, 'Oh my god, that would be so cool!' Maybe it'll be a moment like when he did that song with Dido. I was like, 'Yes! This could be my moment!' It would have been such an incredible moment for me. Imagine your first feature being on an Eminem song? It was such a dream of mine. I literally couldn't sleep every night for a year because we didn't know and I was so excited. There was silence for a year. But then it came out with Rihanna and I was kind of bittersweet about it. I felt bummed because I found out when it came out. Nobody even told me. I just heard it on the radio. Literally, my mom texted me and I saw the track listing.
But that was supposed to be what that was, and it's Rihanna and Eminem. That's a blessing. Now I see that that song also put me in a position where people in the music business started knowing who I was and started respecting me, which led to me being able to work with David Guetta and Nicki Minaj and doing 'Hey Mama
.' And then working with G-Eazy and then doing 'Me, Myself & I
' and then doing 'Take Me Home
.' So that led to all these other hits that I have under my belt and being able to work with so many incredible people."