Several months after signing a record deal with Virgin in 2009, Green nearly died after being stabbed in the neck with a broken bottle. This was one of many setbacks he'd suffered throughout his troubled life and he'd had enough. This reflective track finds Green recounting how his success as a rapper couldn't erase the pain of his chequered past before giving credit to his pal Lily Allen for helping him get where he is today. "That summer, I really thought about jacking it all in," he recalled to The Guardian. "I was back selling drugs, harder stuff, stuff I don't even really condone. As I say on the record, 'I was selling wraps of coke, not raps and flows.' Then, from one conversation with Lily Allen, it really did change direction. She picked me up and put me back on my feet."
The song finds Green spitting about the unsatisfactory nature of sudden fame. "While I was working so hard for this I had the idea that if it eventually worked, then it would solve all my problems," he told Q magazine. "Obviously success didn't fix me, it can't."
Speaking to The Daily Star, Green elaborated about the background to this track. "I've been happy for a while, but that wasn't always the case. I talk about it in my new song, Today I Cried. I expected to find happiness once I became successful and it shocked me when I didn't.
That's why I wrote the song, to get across that feeling – 'I should be happy, so why aren't I?' Writing it helped me understand why I wasn't happy. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying fame is terrible – there are a lot of perks.
But, while touring my first album , Alive Till I'm Dead, I felt like crying a lot of the time. All of my issues came to the surface. Everything was magnified when I became successful, so my feelings were magnified too – it was a roller-coaster of emotions all the time.
I wasn't sleeping, which made everything feel 10 times as bad. I'm not saying Today I Cried should be a warning to people who want to be famous, because those people won't be deterred just by a song."