pay the pied piper

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Español, Jalisco
I been chewed up and spit out and booed off stage
But I kept rhymin’ and stepwritin’ the next cypher
Best believe somebody’s payin’ the pied piper
All the pain inside amplified by the fact

(It's from Eminem's song, Lose Yourself)

I found the definitions of pay the piper in However, I still don't understand why pied is used here. Can you help?
  • Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    There is a children's story about "The Pied Piper of Hamelin". The town hires the piper to rid their town of rats, but they refuse to pay him so he takes their children. Researchers do not agree whether the story is the origin of the phrase, but the similarity is definitely there.

    envie de voyager

    Senior Member
    Song lyrics are often impossible to analyze. Ten people will give you ten different opinions on the author's intended meaning. The only person who can give you the true intent is Marshall Mathers (Eminem).


    Senior Member
    English UK
    See the WR English dictionary entry for pied piper:
    a person who entices others to follow them.
    – origin the name of a legendary German figure who rid the town of Hamelin of rats by enticing them away with his music, and when refused the promised payment lured away the town's children.
    (Pied means 'multicoloured'.)

    There's also a reference here, I think, to "he who pays the piper calls the tune": see the freedictionary entry:
    He who pays the piper calls the tune.
    Prov. If you are paying for someone's services, you can dictate exactly what you want that person to do.
    When Mrs. Dalton told the artist what she wanted her portrait to look like, the artist cringed to think that anyone could have such bad taste. Still, he who pays the piper calls the tune, and Mrs. Dalton got what she wanted.
    Last edited:

    George French

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    Song lyrics are often impossible to analyze. ....... The only person who can give you the true intent is Marshall Mathers (Eminem).
    Never read too much into song lyrics... :warn:

    This also includes that MM had no intended meaning, perhaps it just scanned correctly/well (in the mind of MM)... Or it was simply a mistake...



    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    The phrase "pay the piper" is commonly used to refer to having to pay a cost or even bear a punishment. "Pied" may have been included to complete the meter of lyrics.
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