What does "Cross Me" by Ed Sheeran mean?
“Cross Me” Lyrics Meaning
“Cross Me” is about the desire of a man to protect the girl he loves, whether it be his girlfriend, wife, or daughter. It isn’t clear if this song is autobiographical in nature, but since both Ed Sheeran and Chance the Rapper are engaged in very serious relationships and PnB Rock is a father, it is likely that it is somewhat autobiographical. This analysis will speak as if those singing are also the characters in the story “Cross Me” tells, but this does not mean that the singers have or have not experienced the subjects contained in the lyrics. Either way, the fierce love and desire to protect is authentic and often very tender.
“She ain’t the one to play with”
The focus of “Cross Me” is that the love and loyalty of a man for those he loves drives him to protect against any danger. He will protect his loved ones at all cost, and won’t let any harm come to his lover or child. If anyone is looking for a girl to come after, it isn’t anyone these guys care about. They make it clear that the one to cross their women will regret it dearly
And she ain't messin' with no other man
And me and her have something different
I really need all you to understand
That nobody's comin' close
And I don't ever wanna run around
I spent my youth jumpin' in and out
You know I f***in' love her now
Like nobody ever could
Ed Sheeran begins by defining the exclusivity of the relationship between himself and his woman. They have something serious and “different.” He is protective of her and wants those in her circle to “understand / That nobody’s comin’ close” to harm her. He has spent his “youth jumpin’ in and out” of relationships but he truly “love[s] her … like nobody ever could” and doesn’t want to lose her.
And you know I stay trippin', am I crazy? Oh, no
I'm stickin' with my baby, for sure
Together, or solo
It doesn't matter where we are, oh no, no
So, if you hear about my lady, just know
That she ain't the one to play with, oh no
And I'll be standin' so close
So you know that
He is driven by loyalty to this woman and knows that whether they are “together or solo” he is “stickin’ with” his girl. He warns those who seek to hurt her that if they “hear about [his] lady” they should “just know / That she ain’t the one to play with” because she has him to back her up.
Pre-Chorus (PnB Rock)
Anything she needs, she can call me
Don't worry about her, that's my seed, yup, that's all me
Just know, if you cross her, then you cross me
Cross me, cross me, if you, if you, if you, if you
The chorus sung by PnB Rock likely focuses on the protective instinct of a father for his daughter, as he is a father and uses the term “my seed” to describe the girl he is defending. She can depend on him and if anyone “cross[es]” or comes against her, “she can call” him. He will take on her fight as his own.
If you cross her, then you cross me
And nobody's comin' close, yeah
And I think that you should know that
If you cross her
Then you cross me
So come on, and let it go
Oh, I think that you should know
Sheeran returns, echoing PnB Rock, declaring that if anyone comes for his lover they will have to deal with him. They should “let it go” for their own good, or else.
Verse 2 (Chance the Rapper)
That she ain't messin' with no other man
Now, what you not gon' do
Is stand there, 'cross from me, like you got kung-fu
Death stare, cross arm, runnin' your mouth like a faucet
But you don't know that my girl been doin' CrossFit
Pew, kung pow, hit your **s with a cross kick
Pulling hair out, wear you out, you exhausted
Know she gonna slide anytime you b*****s talk s**t
Keep a lil' blade in her f***in' lip gloss kit, ayy
No one say "Hi" to me without her
Better pay your respect to the queen
Better do that s**t without a flirt
Gotta respect the HBIC
Couple of things that you need to know
If you still wanna be friends with me
Chance the Rapper picks up where Sheeran leaves off and details what will happen to someone who messes with his girl. He warns the assailant not to “stand there, ‘cross from [him],” acting like he knows how to fight and “runnin’ [his] mouth” with insults. He informs him that his woman “has been doin’ CrossFit” and is more than capable of hitting him “with a cross kick” among many other creative means of defense. Chance also tells him that he runs the risk of being stabbed by the “blade in her … lip gloss kit” if he keeps talking trash to her. Jealousy, he demands that she be treated with respect and without flirtation if he would like to remain friends with him.
Deeper Meaning of “Cross Me” by Ed Sheeran
Overall, I admire the message of “Cross Me.” The desire of one to protect those he loves is an attribute to be applauded and I’m happy to see Ed Sheeran focus on the selflessness of love. Both PnB Rock’s and Ed Sheeran’s verses are filled with a sweet desire to protect. Chance the Rapper’s verse is tinged with the more aggressive and violence-prone tone that is often characteristic of rap and pop music, while still maintaining the desire to use that violence to protect his girl. It’s the specificity of his verse that changes the tone and meaning of the song. Ed Sheeran and PnB seem to be singing about the desire to step in between the girls they love and an attacker. Chance the Rapper (or rather, the character Chance the Rapper is singing in since it is unlikely he is being serious) appears to be egging his woman on to stab a man who talks to her disrespectfully, which is an unhealthy extreme. While I understand that the more aggressive tone of this verse is not uncommon in pop music and is not to be taken literally, I believe that it lyrically undermines the more serious and sweet tone of the other verses. As a whole, the message of “Cross Me” is a good and honorable one and tells of loyalty and love, with the brief reminder that if taken to far, overprotectiveness can take over the natural and valuable protector instinct.