The song seems to be a response to the negative attention that Cyrus consistently receives from the media and how the media and press surrounding her would suddenly become positive if she died.
Her near-death experience during a flight to Glastonbury Festival might be what triggered her to write about death, as she expressed on stage that the Festival had changed her in many ways:
I ask the universe every day, 'Give me something that scares the fuck out of me and then I’m going to fucking do it'.
A demo of "Hate Me" leaked in May 2020 labelled as "If I Die", making it one of a few leaked songs to make it on Plastic Hearts.
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