The song talks about three particular instances in which the narrator realizes "there ain't no rest for the wicked." First, he encounters a prostitute asking if he desires to spend the night with her. The narrator proceeds to ask her why she does what she does. The chorus (her response) analyzes the main reasons why individuals follow the paths they follow ("...Money don't grow on trees, I've got bills to pay, I've got mouths to feed..."). The narrator, fifteen minutes later, is mugged by a criminal, whom he asks the same question and from whom he receives the same answer. Finally, upon turning on the television, the narrator sees a preacher being arrested for stealing the funds of his church. This is followed by a third chorus saying that everyone is the same and we all have no rest "until we close our eyes for good."
Lead singer Matt Shultz stated the song was inspired by an old co-worker of his who at the time was a drug dealer. When Shultz asked him why he dealt drugs, the co-worker told him that "There's no rest for the wicked." Shultz was a plumber at the time, and said that he wrote the lyrics on a piece of drywall which he found while working at his co-worker's house.