“It Was a Good Day” [Ice Cube]

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Videos down below–>

Break ’em

  • In slang, to “break someone off” can mean to make them like something. It’s like Cube is saying to his DJ, “Let’s make my audience love this one.” “Break” can also have a violent meaning in another context.

Yeah

Just wakin’ up in the morning, gotta thank God

  • *I have to thank God

I don’t know, but today seems kinda odd

No barking from the dog, no smog

  • “Smog” is the collective pollution from vehicles, fumes, and other waste in the air. Los Angeles is famous for having lots of smog.

And Momma cooked a breakfast with no hog

  • “Hog” is another word for pig. This has to do with Islam for Cube, since Muslims usually don’t eat pork.

I got my grub on, but didn’t pig out

  • To “get your grub on” is to eat well, since “grub” is another word for food. To “pig out” is to eat too much, more than you need to. This is a play on the “hog” line before.

Finally got a call from a girl I wanna dig out

  • “Dig out” can mean find out more about something or someone. Here, his meaning is probably more sexual.

Hooked it up for later as I hit the door

  • To “hook something up” is to plan for it to happen or to make it. “I hooked up some eggs for you this morning.” “We need to hook up a date, you and me this weekend?” Also, he is not literally hitting the door. This just means to leave. A similar phrase is “hit the road.”

Thinkin’, “Will I live another twenty-four?”

  • As in twenty-four hours.

I gotta go ’cause I got me a drop-top

  • *I have to go because I have… “Drop-top” is a convertible car. “I got me” is a way to say you have something. Similar ways of phrasing: “I need me a new bed. They need them a whole new house.” It just adds emphasis to the subject of the sentence. It’s not correct grammar though 😉

And if I hit the switch, I can make the a** drop

  • He’s talking about making the back of his car go down, as in low riders.

Had to stop at a red light

Lookin’ in my mirror and not a jacker in sight

  • A “jacker” is someone who takes things from others, like a thief. To “jack” is to steal.

And everything is alright

I got a beep from Kim, and she can f*** all night

  • A “beep” refers back before cellphones when people used pagers (or beepers) to contact each other. Sometimes, people still say “Give me a beep” when talking about a cellphone.

Called up the homies and I’m askin’ y’all

  • “Homies” are your best friends, basically.

“Which park are y’all playin’ basketball?”

  • *At which park are you all playing basketball?

Get me on the court and I’m trouble

Last week, f***** around and got a triple double

  • A “triple-double” is an achievement in a basketball game when a player makes a double-digit total in three statistical categories. For example, 12 rebounds, 20 assists, 43 points. Basketball terminology. To “F around” or “mess around” here means to do something while not even trying or not expecting it. “I messed around and ate a whole pizza without even trying.”

Freakin’ n***** every way, like MJ

  • This is a reference to Michael Jordan making other players look bad on the basketball court because he’s so good.

I can’t believe today was a good day

Drove to the pad and hit the showers

  • “Pad” is another word for your house. To “hit the showers” just means to take a shower or clean yourself up.

Didn’t even get no static from the cowards

  • *I didn’t even get any static… Double negatives! “Static” normally is that fuzzy electric sound your phone makes when there is a bad signal. Here, static can mean an irritating noise. He’s not hearing any annoying talk from other people.

‘Cause just yesterday them fools tried to blast me

  • *Because just yesterday those fools tried… To “blast” here means to shoot.

Saw the police and they rolled right past me

No flexin’, didn’t even look in a n****’s direction

  • To “flex” is to make yourself look better or show off. “No flexing” means he is not trying to show off, but is telling the truth. A similar phrase is “No lie.”

As I ran the intersection

  • To “run” an intersection is to drive through it when you’re not supposed to, such as on a red light. The same concept is to “run a red light.”

Went to Short Dog‘s house, they was watchin’ Yo! MTV Raps

  • *They were watching… Short Dog is another rapper.

What’s the haps on the craps?

  • “What’s the haps?” is a fun way to ask “What’s happening? What’s going on?” A similar phrase is “What’s the deal?” “Craps” is a popular dice game. Learn more by clicking here

Shake ’em up, shake ’em up, shake ’em up, shake ’em

  • As in shaking dice before you throw them.

Roll ’em in a circle of n*****

  • And rolling dice, too. People often play dice on the floor where they throw them in the middle of a circle of other players. Also, playing this way is stereotypically associated with black Americans. In casinos, people play at a special table.

And watch me break ’em with the 7, 7-11, 7-11

  • So here, “break” means to do damage to the other players. Rolling a 7 or 11 is really good. He’s winning the game.

7, even back door Little Joe

  • Again, references to the game of craps. He’s doing very well.

I picked up the cash flow

  • He won a lot of money.

Then we played bones, and I’m yellin’: “Domino!

  • “Bones” is a game you play with dominos. It can be another word for the game of dominos. “Domino!” is what you say when you win the game.

Plus nobody I know got killed in South Central LA

Today was a good day

Left my n****’s house paid

  • *I left…

Picked up a girl been tryna f*** since the 12th grade

  • *I picked up a girl I have been trying to…

It’s ironic, I had the brew, she had the chronic

  • The “brew” here means liquor. “Chronic” means marijuana.

The Lakers beat the Supersonics

  • The Supersonic were a basketball team from Seattle, and were rivals of the LA Lakers.

I felt on the big fat fanny

  • “Fanny” in the U.S. means butt, and it’s not particularly offensive. In the UK, it has a much more derogatory meaning, I hear. Americans usually say it to be funny.

Pulled out the jammy and killed the p*****

  • “Jammy” here means condom. Much like “jimmy.” To “kill” means to have a lot of success or perform really well in something. Obviously, he is talking about something pretty intimate. That P-word is a reference to a woman’s private parts. It’s not the usual American English way to say this, but it’s a word that we borrowed from Indian slang by way of Jamaica.

And my d*** runs deep, so deep

So deep put her a** to sleep

  • Usually, the “A-word” means butt. However, people often use it just to refer to a person. “James’s a** was so rude yesterday.” Not his butt, but James himself was rude.

Woke her up around one

She didn’t hesitate to call Ice Cube the top gun

  • A reference to the movie Top Gun. She says Cube was the best.

Drove her to the pad and I’m coastin

  • “Coasting” is driving smoothly and happily. It can be used for any vehicle, really, but especially those with wheels, like cars, skateboards, bikes, etc.

Took another sip of the potion, hit the three-wheel motion

  • The “potion” means his drink. In normal situations, “potion” is a magic liquid that has some special properties. Sometimes people use it to mean liquor. “Three-wheel motion” refers to his low-rider. He can make his car stand on three wheels.

I was glad everything had worked out

  • Here, “work out” means that things went well, everything was good.

Dropped her a** off and then chirped out

  • Here, “chirp out” means to make noise with your car’s tires as you leave. More simply, it means to drive away. Similar to “roll out.” These days, instead of “chirp,” most young people say “skert.”

Today was like one of those fly dreams

  • In slang, “fly” means really cool. You can have fly clothes, or meet a fly person, for example. “Those shoes are fly!”

Didn’t even see a berry flashin’ those high beams

  • “Berry” references the colorful lights on a police car. High beam lights.

No helicopter lookin’ for a murder

Two in the morning, got the Fatburger

  • Fatburger is a popular fast-food burger restaurant. They have some famous locations in Southern California, especially.

Even saw the lights of the Goodyear Blimp

  • A “blimp” is a big air vehicle that looks like a balloon. In Los Angeles, the Goodyear Blimp is famous for flying around and showing messages or advertisements in the sky.

And it read “Ice Cube’s a Pimp”

Drunk as hell, but no throwin’ up

  • To “throw up” is to vomit.

Halfway home and my pager still blowin’ up

  • *My pager is still… To “blow up” here is to get a lot of attention or action. “My phone is blowing up.”

Today I didn’t even have to use my AK

  • An “Ak-47” is a type of gun. I think you knew that. It’s also the state initials of Alaska, fun fact.

I gotta say, it was a good day

  • Similar to “I must say,” or “I have to say.” It’s like saying “To be honest,” or “To tell the truth.” “I gotta say, you can make a good German chocolate cake!”

Hey, wait, wait a minute!

Pooh, stop this s***!

  • Pooh is the DJ on this song.

What the f*** am I thinkin’ about?

.

  • This is a very dear song to me; it’s old-school West Coast rap and it speaks on a lot of the problems of Los Angeles in a unique way. Instead of complaining about the problems, he raps about how perfect a day would be without those problems. There would be no violence, no police, good food, plenty of sleep and lots of love from a girl he’s always wanted to be with. There wouldn’t even be any smog in the LA skies! The song is kind of dreamy and hopeful for the future in a way, all the while criticizing how hard a normal day in South Central LA really is. Does this sound like a perfect day for you too? Let me know what you think!

Listen to the song:

Also, watch the music video:

Weren’t the British the colonizers of the U.S.A.?

This is a great question! After all, Americans mostly speak English. We’ve all heard about the original 13 colonies and how the British came to set up shop in the new continent. But the story goes a little deeper than that. Let’s look at some of the powers that had their hands in the American pie.

To start, there were a bunch of failed colonies along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts by the English, Spanish, and French early on (include Scandinavian Vikings if we really want to go back). The Portuguese and the Basques were also frequent visitors along the Atlantic in the 1500s and before, though they didn’t stop to settle.

The English/British

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Flag of England.svg
  • the first to establish permanent colonies in the U.S. (not the continent, though)
  • had two main original settlements that grew and expanded out of New England and Chesapeake Bay
  • at first, were mostly groups like the Puritans seeking more religious freedom, or poor servants and farmers mostly from England
  • some colonies got lots of Irish-Scots settlers and expanded west into Native American territory, others got many more diverse settlers
  • we all know about the Atlantic slave trade

The main thing to think about with the British is that their culture, language, and society were the most influential early on in American history which is why the states maintained the English language and other cultural influences from the British after so long.

The Spanish

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  • established some of the first settlements still inhabited in the U.S., including the oldest at St. Augustine, FL
  • owned huge expanses of land in North America, including a portion of the Deep South and the whole western half of the current United States (mostly Luisiana or Alta California), even some areas of Canada, not to mention some territories like Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands
  • they either lost or gave up a lot of this land to England or the U.S. over the centuries
  • states Oregon, Montana, Nevada, California, New Mexico, Colorado, and Florida names all come from Spanish words, literature, or colonies

Spain had a pretty big cultural impact on the Gulf Coast and the American Southwest. Many place names (Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Antonio, Santa Fe, etc.), lots of architecture, and cultural events come from Spanish and Mexican traditions.

The French

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  • had lots of colonies spread out through the central U.S. and east Canada
  • had lots of fights against England and confusing conflicts and alliances with Native Americans, they later gave up most their land to the English or Americans

France also had a big impact on place names (New Orleans, Des Moines, St. Louis, Eau Claire, Vermont) and cultural events, such as Mardi Gras and Cajun culture in Louisiana and the Gulf Coast.

The Dutch

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Flag of Netherlands
  • set up colonies mostly in present-day New York and New Jersey
  • the British took over their main city, New Amsterdam, and changed it to New York, but Dutch culture stuck around in those rural areas for centuries after

The Dutch paved the initial way for America’s biggest and most iconic city. Some of its boroughs and surrounding towns are even named in honor of the Dutch (Brooklyn or Breuckelen, Staten Island or Staaten Eylandt, Harlem or Haarlem).

The Swedes

Flag of Sweden
  • made a small colony that only lasted 17 years before being sucked into New Netherland
  • the Bronx (after Bronck’s River) is named after a Swedish captain

Sweden’s colony was short-lived, but they introduced the first log cabins and some of the oldest churches to the future nation.

Also, let’s not forget Russia who colonized Alaska. The U.S. later purchased it, though, and most of the Russians left.

As you can see, there were a lot more European powers that settled the U.S. other than the English. Despite the obvious impact of the British here in the States, we also had a few other countries reaching in for a chance to colonize the future U.S.A.

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P.S. I know that the Native Americans were already on the continent, and the colonial powers took these lands away from them. This includes First Nations in Alaska and Polynesians in Hawaii, among others. This answer is just to focus on the aspect of European colonial and cultural influence in the U.S., not to focus on the destructive aspect of their settlement in the region.

Kenai Peninsula's Historic Russian Churches - Northwest Travel Magazine
Russian Church in Alaska: from here
Old Swedes Church - First State National Historical Park (U.S. National  Park Service)
Old Swedes Church, Delaware: from here
A Stroll Along State Street in Albany, New York —
Dutch architecture, New York: from here
Home Architecture 101: French Colonial
French colonial architecture, Louisiana: from here
Historic Architecture in California
Spanish architecture in California: from here
New England Architecture | Guide to House Styles in New England
English colonial architecture, New England: from here

Check out these resources and other articles here on CultSurf!

Colonial History of the United States: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colonial_history_of_the_United_States#Russian_colonies

First Arrivals of Europeans to Settle the U.S.: http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/amerbegin/settlement/text1/text1read.htm

Origins of New York City Borough Names: https://www.amny.com/news/nyc-boroughs-names-1-32096222/

“Don’t Start” [Dua Lipa]

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Video down below–>

If you don’t wanna see me

  • *If you don’t want to…

Did a full 180, crazy

  • *I did a full… A “180” (one-eighty) means turning 180 degrees, which in math terms means turning around. It’s another way to say that you take a pause and look back at how a situation occurred. “I was walking down the street and thought I saw a friend of mine. I did a full 180 and realized that was Carol, my brother’s friend.” Similarly, a 360 (three-sixty) is to turn fully around. “He did a full 360 and fell on the ground.”

Thinking ’bout the way I was

Did the heartbreak change me? Maybe

But look at where I ended up

  • To “end up” refers to how something ended or finished. When talking about a location or situation, it means to arrive at that point or to get there. “Hmm, we’re in the Mojave Desert. How did we end up here?”

I’m all good already

  • “All good” is pretty self-explanatory. Just know that it’s a very common phrase. “I’m sorry about that.” “It’s all good, don’t worry.”

So moved on, it’s scary

  • To “move on” is to get past something like a breakup or relationship. “So … it’s scary.” This is a popular way of putting emphasis on some quality or skill. “I’m so good at this game, it’s scary!”

I’m not where you left me at all, so

  • “At all” is used at the end of a sentence to emphasize that something is really not a certain way. “She doesn’t look happy, at all.”

If you don’t wanna see me dancing with somebody

If you wanna believe that anything could stop me

Don’t show up, don’t come out

  • To “show up” is to appear somewhere. “Don’t show up at my party!”

Don’t start caring about me now

Walk away, you know how

Don’t start caring about me now

Aren’t you the guy who tried to

Hurt me with the word “goodbye”?

Though it took some time to survive you

I’m better on the other side

  • She means away from her ex. “The other side” is used to talk about overcoming something, often death, though it doesn’t always have to be a difficult situation. “Man! I have to go to jury duty today.” “Well, I’ll see you on the other side.”

I’m all good already

So moved on, it’s scary

I’m not where you left me at all, so

If you don’t wanna see me dancing with somebody

If you wanna believe that anything could stop me

(Don’t, don’t, don’t)

Don’t show up, don’t come out

Don’t start caring about me now

Walk away, you know how

Don’t start caring about me now (‘Bout me now, ’bout me)

.

Then the lyrics repeat.

  • Alright, these lyrics are pretty straightforward. Dua appears to have suffered from a bad relationship. Her partner didn’t care about her and all they know is how to walk away or give up on her. It took some time for her to get over this, but now she’s back! She goes out dancing, having a good time, and maybe her ex wants to start caring about her again. But Dua’s not interested. Her partner didn’t care when they were together, so why start caring now?

This is one of the catchiest songs out there. Does this song always get stuck in your head? Is Dua right for not wanting to let this person back in her life? Tell me what you think!

Watch the video too:

Cover image: By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=62974038

Cash apology

Terms: sorry / for money (cash, bricks, bands, bag, dough, etc.)

I sure like counting all this money.

Charles had his hands full of dollars of the U.S. variety. Not because he was rich, no! Are you crazy?

—It must be fun to work in the financial department. You get to take that money home and count it? Touch all on it. Dang, sounds like heaven to me!

Jonah was watching him with a hunger.

—Can I just touch one … well, a couple of them?

—No, Sir-ee! This is not my money, bro. If it was I wouldn’t let you touch it, either, but my life is on the line if I get fired. Sorry, can’t do it.

—Well! I don’t know why you work at that sorry theater on the side. If I was you, I’d be happy to sit here and count money all day.

Charles looked around at the blank white walls, felt the absence of an air conditioner, heard the BLUGUG of a bubble descend from their giant jug of nasty water.

—I would die if I worked here all the time. The theater is a good distraction. Plus, I like drama.

—Heck, there’s plenty of drama right here on campus.

They both laughed at that fact.

—Hey, what did you mean by “sorry?” I didn’t get why you would apologize for me working with plays.

Jonah scratched his chin.

—No, bro. Sorry, as an adjective. It just means that something sucks, basically. It’s low quality, not good. Like if you buy a car that’s old and raggedy and is halfway falling apart. That’s a “sorry” car. Look at me, sounding all smart!

—Uh-huh. Thanks for the clarification, said Charles.

Fasho. Yeah, man. I was you, I would stay here and count stacks all day. Maybe slip a wad into my pocket.

Charles’s fingers stopped moving. His eyes tilted up. What did that guy just say?

—Guy, what did you just say? Stack? Wad? What in the world?

Jonah jumped up eagerly.

—Oh man, I’m about to learn you! I mean, teach you, of course. Look, Charlie; stacks and wad are both money. You ever seen a stack of something? Pancakes, maybe? Well, replace the pancakes with bills and that’s how you get “stacks.” As for wad, you just need to picture a handful of cash. Wad can be a small bundle of anything, though. Cash, you probably know, is money too. Hehe.

—Yeah, Charles said, —I knew cash. That’s the only one I knew, actually. What other words do you all have for money?

His fingers went to counting the dollars again. Jonah continued to rant excitedly about his favorite topic.

—Oh, that’s easy! I said stacks, so you got racks and bricks if you’re really making money. “Racks” are like shelves, so I guess if you made racks, you could just stack them on a big shelf. “Bricks” are like those red things you use to build a house, but they’re thick like a stack of money. What else? You got bands, figures, green. “Green” is obvious, ‘cus of the color. “Figures” mean digits. If you make 5 figures, that’s making a five-digit salary. Anywhere between 10,000 and 99,999. Same for 6 figures, 10 figures, and so on. A band is a thousand bucks, and bucks are money. You have to hold a thousand together with a rubber band, which is probably why they call it that. Same with a grand, or a G for short. That means a thousand bucks too. You probably have a few “G’s” in your hands right now!

Charles bulged his eyes.

—Wow, that is a lot. Any more?

Jonah continued, —Let’s see. You got loot, dough… “Loot” used to be treasure for pirates in the old days. “Dough” is what you make bread out of. Oh, and bread is another one. Hmm, guap and cheese are money, and bank is if you make a bunch of money. Like, “I made bank today.” “Cheese” like cheese slices at the grocery store. Some people say cheddar to be more specific. “Guap,” I don’t know. It sounds like guapo, or “handsome” in Spanish. Maybe like a handsome sum of money? Who knows. And don’t forget the bag. If you get “the bag,” you’re making good money. And … that’s all I got.*

Charles’s face fell stunned.

—Wow, you are an expert in something. I just can’t believe there are so many words for… and he waved a fistful of cash.

Jonah paused.

Never thought about it. I blame rap music. So, how many bands you got?

Charles checked.

—Let me see… There are about 5 G’s right here. I only got through this one stack.

—Well, you better start counting!

Charles laughed.

—I would if someone didn’t keep distracting me! And you’re right; all this money does make my other job look sorry.

Jonah chuckled and put his baseball cap on.

—That’s okay. I hear actors and playwrights get bank too.

.

  • With so many ways to talk about money, it can be hard to choose which word to use! Some words like cash are more common overall. Other words are used in more specific situations. For example, bag or bank are more common when talking about making money, while G’s and bands are for talking about quantities of money. When in doubt, use the words you hear being used most around you. I sure don’t use all of these on a daily basis! What is your favorite money slang?

*The language used in this dialogue is meant to reflect how different Americans might express themselves. Significant incorrect grammar or sensitive words will be underlined for reference.

“Alright” [Kendrick Lamar]

United States Flag

Videos down below–>

Alls my life I has to fight, n****

  • This phrasing comes from old depictions of how black slaves or servants would talk during earlier American history. These days, sometimes people talk like this to make a joke or even a serious reference to working like a slave. It’s a very informal and cultural form of phrasing, and really only people within a trusted community would make this reference with each other. Otherwise, it can sound racist or offensive.

Alls my life I…

Hard times like, “Yah!”

Bad trips like, “Yah!”

  • A “trip” can sometimes mean an event or situation that is happening. “We had some bad trips” may not mean a bad vacation, but an actual bad situation he was going through. A lot of people say “Like” as an interjection before they give more information or reveal what someone said. It can replace the word “said” in this sense in casual speech. “Michael was like, I need a quarter. And I was like, No, Michael, I don’t have a quarter.” (Correct: Michael said, I need a quarter.)

Nazareth, I’m f***** up

  • In Christianity, Jesus resides and grows up in Nazareth. To be “F’d up” is the same as “Messed up,” “Jacked up,” or “Screwed up.” It means that something is wrong with him, he has serious problems, or has been damaged very badly. This goes for both the physical and emotional senses. It’s more profane, so try to use those other options if you can 😉

Homie, you f***** up

  • *”Homie, you’re…” “Homie” is another word for friend or someone you trust.

But if God got us, then we gon’ be alright

  • *”Then we’re going to be…” One use of “Got” is to say that you have someone’s back, or you’re looking out for their wellbeing. “I got you, man.” {I’m here to support you, man.}

N****, we gon’ be alright

N****, we gon’ be alright

We gon’ be alright

Do you hear me, do you feel me?

  • To “feel” sometimes means to understand what someone is saying on a deeper level. “Do you feel me?” (Do you understand what I’m saying?) “Yeah, man, I feel you.”

We gon’ be alright

N****, we gon’ be alright

Huh? We gon’ be alright

N****, we gon’ be alright

Do you hear me, do you feel me? We gon’ be alright

Uh, and when I wake up

I recognize you’re looking at me for the pay cut

  • His managers look at him when they want to cut down someone’s salary.

But homicide be looking at you from the face down

  • *”Homicide is looking at you…” This is an incorrect but very common way for people to speak in vernacular language. “I be doing… They be watching…” It’s very common in street or community settings but is very unusual in a work or professional setting. “From the face down” means all over your body or completely.

What MAC-11 even boom with the bass down?

  • *”What MAC-11 even booms…” A MAC-11 is a kind of machine gun pistol generally with a silencer. This may compare his rapping (making noise, being provocative) to the sound of booming gunshots, since he can’t make a point or provoke anyone with a quiet song, low bass.

Schemin’, and let me tell you ’bout my life

  • *”Tell you about…” “Scheming” here probably refers to people making plans or plotting against him. “Scheme” is normally used for big plots against a large entity, but we use it sometimes to talk about a personal attack too.

Painkillers only put me in the twilight

  • “In the twilight” refers to a weird state between night and day. He’s not fully conscious, present, etc. Also, in case you didn’t know, “painkillers” is a casual way to call pain medication.

Where pretty p**** and Benjamin is the highlight

  • *”are the highlights.” Benjamin Franklin is on the $100 bill. Money and women had been a big part of his life, or fame in general.

Now tell my momma I love her, but this what I like

  • *”This is what I like.”

Lord knows

  • This is a popular exclamation, especially among the religious or Christian community. It’s said when an outcome is unknown or when something is too much to understand. “Lord knows what I’m going to do to pay the rent.” Also used to state a fact. “Lord knows I have worked harder than anyone else in the company.”

Twenty of ’em in my Chevy, tell ’em all to come and get me

Reaping everything I sow, so my karma come in heaven

  • *”So my karma comes…” To “reap what you sow” is an old adage that means you get what you give, or what goes around comes around. To “reap” literally means to collect, as with crops. To “sow” literally means to plant or put seeds in the ground.

No preliminary hearings on my record

  • “No preliminary hearings” means he doesn’t want him or his group to testify. Everything they’ve done remains silent, and the true judgment will come in the afterlife.

I’m a m************ gangster in silence for the record, uh

  • “For the record” is another way of saying “By the way,” or “Just so you know.” “I had a lot of fun this weekend, for the record (just so you know).” It has a double meaning here since the record can be a musical recording as well.

Tell the world I know it’s too late

Boys and girls, I think I gone cray

  • *”I think I have gone…” “Cray” means Crazy. It was made popular by Jay-Z and Kanye West in their song “N**** in Paris.”

Drown inside my vices all day

Won’t you please believe when I say

Wouldn’t you know?

  • This is a funny way to express some interesting information. “Wouldn’t you know? Jerry bought himself a pony! Isn’t that weird?”

We been hurt, been down before

  • *”We’ve been…” To be “down” here means to feel down, sad, or hurt.

N****, when our pride was low

Lookin’ at the world like, “Where do we go?”

N****, and we hate po-po

  • “Po-po” is a slang term for the Police.

Wanna kill us dead in the street fo sho’

  • *”They want to kill us dead in the street for sure.” “Fo sho” is a colloquial way to pronounce “for sure.”

N****, I’m at the preacher’s door

My knees gettin’ weak, and my gun might blow

  • *”My knees are getting weak…”

But we gon’ be alright

N****, we gon’ be alright

N****, we gon’ be alright

We gon’ be alright

Do you hear me, do you feel me? We gon’ be alright

N****, we gon’ be alright

Huh? We gon’ be alright

N****, we gon’ be alright

Do you hear me, do you feel me? We gon’ be alright

What you want you, a house⁠? You, a car?

  • *”What do you want, a house? A car?” This is another very colloquial way of speaking. “You want you a nice watch? He got him a good job!” This might come from “He got himself a good job!” but in a shorter version.

40 acres and a mule? A piano, a guitar?

  • This comes from a special order during the American Civil War when some freed black slaves were offered 40 acres of land and a mule as a sort of reparations (compensation) for their suffering. The order was only enacted for a short time before being dismissed.

Anything, see my name is Lucy, I’m your dog

  • This line is full of double and hidden meanings. Mainly, Lucy is a reference to Lucifer, the Devil. “Dog” in slang often means a friend, a person of trust, much like a real dog (It’s often spelled “Dawg” in slang, though).

M***********, you can live at the mall

I can see the evil, I can tell it, I know it’s illegal

  • In slang, saying you “can tell it” means you can identify it. “Does it look like rain outside? Hmm, I can’t tell it.” A similar phrase is, “call it.” “Hmm, I can’t call it.”

I don’t think about it, I deposit every other zero

  • “Zero” here refers to lots of money.

Thinking of my partner, put the candy, paint it on the Regal

  • “Partner” sometimes is used in referring to a close friend, and in this sense does not show any kind of romantic relationship. “Candy” refers to candy paint, or colorful paint used to paint cars. The car he talks about is a Buick Regal.

Digging in my pocket, ain’t a profit big enough to feed you

  • *”There isn’t a profit big enough…”

Every day my logic get another dollar just to keep you

  • *”My logic gets another dollar…”

In the presence of your chico… Ah!

  • “Chico” means Boy in Spanish. He says “boy” because it’s a popular way for some people to talk. It just means Friend. “I’m your boy, man, let me in. Kendrick is my boy, I should call him more often.”

I don’t talk about it, be about it, every day I sequel

  • “Don’t talk about it. Be about it.” This is a popular way to tell someone to do what they say they’re going to do. Similarly, “I’m about it,” means that you do what you say you’re going to do. “Are you about it? Oh, he’s not about it.” He turns the noun “sequel” into a verb. This is very common in English, even if the dictionary definition of the word is not a verb. He does bigger and better things every day, basically. Makes a sequel of his previous day.

If I got it then you know you got it,

  • *”If I have it then you know you have it”

Heaven, I can reach you

Pat Dawg, Pat Dawg, Pat Dawg, my dog, that’s all

  • Pat Dawg is apparently a cousin of Kendrick’s who died. It’s also a double meaning with the term, “pat dog,” like petting a dog.

Bick back and Chad, I trap the bag for y’all

  • These are other references to dead friends of his. To “trap” is to make money, basically. It usually means to make money selling drugs or doing other illegal things, but nowadays it’s used for making money in general. “Bag” is a slang term for Money.

I rap, I black on track so rest assured

  • Again, he turns the color black into a verb. This could mean he “acts black” in his music, which is a thing here in the U.S. Acting stereotypically black. He might also mean that he represents black culture or issues in his songs. He could also just “black out” or be out of his body in a higher consciousness when he raps. It’s an interesting line. “Rest assured” is a way to tell someone to be calm, you don’t have to worry. “Rest assured, we will find the man who did this to you, ma’am.”

My rights, my wrongs; I write ’til I’m right with God

  • “Rights” and “wrongs” refer to good and bad deeds or actions. Rights can also be civil rights. To “be right with someone” is to get on their good side, or to have no problems with them.

Wouldn’t you know

We been hurt, been down before

N****, when our pride was low

Lookin’ at the world like, “Where do we go?”

N****, and we hate po-po

Wanna kill us dead in the street fo sho’

N****, I’m at the preacher’s door

My knees gettin’ weak, and my gun might blow

But we gon’ be alright

N****, we gon’ be alright

N****, we gon’ be alright

We gon’ be alright

Do you hear me, do you feel me? We gon’ be alright

N****, we gon’ be alright

Huh? We gon’ be alright

N****, we gon’ be alright

Do you hear me, do you feel me? We gon’ be alright

I keep my head up high

I cross my heart and hope to die

  • “Cross my heart and hope to die,” is an old swear that people, especially kids, used to say to make a promise or make a wish. It’s still said nowadays, but not in such a serious way as before.

Lovin’ me is complicated

Too afraid of a lot of changes

I’m alright, and you’re a favorite

Dark nights in my prayers

.

  • This song has a lot of identification with the rights of black Americans and social injustice. Police brutality, political deception, and black on black violence are brought up in bits throughout the lyrics. There is heavy use of more stereotypical “black” sayings and wording here, as well as the repetition of the N-word. This gives the sense that Kendrick is communicating directly to black people, almost in an exaggerated way, but the language is very authentic and direct. The rights and treatment of minority groups in the U.S., especially those of black people, have been a hot-button topic and caused controversy for decades up until now. There are also lots of personal themes in the song; he might feel guilty for giving in to his vices (i.e. money, sex, drugs, etc.); religion and judgment are also heavy themes here. In the end, he is definitely making a statement!

  • Also, a note: Alright and All right are accepted forms, though I’ve seen All right used more in older literature.

There’s a lot of slang in this song! Did you get it all? Let me know what you think.

Listen to the song here:

Here’s the full music video if you’re interested:

Aren’t Americans really tall and fat?

There are many stereotypes about the American people. As one of them, I’ve learned to identify a few less favorable ones in my time. However, the biggest stereotype of all we could arguably identify as:

Fat.

And I didn’t even have to research that one. Just ask anyone — anyone — not from the U.S. and they’ll tell you how chunky we all are. Heck, scratch them out the picture; we’ll tell you how fat we are, and then go and tell ourselves how fat each other is.

As the cliché goes, there’s good reason for everyone to believe this. Americans aren’t the fattest population in the world by percentage. A bunch of nations in the Pacific (and Kuwait for some reason) have proportionally more obese people, with little Nauru topping out at 61%. But, to be fair, Nauru is the smallest state in the world besides Monaco and Vatican City, and it only has about 12,000 people. Match that with the U.S. that has over 300 million, and you get over a third of the people being obese (118M) and another 105M that are generally overweight. That’s almost two-thirds of the nation being overweight. What’s more, sadly 1 in 6 American children is obese.

So this one is pretty true.

Some trends about this, though, are:

  • childhood obesity is on the decline
  • almost half of the African-American community is overweight
  • there’s more obesity as a whole in the South than elsewhere in the country
  • fun-fact, Colorado is the least overweight state
  • not-so-fun-fact, obesity is on the rise across the globe

Pretty much the entire Western World (the Americas, Europe) plus Australia and Oceania see more deaths from being overweight than being underweight. The U.S. is a big part of this problem too since fast-food and processed food items have been made easy, famous, and accessible to much of the rest of the world. Now, we’re not the only players in this, but America definitely plays a huge role in the enduring presence of overweight-ness.

All that said, of course all Americans aren’t fat. I’m pretty underweight, and there are about a whole third of Americans that aren’t overweight. That has to count for something.

But, on to a quality a little less shameful than obesity: height! This is an interesting one because, apparently, Americans used to be the tallest people in the world for a while. Studies seem to show a correlation between the wealth of a country and the height of its citizens.

Despite the U.S. having the highest income on average now, Americans even out at around 175 cm tall.

Let’s face it, if your reading this, you probably don’t use inches and feet.

They still fall short behind the UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, and the tallest of all: the Dutch. It looks like Paul Bunyan turned ex-pat in the Netherlands (or to Canada, where he belongs). As it goes, Americans still rank as some of the tallest people in the world, so we’re not far off the mark.

*A quick note about this is that Asians and “Hispanics” tend to be shorter than non-Hispanic white or black people.*

In summary, and without digging too deep, Americans are pretty fat and tall. They’re one of the tallest nations overall in the world, home to the most overweight people under one starry flag. But don’t get me wrong, there are many a short and/or thin American person to be found. A bunch of them are related to me.

Make sure to check these resources folks. There are some really helpful articles for understanding America’s weight and height situation with lots of interesting facts. Comment and let me know what you think!

The height situation in the U.S.: https://www.wsj.com/articles/whos-the-tallest-of-them-all-its-no-longer-the-americans-11553254201#:~:text=Based on white and black,U.S. compares to Western Europeans.

Comparing countries’ average heights: https://www.healthline.com/health/average-height-for-men#world–record-heights

Interesting facts about weight/obesity in America: https://www.healthline.com/health/obesity-facts#13.-Colorado-has-the-lowest-obesity-rates.

Other quick facts about obesity in America: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/obesity-overweight.htm

Defining overweight and obesity: https://www.who.int/health-topics/obesity#tab=tab_1

Who’s Paul Bunyan?: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Bunyan

“Cameo Lover” [Kimbra]

New Zealand Flag

*Don’t forget the video down below–>

This is nonstop baby, you’ve got me going crazy

You’re heavier than I knew

  • “Heavier” here in the sense that he is weighing on her or holding her down, in a figurative sense.

But I don’t want no other, you’re my cameo lover

  • *Double negatives. “But I don’t want any other/another…” Sometimes using a double negative can sound more natural, though, like with these lyrics. A “cameo” is a quick appearance of someone, usually famous, in a work like a movie or TV show. The guy is her lover who appears in her life for only small amounts of time, as she explains in the next line.

Only here for a moment or two

You stay inside that bubble with all of your trouble

In your black hole

  • The idea is that he is collapsing on himself, self-destructing.

You turn from the skies,

You dance with your demise

  • “Demise” is another word for death, basically, or an otherwise bad ending to life. “Dancing with your demise” is a more formal way of saying, “Playing with death.”

I’ll be here when you come home (home)

We’ve all gotta break down

  • *”We’ve all got to break down.” In the English accents more closely related to British (Kimbra is from New Zealand), using “have got to” tends to be more common than “have to” in such situations. “I’ve got to go pick up my mother.” “I have to go pick up my mother.” “Break down” here has a double meaning; to have an emotional breakdown and cry, get depressed, etc., or; to have fun and dance! Interesting, right? She is probably referring to both of these opposing meanings in the line.

Let me come and break down there with you

  • Whether he wants to cry and be sad or have fun and dance, she still wants to be there with him.

‘Cause every day’s like talking in your sleep

  • *”Because every …” The original author from the website where I found these lyrics wrote, “Everyday’s like…” I wanted to take advantage and explain: “Every day” is where “every” just describes “day.” “I go to the mall every day. I wake up early every day;” “Everyday” is an adjective and describes something that is done every day, or is very common. “I’m going to do my everyday bike ride. He’s your normal, everyday teacher. Nothing special.” Native English speakers also often get these two confused.

Love is like a silhouette in dreams!

  • A “silhouette” is the outline of a shape, usually of a person, something like an empty shadow.

Open up your heart, open up your heart

Open up your heart and let me pull you out

Every day’s like talking in your sleep

Love is like a silhouette in dreams!

Open up your heart, open up your heart

Open up your heart and let me pull you out of here

I’ve got high hopes baby, but all you do is take me

Down to depths that I never knew

You’ve got two arms baby, they’re all tangled in ladies

As the black sky’s posing blue

  • To “pose” here means to fake an appearance or to show an untrue face. A similar word is “to front.” She could mean that he feels dark or sad on the inside, but he’s showing that he feels sunny and clear like a blue sky on the outside. On another note, “pose” is also used a lot to get into position for a photo. “Pose for the camera!”

Let go of your mother and turn to your brother

Not a long gone lover’s noose

  • A “noose” is the loop of a hanging rope. He’s literally choking himself to death because he won’t let go of this past love.

Sometimes baby the hardest part of breaking

  • “Breaking” again refers to having a breakdown, being depressed, or emotionally hurt.

Is leaving pieces behind you

  • But she plays double meaning again with the literal definition of breaking; tearing into pieces.

Oh we’ve all gotta get by

  • *”We’ve all got to …” To “get by” means to survive, make a living, get past our challenges.

Let me come and hold you high, with you

‘Cause every day’s like talking in your sleep

Love is like a silhouette in dreams!

Open up your heart, open up your heart

Open up your heart and let me pull you out

Every day’s like talking in your sleep

Love is like a silhouette in dreams!

Open up your heart, open up your heart

Open up your heart and let me pull you out of here

Open up your heart to me!

The sun won’t shine if you’re not looking

Baby, love is all that you need…

When every day’s like talking in your sleep

Love is like a silhouette in dreams

Open up your heart, open, open… (open…)

And the lyrics repeat.

  • She seems to be talking to a person she wants to be with or feel closer to. This person has a hard time letting go of some past lover who apparently hurt him emotionally. Still, he refuses to let go and wants others to feel sorry for him. This is obviously weighing on Kimbra who’s tired of his downer attitude, but she also doesn’t want to leave him (I don’t want no other). He seems to hide in a bubble, lose hope (you turn from the skies, you dance with your demise), and express himself very lazily like a person mumbling in their sleep. He seems to be going through a rough time, though her words are not harsh but hopeful. Kimbra insists for him to open up and let her help, be a part of his recovery, to hold him up high, and to pull his love out from inside.

Do you think this kind of relationship is worth it? Let me know your thoughts!

Watch it here:

Very manly family

Terms: my guy / my dude / bro / bruh / son

Rip. Scribble. Check. Pass.

These were normal work days for Charles. His life was not any more exciting than a stone’s on an average day. At work, it was at least half of the usual. Paintings had more fun hanging on white walls than Charles did at work. Old sneakers had more fun being trodden through the mud on a cold day than Charles did at work. Even the little fruit flies taunted him as they buzzed after each other in the dead-air room; a financial office at a small community college waiting to be demolished and replaced by new facilities.

Yes, I understand … Okay … But what would you like to do, Sir?

I just really want to get a loan, man. I was hoping you’d help me out with it.

A fellow student, small and muscular, was asking Charles about his options for paying for his upcoming classes. The student really needed a break, but the school’s policy was strict. The situation was leaving him quite irritated.

Charles told him, —I can’t give you a loan this semester because you still owe money from your past classes.

Come on, my guy. Are you for real? I really can’t have just one little loan this time? Man, what the hell?

Really, Sir, I cannot …

You sure? ‘Cus I bet you can’t even read them pages right.

The student was referring to Charles’s accent, assuming he couldn’t read since his English wasn’t totally natural.

Hey, bro, you need to back up. We’re all in line here. Just let the man do his job.

His job—!

But before the small angry student could finish, another larger student calmly grabbed his backpack and shoved him out of the line. The smaller student made a quick gesture to scare the bigger student, but he noticed he would enter into a fight he couldn’t win. He walked away after sucking his teeth and hit the bare office wall hard, one time.

Thanks for getting him out of here, Charles told the big man.

Hey, my grandparents were immigrants. I couldn’t let him disrespect you like that.

Charles took advantage of their conversation to ask a question.

He was pretty mad, but I noticed he called me his “guy.” Is that a bad thing? Because it sounds like he wants me to be his man.

This comment made everybody in the sweaty office laugh; one girl in the back laughed a little too hard.

That was funny, I’m sorry. No, he wasn’t asking you to be “his guy.” It’s just an expression. It’s how you might refer to someone you’re speaking to. Hey, my guyMy dude is another good one that’s used the same. There are some other more derogatory ones, but these two are good to use with anybody.

But he also called me bro, like his brother. Is that right?

The big student scratched his chin hairs for a minute, then said;

Oh. Well, bro is short for “brother,” but it’s the same as with “my guy.” You can use it with any man, doesn’t have to be your real brother. Some people, like me, put more of an “uhhhh” sound to it. Like, bruh. “What’s up, bruh? Wanna buy me a Coke?”

Charles smiled.

I get it now.

Yo, are we still in the classroom? I ain’t got all day, son.

Another student was being impatient and yelled out from his point in line. His comment made the big man turn his head and look at Charles who was staring at him, again, confused.

And that’s another one! Son. And no, he’s not calling you his actual son …

Sure ain’t! the loud-mouthed student replied again.

Charles had a jump on the meaning, though.

Son. It’s the same as calling me “guy” or “bro.” Or “bruh,” even. They’re all the same. Cool alternatives to “man.”

The big guy tapped Charles on the shoulder happily.

You got it! So, uh, bruh, can you help me with a payment plan for the next two semesters?

Then the loud mouth, —Yeah, me too, my dude!

Charles smiled at the fact that even within that hot, boring, smelly box of an office, he could turn his gruesome job into an exciting real-world English lesson. In addition, he was now able to understand all this action coming at him at once. He ruffled some papers and answered his schoolmates;

Sure! One financial plan coming up, bro.

  • Calling men “my guy,” “bro,” and “son” is very informal, and we usually use it with people of a similar or lesser age to us or with friends, not in formal situations! Do you think you could use these words correctly with a friend of yours? Tell me what you think!

*The language used in this dialogue is meant to reflect how different Americans might express themselves. Significant incorrect grammar or sensitive words will be underlined for reference.