Watch this video for a quick explanation of the English expression a host of something with examples and explanations. Have you heard this expression before? Try to use it in your own sentences!
In this post, we will look at song lyrics from Nigerian artist Wizkid, along with rappers Drake and Skepta. The song is the remix of the original “Ojuelegba” from Wizkid’s Ayo album, which you can listen to here. This post is also a continuation of the series where we analyze English-language song lyrics for learners, called Lyrics “Explained”. I’ve mostly been covering songs from the U.S., Canada, or Britain, so this is a nice change-up (at least for one of the singers). It’s a good reminder that English is spoken throughout the world, and places like Nigeria make up an important side of English-language culture too. If you want to read “Ojuelegba (Remix)” lyrics without my explanations, you can find them here. I also got some help with translations since part of the song is in the Yoruba language. You can read more on Kilonso. Okay, here we go.
Song Lyrics (Wizkid, Drake, Skepta)
Ni Ojuelegba o, my people dey there
- Other language: In the Yoruba language, “In Ojuelegba.” Ojuelegba is a busy suburb of Lagos, by the way.
- Regional accent: Then in regional English dialect: “My people are there.”
My people suffer, dem dey pray for blessing eh
- Regional speech: *”They all pray for blessings.”
Ni ojuelegba o, my people dey there
Dem dey pray for blessing, for better living eh eh
Are you feeling good tonight?
This thing got me thanking God for life
I can’t explain
I can’t explain, yeah
Are you feeling good tonight?
This thing got me thanking God for life
I just can’t explain
I can’t explain, no, no, yeah
Look, it’s gon’ be a long long time ‘fore we stop
- Informal speech: *It’s going to be a long, long time before…
Boy better know, they better know who make the scene pop
- Grammar: *Who makes the scene…
- Slang: “Pop” here has the meaning of making something more lively, more exciting, like a party. “That place was popping!”
All I ever needed was a chance to get the team hot
- Slang: “Hot” here can mean successful, famous, or anything similar to that. He refers to his group of friends and people working with him as his team.
Only thing I fear is a headshot or a screenshot
- Grammar: *The only thing I fear…
- Other vocabulary: A “headshot” is a gunshot to the head. A “screenshot” is a picture you take of your own phone’s screen. Basically, he fears either getting killed or someone finding out what’s on his phone. Haha.
Pree me, dem a pree me
- Regional speech: “Pree” I think comes from Jamaica. It means to pay close attention to something. With a Jamaican patois accent, he’s saying that people are paying close attention to him, like the paparazzi or his fans.
- Double meanings: It also sounds like “premie/premy,” an informal way to refer to people that were born prematurely. I don’t know if that was intended, but it could be an interesting way for him to compare these people to babies.
You know they only call me when they need me
I never go anywhere, they never see me
I’m the type to take it easy, take it easy
- Idioms: “Take it easy” means to do things slowly and calmly, in a relaxed manner. “-How have you been? -Oh, I’ve been taking it easy.”
I took girls in the very first text I sent
I don’t beg no lovers, I don’t beg no friends
- Grammar: Double negatives! *I don’t beg any…
If you wanna link, we can link right now
- Slang: To “link” or “link up” is to get together with someone or to meet someone so you can spend time with them.
Skeppy, Wiz and Drake, it’s a ting right now
- Names: Those are the names of the artists participating in this song.
- Slang/Regional speech: Again with a Caribbean/African accent, Drake says “it’s a thing.” This means that they made something happen together, they accomplished something. “Thing” can have lots of weird underlying meanings depending on the situation and the speaker.
Are you feeling good tonight?
This thing got me thanking God for life
I can’t explain
I can’t explain eh yeah
When I was in school, being African was a diss
- Slang: A “diss” or “dis” is something used to tease or make someone feel bad. It comes from the word “disrespect,” but has to do more with teasing or saying disrespectful things toward another.
Sounds like you need help saying my surname, Miss
- Society: Having a foreign last name, Skepta’s teachers had a hard time pronouncing it when he was in school. This is a common occurrence for people who have foreign surnames.
Tried to communicate
But every day is like another episode of Everybody Hates Chris
- Society/Culture: From Chris Rock’s TV show. Throughout the show, Chris suffers from racism for being the only black kid at his school.
Ever since mum said, “Son you are a king“
- Culture/Society: This reminds me of “The Lion King” where young Simba is told that one day he will be king. I guess the idea is ever since he was a boy, a little kid.
I feel like Floyd when I’m stepping into the ring
- Culture: Floyd Mayweather Jr. is a famous boxer.
Just spoke to the boy, said he’s flying in with a ting
- Grammar: *I just spoke…
- Slang/Informal speech: By “the boy,” he probably is talking about Drake. Saying the “ting” again, it could mean any kind of cool thing that he’s bringing. It’s something important.
We’re touching the road to celebrate another win, we’re going in
- Idiom/Figurative speech: “Touching the road” means to go on a trip. It could be literally on the road, like in a car/bus. It could also be just going on any trip. To “go in” can mean a lot of things. Here it means to really enjoy something, put in your biggest effort, to do something very well.
Why am I repping these ends? Man I don’t know
- Slang: To “rep” is to represent something, usually a neighborhood or place of origin. “Ends” I believe is London slang meaning neighborhood.
The government played roulette with my postcode
- Figurative speech: “Playing roulette” here gives the idea of the government randomly choosing where he and his family will live. It appears that in London’s project housing system, that has been a pretty common practice. Also, Skepta is from Tottenham, a rough neighborhood in London.
All I know is it’s where my people dem are suffering
- Regional speech: “Dem” here doesn’t change the meaning of the phrase. It means “they” or “them.” It’s sort of a Caribbean/African style of talking.
I seen it before, narrate the story as it unfolds
- Grammar: *I’ve seen it before…
Dad certified the settings and my mum knows
My mind full of more bullets than your gun holds
- Figurative speech: He’s seen or heard lots of violence, gun shots.
Now I got the peng tings in the front row
- Slang: “Peng” is British slang for beautiful, attractive, or appealing. “Tings” here probably refers to women, so he has pretty women at his shows.
Saying, “Skeppy come home, baby come home!”
- Other info: “Come home” might be telling Skepta he’s welcome to come back to his ancestral homeland, Africa.
Yeah, I love the sun but I respect the rain
- Figurative speech/Double meaning: The sun usually is a reference for good days, while the rain symbolizes hard times. This is especially common in music or literature. It also could be a reference to religion. He can love the Son (Jesus Christ) but respects his Reign (His power and authority). I don’t know if Skepta is religious or Christian, but it could be a double meaning either way.
Look forward to good times, can’t forget the pain
- Idiom/Phrasal verb: To “look forward to” something is to be excited for it to happen. “I look forward to seeing you tomorrow!”
I was the kid in school with the ten-pound shoes
- Society: “Pounds” referring to British currency. These are cheap shoes, probably in bad quality.
White socks, jack-ups and the pepper grains
- Slang: “Jack-ups” refers to pants that are too small/short. “Pepper grains” refers to nappy hair or hair that is curly and kinky. It isn’t combed or brushed and has knots in it, so it looks like grains of black pepper.
Said they’re gonna respect me for my ambition
- Grammar: *I said they’re going to …
Rest in peace my n***** that are missing
- Informal/Figurative speech: “Missing” in this case really means dead.
I had to tell my story cuz they’d rather show you
Black kids with flies on their faces on the television
- Society: Referring to the sad way Africans or black people are often portrayed on TV.
Eh e kira fun mummy mi o
- Other language: More Yoruba; “Thanks for my mom”
Ojojumo lo n s’adura
- “She prays every day”
Mon jaiye mi won ni won soro ju
- “I’m enjoying my life, they are complaining”
Ojojumo owo n wole wa
- “Every day, money is coming in”
E kira fun mummy mi o
Ojojumo lo n s’adura
Mon jaiye mi won ni won soro ju
Won ni won ni won soro ju
And the lyrics repeat.
Last Thoughts on Ojuelegba
Alright, we’ve got Nigeria on the list! This song has an amazing rhythm and is such a relaxing yet upbeat song at the same time. I recommend you listen to it if you haven’t yet. Throughout the lyrics, we join the struggles of growing up in the ghetto or in rough neighborhoods. There is some reflection of hard times, but also a celebration for how much better things are now. These difficulties have made these singers who they are today, and they’re proud of it. Nigeria does have a lot of English speakers, but the country is multi-ethnic and -linguistic. It’s great that we get to see some Yoruba and be more multicultural. In fact, that’s one of the best parts of English-speaking countries, anyway!
What do you think? Did you like this song? Can you relate to its message? And what about you who are from Nigeria or have visited Lagos. What can you tell us about it? Leave a comment below to share. Otherwise take care, everyone!
Do you want to know the meanings and uses of English words like “flip” and “flipside?” You’re in the right place! I’ll give you some examples of the words’ usual definitions as well as the slang definitions. We’ll also look at some examples in a dialogue with our buddy, Charles. You can find more of these dialogues and short stories using casual language in Adventures of Charles. I’ll also leave links for you to read more about these words if you’d like. Here we go.
This is one of those words that can have many meanings. You can flip a pancake, do a flip on the floor, a backflip in the other direction. You can flip things up and flip things down. As an action (verb), flipping something can mean making a profit from it. People use it more when talking about turning a smaller amount of money into a larger amount, or buying something with intention of selling it for more. People also use it to talk about making something with less value more valuable. This was commonly used to talk about selling drugs, but it’s now used for any activity of making a profit. You can “flip” clothing or houses, for example. There’s actually a show about flipping houses on the Home & Health channel. Flipping can also mean to suddenly change your opinion or to cheat someone. As far as being positive or negative, this word kind of goes both ways.
It was a wonderful day, just a beautiful day. Why? It was one of Charles’s very rare days off, of course. On his days off, he usually liked to stay up late, sleep late, and watch his turtles. He might eat at noon or he might eat at sunset. Who cared? It was his day off! Instead of doing those things, though, he decided to go and boast his day off to a friend he knew was working.
Charles — Hey, I’d like to order a coffee cake!
Ordering at the counter, he was happy to see that his friend, Jonah, was there to cater to him on the other side.
Jonah — Charlie? What are you doing here? You don’t have work?
Charles — Of course not! It’s my day off, so naturally I came here to gloat.
Jonah — You’re just mad cuz I’m flipping these cakes into some real dough.
- I’m making a profit, making money from baking these cakes.
Charles — Yeah, well if you stopped trying to flip over your boss, you might actually get somewhere with it. Do you even like baking?
- Trying to cheat your boss, taking advantage of him.
Jonah — No, but the bakers here before me were terrible. This place would’ve gone out of business if I hadn’t have flipped it. Here you go.
- If I hadn’t turned things around, made this place better.
Jonah hands his friend a freshly baked coffee cake. Yum!
Charles — Thanks, my dude. Ey, you haven’t seen Sheila here today, have you?
Jonah — That’s three sixty-five. No, why?
Charles — Oh, nothing. She was supposed to meet me here today, but I guess she flipped on me.
- I guess she changed her mind, decided not to come.
Now flip can also be used as a noun. When talking about a flip, one might be referring to a head-over-leg movement where they rotate their body over the ground. In slang, a flip can be the actual act of making a profit. Often, people express this by saying “make a flip” or “catch a flip.” It’s basically the noun version of the act of “flipping” above. Flip can also be a derogatory term describing a promiscuous woman, or at least a woman who the speaker thinks is promiscuous (I got to play it clean here, sorry). This comes from the idea that the woman “flips” (changes partners quickly) a lot or is “flipped” by different men. This use is not that important if you’re just learning English, though.
Jonah — Oh. Dang, bro, I’m sorry. She ain’t a flip, is she?
- She isn’t a sleazy girl, someone who sleeps around, is she?
Charles looks at his friend a bit confused and frowns.
Charles — What? You don’t mean …?
Jonah — Yeah?
Charles — No! No way, Sheila’s not like that. She records music a lot, so she gets stuck in her work sometimes.
Jonah — Ah okay. I hope so. You know you’re holding up my line, right?
Charles — My bad. Mmm! This cake is so good. I might have to start selling them myself.
Jonah — Hey! Don’t you start trying to make a flip off of my hard work.
- Don’t try to make a profit from my work, my product.
This one is pretty straightforward. The flipside just means “the other side.” People usually use it to mean after a situation is finished or after some event has passed. It’s often used in the phrase “Catch you on the flipside.” On occasion, one might say “on the flip” with this same meaning, taking out the “side.”
Charles — I promise I won’t. I’m too lazy to sell anything. That’s why I work in the theater and at the college.
The people in the line were getting impatient. Why was this immigrant guy taking so long to take his cake and leave?
Charles — Let me get out of here. I’ll see you on the flipside.
- I’ll see you later, after work, after a few days, after I do some things.
Jonah — Alright, catch you on the flip. And let me know if you hear from Sheila.
- I’ll see you next time, on the flipside.
Charles gave Jonah a nod and started to walk away. The customer said, “Finally!” and started to order his cake or bread or pastry. Just as he was leaving the bakery door, Charles had one last thing to say.
Charles — God! That man can make a cake!
In summary, “flip” is kind of a tricky word. Because of its history as being a word related to drugs or its use with women, it can be somewhat offensive if not used correctly. That one’s probably better to leave to native speakers to use and you can at least understand them, although you can challenge yourself if you like! It’s obviously not always bad, since it’s a common word for talking about making money or reselling something. “Flipside” is a very neutral word and you don’t have to feel weird at all for using it. I hope this has helped you understand the informal meanings of these terms.
Comment if you’ve heard these words before, know a different meaning, or want to practice using them. Here are some more definitions below if you’re interested. Until then, we’ll be talking later!
Some Other Definitions
Flip: [verb] to turn (something) over with a quick or intentional movement; [noun] a movement where an object or body turns over quickly or forcefully
Profit: [noun] a gain or earning in money, [verb] to make a gain or earning
Boast: [verb] to express too much pride in something about oneself
Cater to: [verb] to attend to or serve (someone)
Gloat: [verb] to express self-pride or admiration in an excessive or improper way
Promiscuous: [adjective] being highly sensual or overly sexual
Sleazy: [adjective] showing low moral values or loose behaviors, especially related to sex
Straightforward: [adjective] being easy to understand or do
Flipside: [noun] the other side or opposite end of something; another day
Pastry: [noun] dough used for making desserts like pies; a kind of dessert made from dough
There are more than a few ways to agree with something in English. What about talking about a lifelong friend? We cover these topics and more in today’s post, looking at terms bet, ride or die, rider, and day one, as well as their meanings and how they’re used. Read more if you want to learn more about these words and how to use them properly. We’ll see examples in a short story about Charles, and as always, practice with some questions at the end. Here we go!
You may be familiar with a “bet” as a type of wager or strong guess that something will happen, usually involving a loss or gain of money depending on the result. Bet has meant different things over the years, yet in slang, it often has the same meaning as “cool”, “for sure”, or “really?” This is because of the phrase, “You bet ya” or the shorter version, “You bet.” This is a way to say “of course” or to guarantee something. Shortening it to just “bet” usually is a response to something to show gratitude or respect, but can also be used to question something.
Sweeping up the stage as always, Charles liked to approach his work with a smile. He knew one day he’d save up enough money to move out of his tiny apartment and into a decent condo, maybe even a home. Who knows? His friends Sheila and Jonah could split the rent with him, easy. By then, he could be designing the sets for plays instead of cleaning up dirty props. Until that day, he was content to help where he could.
BUNG BUNG BUNG. Footsteps pounded on the wooden floor before the doors to the theater flung open. It was an actor looking for … something.
Charles — You need help? You look lost.
Actor — Who? Oh, no, I’m just looking for my phone. I always forget it under a seat or behind a box or something. I bet money it’s in the same place I always leave it.
- I’m sure, I know, I’m almost certain.
Charles — What? Do you mean this phone?
The actor smiled and ran up to Charles.
Actor — Yeah, man! Thanks so much. It was under the seat agian, wasn’t it?
Charles — Well, in the costumes bin, actually.
Actor — Bet. Thanks a lot man. I appreciate it. I was getting frantic.
- For sure, cool, I get it, of course.
Charles — Really? I didn’t notice. Haha. I know how it is with the cellphones.
Actor — I have an extra special reason to keep my phone on me, though.
Charles — Bet? What is that?
- Really? For real?
Ride or Die * Rider
The concept of a ride-or-die means a person, usually a close friend or partner, who will do anything to help you and is extremely trustworthy. It can sometimes be used to call someone your best friend or boy/girlfriend. This comes from the idea of “ride,” or to ride with someone. This means the person sticks with you when you need them and you can count on them. A rider then is someone who is a ride-or-die. A rider can also be a person who is willing to do whatever you want and has few boundaries. They go with the flow and are true companions.
Actor — “What is it?” What else could it be? I gotta call my girl, man, my ride-or die.
- My girlfriend, the person I trust, my close partner.
Charles — Oh, I didn’t know you had a girl. She a actress too?
Actor — Yeah, but she prefers the term actor. We met at the theater down the street watching somebody else’s play. Can you imagine? Somebody else’s play. Ha!
Charles continued to sweep the stage floor, focused deeply on his work.
Actor — What’re you doing after this?
Charles — I think I’ll dust the curtains. They’re pretty dirty.
Actor — Man, don’t you have a rider in your life? You need a woman.
- Don’t you have a girlfriend, a close friend, a trustful partner?
Charles — I’m working on that, too. I have a potential girl. Just have to ask, really.
Actor — That’s what I’m talking about! But don’t wait too long. I’ve made that mistake before. Is she a rider?
- Is she willing to do anything for you, trustworthy, does she like you a lot?
Charles nodded, halfway not understanding the question.
Actor — Oh, well then she’ll wait for you. Still, don’t take too long. Take my advice.
This term comes from an older one, “Since day one.” This is used to describe someone who has been there for you since the beginning, during hard times, and has stuck by your side the whole time. Calling someone a day-one means they are generally your closest and most trusted friend, and you respect them a lot for being there for you after years and years.
Charles — I won’t. She’s been a good friend to me since we met. I come from another country and it can be hard to make friends.
Actor — I get that. I couldn’t imagine being so far from home without family or friends close by. I couldn’t live without my day-ones, too. They’re the ones that keep me together.
- Without my closest, most trusted friends.
Charles — Yeah, well I didn’t have any super close friends like that back home anyway. I had to make some new friends here. But Sheila and Jonah have been there for me in lots of situations. They’re like my new day-ones.
Actor — Well, that’s all that matters, isn’t it? Good talking, bro. I never knew your story, so thanks for sharing.
Charles — Don’t mention it. I’ll see you at the next rehearsal. Or the next time you lose your phone.
The actor laughed at this statement and waved at Charles with a sarcastic smile.
Actor — See you next time. And call that girl!
Saying bet is usually more informal, so it’s often used with friends or in casual settings. It’s not that it could be offensive, but it just sounds quite informal. It’s a pretty useful word you can use much the same as “okay, cool, for sure,” and so on. Ride-or-die and rider are mostly compliments and terms of respect, although they can be seen as disrespectful if they aren’t used correctly. “Rider” can have a negative connotation at times, so make sure the meaning is clear if you do ever use it. Otherwise, day-one is a very respecting and caring term, and it’s a great way to refer to a close friend, companion, or anyone that’s been there for you for a long time. We usually use it with friends though, and not family members like parents.
Do you get it? If you want, take some time to practice with these questions below. And make sure to learn some other words with the Adventures of Charles series. Be safe out there!
- Can you use today’s words in your own sentences? Bet – Ride or die – Rider – Day one
- Are there any ride-or-dies or day-ones in your life? Who are they?
- What is something you would “bet money on?”
- Have you heard the slang word “bet” before in casual conversation? When was that?
Welcome back to another Adventures of Charles! We’re going to look at just two words today, but these two pack a lot into them. Both of these are considered slang or informal words, and I’ll explain more about how they are used with some example dialogues. So, let’s read on.
So you know the first and most obvious meaning of this word. When the temperature is high, you get “hot,” or when food comes out of the oven, it’s “hot.” Similarly, there’s another meaning that has to do with food. A lot of the time we use hot to mean spicy, like a chili pepper. It’s used so frequently that often when someone says their food is hot, another person will ask if it is “hot hot” (temperature hot) or “spicy hot.”
It was a bright and sunny day, great for an ice-cold drink. Charles was finally “going out” to eat with his friend Sheila after several unofficial dates.
Charles — Goodness, it’s hot out. Is there a specific place you want to eat?
- The weather is hot, high temperature.
Sheila — I know right? Let’s see … What about that Indian place. They have some good cold drinks there.
Charles — You like Indian food? I don’t know, I haven’t tried it before.
Sheila — Come on, it’s tasty! Super flavorful. The food can be a little hot though.
- It can be a little spicy, have lots of spices.
Charles — Hot? You mean spicy?
She opened her eyes wide and gave Charles a big nod.
Sheila — Yeah!
Besides the meanings above, “hot” can mean a few other things. When referring to a person as hot, it usually means they are very attractive. It’s basically a synonym for “sexy.” When referring to an item or object, however, it usually has one of two meanings. Calling something hot might mean that it is really fresh, brand new, and so it is really good. Think of how a cake, loaf of bread, or pizza are best when fresh and hot out the oven (at least in my opinion). Another meaning for hot when referring to an object is that it is stolen. That’s right, stolen goods can be resold for a bigger profit, and those goods are known as “hot.”
The two friends entered the Indian restaurant and sat down to order their food.
Sheila — So, what should we order?
Charles — I don’t know, you’re the Indian expert. Which one is less hot?
- Less spicy.
Sheila — These options in green are less spicy. One thing I like about these restaurants is they always have Indian T.V. shows and Bollywood movies playing. Look.
He looked up at the screen and saw a small group of women dressed in loose colorful dresses and garments. Their heads and necks were covered in gold accessories, and they were shaking every inch of their bodies.
Charles — Yeah, I see what you mean. They’re kind of hot.
- They are kind of sexy, attractive.
Sheila made a snort laugh at this comment and shook her head.
Sheila — Bold man. Hey, what’s that guy doing?
A strange vendor entered the restaurant with a bag full of random items.
Vendor — I’ve got items for sell, I got it all. Everything’s hot off the store shelves. Hey, nice young couple. Y’all want to buy a DVD, bottle of wine? Let me see …
- Everything is new, in good quality, fresh.
Suddenly the restaurant owner comes out from the kitchen.
Owner — Yeah, I bet all of that stuff is hot! Go away, sir. This is the last time I tell you!
- I bet all of that stuff is stolen, you’re selling it illegally.
The vendor left without saying a word, probably next door to try to sell his stuff.
Bougie – Boujee
The last word we’ll look at is this. Both of these are the same word, and in fact, they are pronounced the same way too. Spelling depends on the individual, and there are probably more ways to spell it. This word comes from the French term, bourgeoisie, which was used especially in the 1700s to refer to the French upper-middle class. The term became more derogatory because it referenced the materialistic values and stuck-up ways of the upper class. It got into English and apparently, “boujee” is an easier way to say it. Nowadays, it’s used almost in the same way, to refer to people who are stuck up, who put lots of value on material things, or those upper-middle-class people. Boujee is also used the same way as fancy or for someone who has expensive taste. Think of the song “Bad and Boujee” by Migos.
The food was finally ready and arrived at their table, sizzling hot.
Sheila — Oh, and here. I ordered you a lassi. It’s like a mixed yogurt and fruit drink. Maybe it’ll cool you off.
Charles — Thanks!
Sheila — Hey, slow down! You’re not gonna have any drink to wash down all this spicy food.
The waiter stayed and asked if they needed anything else.
Sheila — No thanks.
Then she said a few things to the waiter in a language Charles had no chance of understanding. The waiter smiled at her and walked away happily.
Charles — I didn’t know you spoke another language.
Sheila — Yeah, you’re not the only foreigner here, haha. Well, I was born here, but my parents weren’t. All my friends think I’m boujee for eating here because it’s kinda expensive. I’m just trying to keep connected with my roots. And the food is amazing.
- My friends think I am trying to be fancy, have expensive taste.
Charles nodded in agreement and took a bite. He immediately started sweating.
Charles — Oh my God, this is so hot!
Like most of the words I cover in this series, boujee and hot may or may not be considered offensive when you’re describing a person. It really all depends on the tone of voice, the way that you say these words, and the perception of the person you’re talking about. For example, men usually don’t take offense to being called “hot,” but for women it could go both ways; some women might take offense while others could be flattered. It’s similar with boujee, because some people are proud to have expensive tastes. Others might be offended by being called stuck-up or trying to look rich. Regardless of if you use these words or not, you will definitely hear them in common speech and especially in popular music. And calling food “hot” is never offensive!
- Can you use hot and boujee in your own sentences? What situations are best for these words?
- Why might someone take offense to being called hot or boujee? Why might someone be flattered?
- Have you heard these words in your English studies or listening to English? When was that?
- Have you tried Indian food before? What did you think?
Languages learners, English enthusiasts … we have another one. Listen here to the audio version of “Where I go?” from the Adventures of Charles. You can listen to the audio by itself on this page or listen and read along with the original post here. Test your listening skills by answering some follow-up questions or writing a comment after. Follow the blog if you want to be notified directly of new content. Thanks and enjoy!
Thanks to my student Bianca V. for helping me with this audio!
Some practice questions:
- In what situations might it be better to use “my bad”? What about “sorry”?
- Have you ever said or heard these phrases when receiving an object or giving something away?
- How do you usually react when someone bumps into you in the street or on public transportation? Would you be as respectful as Charles was?
Thanks for coming! Practice your English skills by reading and listening to the song lyrics. You can find more songs here on the website, too.
I wanted love, I needed love
Most of all, most of all
Someone said true love was dead
And I’m bound to fall, bound to fall for you
Oh, what can I do? Yeah
Take my badge but my heart remains
Lovin’ you, baby child
Tighten up on your reins
You are runnin’ wild, runnin’ wild, it’s true
Sick for days in so many ways
I’m achin’ now, I’m achin’ now
It’s times like these I need relief
Please show me how, oh show me how to get right
Yeah, it’s out of sight
When I was young and movin’ fast
Nothin’ slowed me down, oh, slowed me down
Now I let the others pass, I’ve come around
Oh come around, ’cause I’ve found
Livin’ just to keep goin’
Goin’ just to be sane
All the while not knowin’
It’s such a shame
I don’t need to get steady
I know just how I feel
I’m tellin’ you to be ready
- To be “bound to” do something means that it is meant to happen or destined to happen. In other words, it is guaranteed. “If you jump off of bridges, you are bound to get hurt.” In this lyric, “falling” refers to falling in love. Sometimes people don’t say the “in love” part but it means the same thing.
- “Badge” here can mean respect or honor since people who wear badges are generally respected and honored people. She took his honor but he still loves her (my heart remains).
- Calling her “baby child” is a way to sound like he is in control or has power in the relationship. It also sounds like he feels pity for her because some people say this when they feel sorry for another person. Still, it’s a loving term.
- To “tighten up” is to hold onto something tighter or more firmly. “Reins” are the equipment used to steer a horse or other large animal. That’s where we get the word “reindeer”. “Tightening up the reins” can be thought of as getting a strong grip on your life, controlling yourself more, behaving more appropriately.
- This shows how “sick” can be a state of feeling terribly both physically and emotionally.
- Of course, to “ache” is pretty much the same as to hurt. That’s why we say headache, back ache, etc.
- *It is in times like these…
- To “get right” is to feel better or live life better. When someone wants to have a more fulfilling and successful life, they want to get right.
- “Out of sight” is more of an old-fashioned slang. It was more popular in the ’70s but obviously, people love the ’70s and so it’s still popular among some groups of people. It means that something is amazing, it’s so good that you can’t see it anymore, out of sight.
- To “come around” usually means to come over, like to someone’s house. “What time are you coming over?” In this song, though, he uses a figurative meaning. “Come around” also means to come to your senses, or to realize that you were doing something wrong. You think more clearly now. “Finally, you stopped listening to that terrible rock band. I knew you would come around.”
- “All the while” means the whole time. It’s especially used in situations when someone doesn’t know about something, but they usually find out later. “The kids were crying to buy ice cream after school when, all the while, there was already ice cream at home.”
- “Such a” before a descriptive noun just adds emphasis, meaning it is a lot or in a big way. “He’s such a good guy (a really good guy).”
- “Steady” normally means to be stable or in control, both physically and emotionally. To “get steady” then means to become stable or to gain control of himself/his emotions.
The song lyrics are quite short but there’s a lot of story in them. We have an old love seemingly from childhood, and a guy who insists on love when everyone else doubts him. It seems like for good reason since the love interest has disrespected him and hurt him. Still, like so many of us, he insists on keeping the relationship going, keeping hope alive, and denying he needs any help at all. I like the idea of these lyrics because he hasn’t yet resolved his relationship issues and he’s very much still trying to figure out what he’s doing, all while being a little bit in denial. Either way he seems to have a strong mindset about it and is warning us to “be ready” for when he is back on top of things. This story is not over yet!
Thanks for reading. Here are some things to think about and some questions to answer in the comments if you want to practice your English writing skills. I will give feedback on any comments or answers guys!
- Do you know someone who should “tighten up” their reins and behave a little better?
- Why do you think someone might tell you “love is dead?” Do you agree with this statement?
- Do you like The Black Keys? What other songs do you like by them?
- Why do you think they’re called “the black keys”, anyway?
More audio! Hi English learners. I have another recording for you to listen to. This is the audio version of the post “Hateful balls”, which you can read and listen by clicking here. If you want to just test listening, you are in the right place! I went over a few terms here in the audio, so test your skills. Also, share this with someone you know is learning English, or to anyone who likes listening to audios. Cool? Thanks a lot and take care!
*I respond to comments 🙂
In the comments:
- Can you write rolling or roll out in your own sentence?
- Do you think having haters is a good or bad thing? Why?
- What do you think of people who hate on others?
To my English learners out there: Have you ever been in a situation — maybe been watching a movie — and the experience just feels like you are in another dimension, another world, and you’ve essentially left planet Earth? Well, today’s terms are great for these “otherworldly” experiences. I’m going to discuss some informal terms that use the word “trip” as well as similar terms like “freak” and “flip.” At the end I’ll talk about the word “shorty.” We’ll observe these words with the help of our old friend, Charles. If you find this information helpful, share it with someone you know is learning English. Cool? Let’s do it!
Today’s terms: trip, trippy / trip out, freak out, flip out / tripping, slipping / shorty, shawty
1. Trip – Trippy
So we know what a trip is. Taking a drive down the coast, going camping in the mountains, a vacation to Disneyland. But trip also has a more figurative meaning. You can call a situation or an event “a trip” when it is really crazy, spectacular, or unexpected. Sometimes when someone is being really funny or silly, you can call that person “a trip” too. Trippy has almost the same meaning but is an adjective. It describes situations that are very strange, crazy, and almost supernatural. You might see a ghost and say, “Wow, that was trippy.” On the other hand, “trip” can be used as a verb to talk about someone who is acting badly or in a stupid way. In this case don’t trip is also a common way to tell someone “don’t worry.”
Charles was in the recording studio with his friend, Sheila, as she was finishing recording a song. He was bouncing his head and enjoying every second of the lively music with the swirling sound of the musical track. The producer noticed that Charles was enjoying the beat he had made.
Charles — Man, this song is just wild how it fills up your brain and every part of your body just wants to dance!
Producer — I know, the sound is trippy, right? It’s one of my favorite tracks.
- The sound is really cool, crazy, and almost supernatural.
Charles — Well, your beats are always a trip. That’s why I love to come here and listen to you guys record live. Sorry if I’m intruding, by the way.
- The beats are always fun, enjoyable, interesting, and kind of strange at the same time.
Producer — Don’t trip, bro. You can come anytime you want.
- Don’t worry about it.
2. Trip out – Freak out – Flip out
Now remembering the words from above, these next terms carry a similar meaning. If “trip” can sometimes mean “to worry,” then to trip out means to worry a lot, but in a way that you are almost paranoid. This term is common for referring to people who get paranoid on drugs and act in a very strange way. They trip out. Trip has been used to talk about the experience of getting high on drugs, so this relationship makes sense. Still, you can trip out even when you’re not on drugs. Same for freak out or flip out, these terms mean to overreact to a situation, or react to something in a very dramatic or exaggerated way. Freaking out or flipping out can come in many forms, like getting mad, being really paranoid, or being super scared or anxious. Some people also just say freak or flip, but the same meaning is implied when used as a verb.
The producer looked over at Charles and saw that he was almost falling into a weird dream state.
Producer — Psst! Dude, are you okay? You look like you’re tripping out.
- He looks like he is dreaming, like he is on drugs, like his body is being taken over by something.
Charles popped his eyes open and stood up quickly.
Charles — What? Oh, man, I thought I was dreaming. The music together with Sheila’s voice is putting me in a trance, I think. Feels like her voice is coming to attack me or something, to control my mind.
Producer — Okay, well that’s a bit much. Maybe you wanna step outside and take a breath before you start flipping out.
- Before you start acting crazy, acting paranoid, or have some kind of loud and weird reaction.
Charles — No, no, I can handle it. Sorry, I didn’t know I would freak like this.
- I didn’t know I would have this weird reaction, act strangely this way, act paranoid like this. He could also say “freak out” here with the same meaning.
Producer — It’s all good. She’s almost done recording, anyway.
3. Tripping – Slipping
Going back to the meaning of trip as “worrying,” we see that tripping is when someone is acting strange or worrying too much about something. Tripping can also mean to act in a way that other people don’t like. Slipping is a similar idea, but it’s used to say that someone is not doing something well. Usually, it’s a situation where the person was really good at something before but has been doing worse in more recent times.
Sheila finally finished singing and came out of the recording booth. She didn’t look very happy.
Sheila — Dang, that sucked. I can’t believe my voice sounds like that.
Producer — What are you talking about?! You sang great! You had your friend Charles over here looking like he was going to grow wings and fly away.
Sheila — Aw, is that true? I thought I was slipping.
- I thought my singing was getting worse, my voice isn’t as good as usual.
Charles — Yeah, I was about to catch a rocket ship and fly to Mars while you were singing. Haha.
Producer — Your voice is as good as ever, girl, strop tripping.
- Stop worrying, stop acting insecure like that.
Sheila — Thanks you guys. I do sound pretty great, don’t I?
4. Shorty – Shawty
These final words are actually the same word. They both are used to refer to a woman in general, and they are often used as terms of endearment (loving terms). For example, some men call their girlfriends shorty, or even a woman they are attracted to. This term is more common for young women, and even girls can be called “shorty.” I have an Aunt Shorty (not her birth name), to give you an idea. Shorty in the past wasn’t always for just women either. It used to be a nickname for men too, especially short men. More recently because of music, in the States calling someone “shorty” gives a sense of care or femininity, at least. Shawty is just a more informal way of pronouncing the same word.
Producer — Yeah, Sheila, you’re my star singer here. Of all the shawties that come here to record, you’re the best.
- Of all the young ladies that come here.
Sheila took a bow and went to the restroom to clean the sweat off her nervous forehead.
Charles — What do you think? Is she taken?
Producer — Huh? What do you mean? You have a crush on Sheila?! Ooh, I’m telling!
They laugh together.
Charles — Nah, shut up bro! I’m serious. I might try to make her my shorty.
- Make her my girlfriend or go out with her. It sounds less serious and more casual, even though he means something serious.
Producer — As far as I know, she’s never had a man come in here and watch her like you do. Try asking her.
Charles nodded at the producer as he noticed Sheila coming out of the bathroom.
Sheila — Ready to go?
Basically, tripping and words like it (freak, flip) are related to strange and undesirable behavior. Sometimes it can be worrying, paranoia, or someone just asking too many questions. Slipping has to do with not being as good at something as before, or even being lazy at something. Some other terms I want to add real quick are slip up or trip up which both mean to “make a mistake.” Think of it as falling over your own feet or slipping on a banana peel. Those both are good phrasal verbs to add to your vocabulary. Another note about “shorty” is that sometimes men refer to a woman as a “shorty” when they don’t want to sound like they are super interested or in love with her. It’s kind of to look more manly or look tough, we can say to “downplay” their attraction for that woman. Of course, you don’t have to use these words, but you might enjoy understanding them in natural contexts, especially in current music.
Okay! What do you think? Was this helpful? Let me know if you know how to use these words, or write me a few example sentences if you have time. Comment if you’ve heard these words before! And don’t forget to follow the blog and read other posts, you might find something you’ll like. Until the next time, take care y’all!
We’ve got another one … as DJ Khaled might say. Just kidding. Here’s another audio for you to practice your English listening skills with. This is based on the post “Cakes for breakfast” which you can read and listen to at the same time here. Take a listen and see what you can understand! Write about what you thought, or try to use these terms in your own sentences. Sound good? Enjoy!