“Carnies” [Martina Topley-Bird]

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A flag featuring both cross and saltire in red, white and blue
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Fun and games are coming to town … and all the crying and drama that go along with them. Read the lyrics and explanations of “Carnies” song by Martina Topley-Bird, and learn some new English terms! And don’t forget to read a fuller explanation, comment, and watch the music video below–>

Ferris wheels and cotton candy

  • I’ll stick some images here in case you don’t know these.
A Ferris wheel, Photo by Amanda Cottrell on Pexels.com

The folks try to stall as the kids get antsy

  • “Folks” is another word for people in general. Usually used to talk about a certain group of people together. It can also be used to talk about one’s parents. “I’m going to visit my folks this weekend.” To “stall” is to hesitate or stop completely. In a more figurative way, it also means to distract from the main point. “Stop stalling and just tell the story!” And “antsy” means restless, like when someone can’t sit still.

They sit there complaining there’s nothing else to do

So we pick up our coats and go down to the fair

  • Just a note, “fair” as a noun usually refers to a kind of carnival with rides, games, and snacks. For example, in many places in America, we have county fairs. The biggest kinds are World’s Fairs.
Some cotton candy, Photo by Mariana Kurnyk on Pexels.com

Who knows what we’ll find when we get there?

Eyes will be streaming, faces split in two

  • “Eyes streaming” has the sense of a river or stream flowing. This probably means that kids will be crying, probably because they don’t want to leave. “Faces split in two” reminds me of the classic symbol of theater or drama with a mask that is half happy and half sad. This imagery tells how people at the fair will be a mixture of happy and sad faces.
classic comedy/tragedy masks, at Foundry Brothers

Carnies have come to town

  • “Carnies” is the same as a carnival or fair. It is more of a British slang, if I’m not mistaken, since we don’t use it as much in the U.S. Saying something “has come to town” means that it has come or arrived in your area. Whether you’re talking about a town, city, or rural area, you can always use “come to town” to talk about an event coming to your area.

If they stay, will you hang around?

  • To “hang around” just means to stay or remain somewhere. She could also say “Will you hang?” and it means the same thing. A similar phrase is “stick around.” “Will you stick around for Christmas too?”

Lately where have you gone?

  • “Lately” is such a good word! I think it could be a little confusing for English learners. It is basically the same as recently, or in recent days. “What’ve you been doing lately (in recent days)?”

I’ve been waiting for so long

When will you come back?

Say what you want life’s too good to be true

Jump start me after I’m through the sunroof

  • To “jump-start” something is to give it a big push, almost like you’re so excited to start or to go somewhere. The idea comes from track racing. When someone jump starts, they start running before the race even begins. A “sunroof” is the part of a car’s roof that opens up so you can see the sky. The idea is of Martina jumping out of the roof of her car.
Someone “jumping thru their sunroof”, Photo by Gustavo Fring on Pexels.com

Soon I’ll be home but I don’t know if you will too

Carnies have come to town

If they stay, will you hang around?

Lately where have you gone?

I’ve been waiting for so long

When will you come back?

Carnies is such a fun word. As I said above, it’s more of a British slang from my understanding, since fair or carnival are more common in the U.S. Regardless, I feel like this song really captures the mysterious, fun, and dramatic sense of being at a fair. Fun, games, candy and rides go together with whining children and stressed parents. Besides all that, Martina seems to be missing someone in her lyrics, wondering where they went and if they’ll come back. Part of her wondering might be about the fair itself and when it will come back to her town. But she also seems to be remembering specific experiences with this “mystery person” of when they used to go to carnies, maybe when they were kids. It’s a song full of magical vibes and nostalgia, for sure.

Tell me what you think! Have you ever been to a carny? Is there something from your childhood that you feel nostalgic about? Let me know if you liked this song, and if there is another song you want to see here. Just shoot me an email. Thanks for reading!

And watch the video people 🙂

“Colorado” [Kota the Friend]

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Good vibes and vacations. Here are the song lyrics along with some explanations for “Colorado” by Kota the Friend, from his Colorado album. Use the lyrics to practice your English and learn more about the culture. Also, the song has a really smooth beat, so listen to it below! Comment with suggestions for songs you want me to “explain” next. Here it is:

Bill collector knockin’ at the door

Baby momma yelling in my ear

Honestly, a lot is going on

  • This is another way to say that things are happening. “What’s going on?” “Nothing’s going on.”

Only thing is I don’t really care

  • *The only thing…

People wonder how I keep a smile

Tell ’em it’s ’cause I don’t give a f***

  • *I tell them it’s because… When you don’t give a “F,” this means that you don’t care (at all).

I’ve been in my slippers for a while

Even all my haters show me love, yeah

  • To “show love” can mean to show true romantic love like in a relationship. In other cases, it can mean to show respect, honor, or appreciation for someone. Even his haters (people that normally are against him) are now showing him respect.

I just wish ’em well though

  • To “wish someone well” is a common phrase, a good one to remember.

Hope you gettin’ money, hope you doin’ well, bro

Heard your sister love me, I’m in Colorado

  • *I heard your sister loves me…

Do not f****** at me, I been on vacation ’cause I need it badly

  • *I’ve been on vacation because… When he says “do not at me,” it reminds me of the more common phrase “Don’t come at me.” To come at someone means to criticize them, go after them in a mean way, or attack them somehow, usually with harsh words. Maybe he left out the “come”? If it is normal to say “don’t at me,” I just haven’t heard it before. It also sounds like he might be saying “do not add me” like on social media, but that doesn’t make as much sense in the context. The “F” word here just adds anger or emphasis to his statement. Also, needing something “badly” means that you really need it. “I wanted to get some ice cream so badly, but now I’m over it.”

Hotel California my escape

  • “Hotel California” is an old rock song by the Eagles. It is kind of a calm and relaxing song, at least for a rock song. His reference can be to the calm music, to a hotel (on vacation), and for California itself since California is a popular vacation spot and is known for generally good weather. Also, listen to “Hotel California” here.

P-P-Pulling up in Mexico with New York City plates, ayy

  • To “pull up” is to arrive at a place, usually in a car. “Plates” here refer to license plates on a car. Also, “ayy” is something you might hear frequently in music, especially in hip hop. It’s an expression that can be used in lots of situations usually to show excitement or that you like something.
California coast, Photo by Mike Fox on Unsplash

Neighbors want a photo when I visit where I stay, ayy

If you talking drama, get the f*** up out my face, ayy

  • *If you are talking… “Up” here has no real meaning. It just adds emphasis and feeling to his statement.

Dodging bad vibes like skrrt

A car “skrrt”-ing, Photo by Peter Zhurakhovsky on Unsplash
  • To “dodge” is to avoid. “Vibes,” I’m sure many of you know, are vibrations in the figurative sense. If something gives you good vibes, it makes you feel good, and the same goes for bad vibes. “Skrrt” is a sound you’ve heard a lot if you listen to recent hip hop or trap music (Migos, looking at y’all). It’s basically the sound a car’s wheels make when you drive away or turn fast. The idea in this song is that he is dodging bad vibes with a big turn, like how you might try to avoid an obstacle in the road.

Drama on my line like skrrt

  • His “line” is the group of people that message him or interact on social media. But skrrt, he’s avoiding it.

Left it in the past like skrrt

  • *I left it…

Getting to the bag like skrrt

  • To “get to the bag” means to make money since “bag” in general is a slang term for money. Also, in this sense, skrrt doesn’t mean he is avoiding something. It sounds more like he is driving in a hurry to go and make money.

Skrrt, skrrt, skrrt, skrrt

Skrrt, skrrt-skrrt, skrrt

Skrrt, skrrt, skrrt, skrrt

Skrrt, skrrt, skrrt, skrrt

People really think my life is perfect

Maybe ’cause I’m laughing through the worst s***

Yeah, I know the Devil is alive but

  • “The Devil is alive” is a popular phrase in the Christian community here in America. It basically means that the Devil is being active, working, and trying to make bad things happen. In a not-so-literally sense, it just means that something bad is trying to challenge us and get in our way. By acknowledging the Devil is alive, it’s like scaring away the bad thoughts or actions in some way. I feel like a lot of people also say “the Devil is a lie” without noticing any difference.

The way that I been moving got him nervous

  • *I’ve been moving has him nervous… To “get/have someone nervous” just means to make them nervous.

Mac, I hope you know you did your thing

  • Mac is referring to Mac Miller, a famous American rapper who died a few years ago due to a mixed drug and alcohol overdose. Saying someone “did their thing” is a form of admiration, meaning they did something well while being original and having fun with it. You can also wish someone to “do their thing” with the same meaning. “Man, you look like you’re having fun. Go do your thing.” It’s a type of compliment.
Miller performing in July 2017
Mac Miller, by Nicolas Völcker, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Get your rest ’cause, homie, you deserve it

  • “Homie” is a friend or trusted person, usually. Again, he is referencing Mac Miller and his early death. A similar phrase is “rest in peace.” To “rest” is a lighter way to refer to death, or someone being dead.

Ocean always deeper than it seem

  • *The ocean is always deeper than it seems…

And people only looking at the surface

  • *And people are only looking… The idea is like an iceberg. There’s much more under the surface.

Pa-paparazzi caught me hopping out my bag, ayy

  • I’m not sure if paparazzi is a common word in other languages. They are those reporters who go after and take photos of famous people. To “catch” here means to find someone. It usually means finding someone doing something that is not right or something the person is trying to hide. “I caught momma kissing Santa Claus” is a prime example. “Bag” in this lyric is a little confusing to me. In slang, it usually means money, goals, or a style. In this case, I can’t really tell. Is he hopping out of his money? Maybe he’s hopping out of his car, since “hop in/out” is usually used when talking about cars. Maybe there’s another meaning to “bag” that I don’t know about.

Hopping in the Uber on my way to get the bag, ayy

Used to drink a bottle every day ’cause I was sad, ayy

I hit up my dad like I hope that we could patch things

  • To “hit someone up” is to send them a message, like on your cell phone. To “patch” or “patch up” mean to fix something, usually a situation or relationship that has gone bad.

Women could not put me in my feelings, n****, f*** that

  • To be “put in your feelings” means to feel emotional or sensitive about something. It’s common to talk about this after a breakup or after being put down verbally by someone else. “F that” is a common curse to say that you don’t like something or don’t accept something.

If she do not want the realest n****, then she dumb wack

  • *If she does not want the most real n****, then she’s… I’m not sure that “realest” is a real word, but it sure is used a lot. It’s a popular term, especially used in the black community, and often referencing hip hop. To be “the realest” means to be someone who tells things truthfully, is strong, really good at what you do, and just all-around successful and confident. It’s basically a compliment that covers all good qualities. When a person or thing is “wack” it means you don’t like it or you think it’s stupid. “Turn this song off, I don’t like it. It’s wack.” “Dumb” here doesn’t mean stupid or unintelligent, though. It is like saying really or super. “If she doesn’t like me, then she’s super wack.” It can be positive too. “Kevin Hart is dumb funny! You should watch his standup.”

I don’t ever trip, but I bet that you would love that

  • To “trip” means to act out of character, act in a weird way, or be upset for no reason. “Why are you tripping, man? Calm down.” It can also mean to have weird experiences like hallucinations while high on drugs, but that’s in other situations.

I don’t ever trip, but I bet that you would love that

Then the lyrics repeat.

Oh, “Colorado.” It’s funny that Colorado isn’t even mentioned but once, I think, in the entire song. He talks about New York, Mexico, and California too. The point of the song isn’t Colorado itself, but he’s talking about getting away from the noise of New York, which is where Kota is from. The lyrics focus on him escaping bad vibes and noise and drama. He also brings up some issues that he’s going through, and how people usually judge what they see on the surface without considering the deeper pain or struggle in a person’s life. Kota is a person like us all, and we all go through things sometimes. He also adds a kind tribute to Mac Miller, which fits in nicely with the theme of going through struggles and trying to find an escape. Ultimately, it’s about getting out, ditching the drama, and making his bag.

Did you listen to the song? What did you think about the beat? Can you relate to some of Kota’s feelings and thoughts in your own life? Let me know down below! As always you can reach me by email at: tietewaller@gmail.com

Listen here:

“20 Dollar” [M.I.A.]

A flag featuring both cross and saltire in red, white and blue
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Flag of Sri Lanka
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AK’s and goat fry. Read the song lyrics below and learn some new English idioms, phrases, or cultural explanations. And don’t forget to watch the video and read more below!

War! War! War!

Talking about y’all’s such a bore

  • *Talking about you all is …

I’d rather talk about moi

  • “Moi” means “me” in French.

Like do you know the cost of AK’s up in Africa?

  • I’m sure you know, AK’s, or AK-47’s, are a type of assault rifle, probably the most referenced rifle in pop culture. Also, saying “up in” someplace is just a more colorful way to say “in” someplace. The “up” has no real meaning here.
AK-47 – Wikipédia, a enciclopédia livre
An AK-47 from Wikipedia

20 dollars ain’t s*** to you

  • 20 dollars isn’t… Saying that something “ain’t s**” or “isn’t worth s***” means it isn’t worth anything, doesn’t mean anything, or it has a super low value/cost.

But that’s how much they are

So they’re gonna use the s*** just to get far

  • To “go far” or “get far” usually means to become successful. “You have a great voice! You’re going to go far.” It can also mean to escape a current situation.

Is gold, diamonds helping ya?

  • *Are gold and diamonds helping you? “Ya” is a popular way for many English speakers to pronounce “you” informally.

Don’t you like my bandanna?

  • A bandanna is usually worn on the face of criminals, like bandits. It can also be used by liberation fighters, protestors, or rebels, which is what I assume M.I.A. is referring to.
Classic Black Paisley Bandana | Apparel @ Hoo-rag
A pandemic-style bandanna from Hoorag

My stains hang low, on my shirt’s like “Ay-ya-ya!

  • “Stains” might represent bloodstains, as with someone who has been fighting a tough battle. This phrase probably comes from a song by Jibbs called “Chain Hang Low.” It’s a hip-hop song that came out a year before this one, so it might have influenced M.I.A.’s lyric here. Stain rhymes with chain. That last “ay-ya-ya” is just something you might say if you’re stressed, upset, or confused. Listen to “Chain’s Hang Low” here.

Got monkey brains and banana

  • *I’ve got… “Monkey brains” or “banana brains” is another way of saying that someone has disorganized and wild thoughts, or that they’re a little crazy. A similar phrase is something is bananas. “This beat is bananas!”

I’ll hit you with my antenna

  • She is talking about a radio antenna. To “hit” someone, besides physically striking them, can also be to figuratively strike them. You can hit someone with a song, with some advice, or with your opinion, for example. Basically, M.I.A. will “hit” us with her music and her style on the radio. Also, hitting someone with a thin metal stick, like an antenna, makes me think of beating or whipping someone for discipline.

I put soap in my eye

Make it red so I look rawr-rawr-rawr!

  • I can’t tell if she’s saying “rawr” or “raw.” Either way, her red eyes will make her look scary, intimidating, or really cool. “Raw” in slang also has these meanings. “Rawr” is the sound a big cat makes, like a lion or tiger. Could be something to do with the Tamil Tigers, a guerrilla group in Sri Lanka that influenced M.I.A.’s family and ancestral country.

So I woke up with my Holy Quran and found out I like Cadillac

  • The way she says “Cadillac” almost sounds like she’s saying “Allah,” meaning God in Arabic. This plays with the previous line about the Quran. Cadillac is an American brand and a representation of a strong, American product. This line might mean that she read the Quran (the Arab/Eastern world) and decided she preferred the Cadillac (the American/Western world). Or, she read the Quran (religion) and decided she preferred a Cadillac (consumerism, buying things, earthly things). There could be a lot of interpretations from this quick lyric.

So we’re shooting until the song is up

  • If something “is up,” that means it ends. This is represented in the phrase, “You’re time is up.” Your time is finished.

Little boys are acting up

  • To “act up” is to be bad or misbehave. Kids are good at acting up.

And baby mothers are going crazy

  • This is related to “baby mama” which is a very popular way to refer to the mother of someone’s child. It has turned into a pop-culture reference to a certain class of people that is uneducated, has lots of babies outside of marriage, and is usually lower class or has bad taste. “What are you gonna do if you quit school? Turn into some guy’s baby mama?”

And the leaders all around cracking up

  • *And the leaders are all around … To “crack up” here means to laugh a lot, or laugh really loudly. “That joke always cracks me up!”

We goat-rich, we fry

  • *We’re goat rich… “Goat rich” isn’t a very popular term at least in American English. I can imagine that it refers to someone who has a lot of goats or livestock (animals for farming and produce). So M.I.A. and the people she represents are not rich in money, but have lots of livestock and make money in a simple, humble, and traditional way. In lots of poorer countries or regions, people still live off of trading and raising animals. Also, adding “rich” after a noun means that you have as much wealth as that thing. “I’m not Zuckerberg rich, but I make good money.”

Price of living in a shanty town just seems very high

  • *The price of … A shanty town is a type of improvised community for people who are either poor or live in extreme poverty. They are usually made of wood, tarp and other plastic, or anything sturdy enough to build a small improvised home. In some countries, these communities can be more dangerous, hold gang activity, trafficking, or just have bad sanitation. Another word for the same idea is “slum.” Shanty towns often start as temporary camps or communities that evolve over time into permanent neighborhoods or miniature towns. That’s why the price (emotionally, or for one’s wellbeing) of living in one can be high.
Shanty town along the Mekong River - Picture of Sundance Riverside Hotel,  Phnom Penh - Tripadvisor
A common shanty town/slum, TripAdvisor

But we still like T.I.

  • T.I. is a famous rapper from the U.S. who represents Atlanta, Georgia. This line can mean that even though they live in poor conditions, they still listen to American music, or hip hop, and still like to have fun.

But we still look fly

  • To “look fly” is to be dressed really nicely or have good style in appearance.

Dancing as we’re shooting up

  • Again, the “up” doesn’t necessarily have meaning. They might be shooting “up” into the sky, or shooting up a place (shooting it a bunch of times). This is similar to the idea to “beat up,” meaning to beat or hit a bunch of times.

And looting just to get by

  • To “loot” is to steal. It’s more of an old-fashioned word, and in the U.S. it reminds most people of pirates who would loot other ships. Also, “loot” can be an informal term for money, in general. Of course, to “get by” means to survive some situation or to get through something difficult.

With your feet on the air

Your head on the ground

Try this trick and spin it – yeah!

Your head’ll collapse when there’s nothin’ in it

And you’ll ask yourself

Where is my mind?

  • These four lines of the chorus were taken from a song by Pixies, “Where is My Mind.” Besides that, it’s just a really cool, trippy, interesting thing to put into a song. Listen to “Where is My Mind” here.

Where is my mind?

Where is my mind?

War! War! War!

Who made me like this?

Was it me and God in co-production?

My Devil’s on speed-dial

  • To have someone on “speed-dial” is to have their number saved and easily accessible. Basically, it means they’re the first person you call when you want something or they are your favorite person to talk to.

Every time I take the wrong direction

All I want is one thing and that is what you got

  • *that is what you’ve got. Or *that is what you have. To me, it also sounds like she could be saying “and that is what you want.” Either way, she wants what someone else has or desires.

Sometimes I go lose my mind, and I feel numb

There’s 24 hours in a day

  • *There are 24 hours …

I used to spilt it 8, 8, 8

That’s 8 – work, 8 – sleep, 8 for play!

Now I give it all it takes

  • To “give it all it takes” is to put in full effort, try as hard as you can.

Got people on the Internet with a new lack for the intellect

  • *You have people on … People on the internet have created a new way to be stupid, basically (lack of intellect). It almost sounds like she’s saying “a new life for the intellect,” but I’m not sure. “Lack” makes more sense to me, it sounds more like what she says, and it’s funnier.

People judge me so hard ’cause I don’t floss my titty set

  • *so hard because I don’t … To “floss” something means to show it off to others. This was before the “floss” dance, but it might be related (?). Titty is kind of a controversial word, and to lots of people, it can be offensive. I just wanted to note that it is a woman’s breast or boob.

I was born out of dirt like I’m porn in a skirt

  • I almost forgot to mention! So “dirty” can refer to something that is covered in dirt and has bad hygiene. It can also mean something that is naughty, sexual, or sleezy. So “dirt” here has a double meaning.

I was a little girl who made good, well au revoir, adieu

  • To “make good” is to make success or be successful at something. It usually has to do with monetary success. “Au revoir” and “adieu” mean See you later, and Goodbye in French. In many places of the English world, France is seen as a place that is rich, fancy, and high class. M.I.A. repeating French words in this song can be a reference to how other people might see her as fancy and high class now that she is making music on the radio and becoming famous. For her, this was especially true in the late 2000s.

I put people on the map that never seen a map

  • *that have never seen … Also, to be “put on the map” means that someone gets discovered by lots of people. They become a landmark much like the Statue of Liberty of Eiffel Tower (since we’re talking about France).

I’ve showed ’em something they’ve never seen

And hope they make it back!

  • “Make it back” here means to survive some wild situation, to come out on top, and to overcome. Think of a soldier “making it back” home after a war.

Then the lyrics repeat.

Sooo … This song is close and dear to my heart. It’s a song that made me fall in love with M.I.A., partly because of the weird and crazy instrumental, buzzing sounds, and her ominous chanting all throughout the song. But the lyrics are certainly a big source of my love for this song. It’s kind of a random song and the lyrics touch on multiple different issues. Most of the song is about M.I.A.’s newfound success and international fame, and how she is dealing with it. She talks about her humble beginnings, places she’s been and how hard life is in those places. She’s made success, but she doesn’t forget where she’s been. She definitely won’t let her listeners forget that there are places in the world where people make a living frying goats or where guns only cost 20 dollars, even if in the world of fame and fortune, that cost means almost nothing.

What did you think of this song? Can you understand her struggle between ridiculous wealth and cruel poverty? Do you know what M.I.A. stands for? Let me know in the comments! As always, if you want to send me a message or suggest a song for me to do next, please send me an email! tietewaller@gmail.com

Oh, and please listen to this song!

“Juice” [Lizzo]

Watch the video below–>

Mirror, mirror on the wall

  • This is from the fairy tale, Snow White, when the witch is admiring herself in the mirror.

Don’t say it ’cause I know I’m cute (Ooh, baby)

Louis down to my drawers

  • As in Louis Vuitton designer clothes. “Drawers” is another word for underwear, often pronounced “draws” for short. Basically, all her clothing is expensive, even the underwear.

LV all on my shoes (Ooh, baby)

  • “LV” and “Louis” are both common abbreviations for Louis Vuitton.

I be drippin‘ so much sauce

  • *I am dripping… In slang, “sauce” is confidence, swag, good looks, etc. To “drip” then refers to someone being so full of confidence and swag that it is dripping off of them like water. A similar word is “drip.” (“Do you like my drip?”)

Got a bih lookin’ like RAGÚ (Ooh, baby)

  • “Bih” is another way to say the B-word without sounding too vulgar or just to be funny. RAGÚ is a brand of Italian tomato sauce, referencing her “sauce” from the previous line. A similar line was made popular in the song “Party” by Beyoncé, where Kanye West says, “You got the swag sauce, she dripping Swagu” (swag and RAGÚ). Listen to that song here
Ragu Old World Style Traditional Pasta Sauce ‑ Shop Pasta Sauces at H‑E‑B
Image from here

Lit up like a crystal ball

  • “Lit” is a way to say that something is exciting, or you have lots of energy, are having fun, etc. (“I am lit 24-7.”) (“That was a lit party.”) But she compares this slang meaning of lit to the literal meaning: to show light. Also, the crystal ball is in reference to mystical things and fairy tales, like from the first line.

That’s cool, baby, so is you

  • *So are you

That’s how I roll

  • This phrase is used to explain that this is the way a person is, usually because of some good quality. (“You always wear the best clothes, girl.” “You know, that’s how I roll!”) A similar phrase is “That’s how I do.”

If I’m shinin‘, everybody gonna shine (Yeah, I’m goals)

  • *Everybody is going to shine… To “shine,” besides talking about light, can also describe someone who does really amazing things, shows off a lot, or is really intelligent. (“I suck at physics! But math is where I shine.”) “Goals” comes from social media. It just means that whatever someone is doing is so good that it represents what other people should do. Most popularly with relationships. (“Mark and Susan are such a cute couple! That’s goals.”)

I was born like this, don’t even gotta try (Now you know)

  • *I don’t even have to try…

I’m like chardonnay, get better over time (So you know)

Heard you say I’m not the baddest, b****, you lie (Haha)

  • A “bad b****” is a woman who is really good at what she does, really confident, pretty, and has lots of good qualities. Confidence is the main factor, though. Although it sounds really offensive, it’s actually a compliment in most informal cases.

It ain’t my fault that I’m out here gettin’ loose

  • *It’s not my… To “get loose” is to let go of anxiety or fear, have fun, release your energy, and things like that. Similar verbs are to “let loose” and “cut loose.” People also use it to stretch and warm up muscles before an exercise. (“Let’s start the game!” “Wait, I need to get loose first.”)

Gotta blame it on the Goose

  • *You have to blame… Grey Goose is a brand of vodka. This line refers to a popular song by Jamie Foxx where he says, “Blame it on the Goose … Blame it on the alcohol.” Listen to that song here

Gotta blame it on my juice, baby

  • “Juice” can have lots of meanings in slang. Here, it’s more ambiguous (not concrete). She probably uses it to say her power, confidence, showiness, sexiness, etc.

It ain’t my fault that I’m out here makin’ news

  • Not actually “making” the news. She’s appearing in the news, doing big things.

I’m the pudding in the proof

  • This comes from a saying; “The proof is in the pudding.” It means that something is good because you can try it or prove it, usually as an incentive to convince someone that something is really good. Lizzo changes it, making herself sound like the source of the goodness/tastiness. She is the whole pudding.

Gotta blame it on my juice

Ya-ya-ee, ya-ya-ee, ya-ya-ee, ya-ya-ee

Blame it on my juice, blame it, blame it on my juice

Ya-ya-ee, ya-ya-ee, ya-ya-ee, ya-ya-ee

Blame it on my juice, blame it, blame it on my juice (Ooh, baby)

No, I’m not a snack at all

  • A “snack” is a small meal. In slang, it refers to a person, usually a woman, that is attractive.

Look, baby, I’m the whole damn meal (Ooh, baby)

  • So she’s not saying that she is not attractive, but super attractive. A big “snack.”

David, you ain’t bein’ slick

  • To be “slick” is to try to trick or fool someone. (“You’re not slick, I see what you’re trying to do.”)

Don’t dare try to cop a feel (Ooh, baby)

  • To “cop” something is to get it or try to get it. “Cop a feel” means to try to touch someone, usually in a sensual way. This plays on the name of famous magician, David Copperfield. David, cop a feel. They kind of rhyme.

The juice ain’t worth the squeeze

  • Again, playing on the slang meaning of “juice.” Referring to those juice boxes or packets that you have to squeeze to drink from.
OCEAN SPRAY 100% ORANGE JUICE, 4.2 OUNCE JUICE BOX (PACK OF 40) -  GTIN/EAN/UPC 31200238566 - Cadastro de Produto com Tributação e NCM - Cosmos
Image from here

If the juice don’t look like this (Like this, like this, like this)

  • *juice doesn’t look like…

Hold up, n****, please

  • “Hold up” means wait, wait a minute. “Please” when said like this is the same as telling someone to stop or not think about it, like “stop dreaming.” (“I want to take you out to dinner.” “Boy, please! You don’t even have a car.”)

Don’t make me have to take your b****, s*** (How I roll)

If I’m shinin’, everybody gonna shine (Yeah, I’m goals)

I was born like this, don’t even gotta try (Now you know)

I’m like chardonnay (Okay), get better over time (So you know)

Heard you say I’m not the baddest, b****, you lie (You lie)

It ain’t my fault that I’m out here gettin’ loose

Gotta blame it on the Goose

Gotta blame it on my juice, baby

It ain’t my fault that I’m out here makin’ news

I’m the pudding in the proof

Gotta blame it on my juice

Ya-ya-ee (Ya-ya-ee), ya-ya-ee, ya-ya-ee, ya-ya-ee

Blame it on my juice, blame it, blame it on my juice

Ya-ya-ee (Ya-ya-ee), ya-ya-ee, ya-ya-ee, ya-ya-ee

Blame it on my juice, blame it, blame it on my juice (Alright)

Ya-ya-ee

Somebody come get this man

I think he got lost in my DMs, what? My DMs, what?

  • “DM’s” on social media are Direct Messages. To “get lost” in them is like sending someone lots of messages because they really like that person, almost like they’re obsessed.

You better come get your man

  • “You better” is an expression used to tell someone what they need to do. It can either be a piece of advise, or a demand from an authority, like one’s parents. (“You better clean your room, or we’re not leaving.”)

I think he wanna be way more than friends, what?

  • Saying “way” like this means a lot or much. (“I’m sorry, but you were way wrong.”) (“They paid, but I can pay way more.”)

More than friends

What you want me to say?

  • *What do you want…

Lizzo makes a lot of songs about loving oneself, being confident, and appreciating one’s own style and body. This song is no different. The whole concept of the “juice” is this sexiness and swag that she has. She does use more informal English that mostly wouldn’t be acceptable in a professional setting, but is great for using in casual settings or with family and friends. The song is very positive and upbeat. What was your impression of this song? Did you understand it? Do you want to have “juice” like Lizzo? Let me know in the comments!

Video here:

“Alright” [Kendrick Lamar]

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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:

“Child” [Lights]

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Video below –>

What is this about? _ Where is everybody going? _ What am I doing here?

  • She seems very uncertain about her place in the world.

Can’t separate what I really need to know and _ What I just want to hear

  • *I can’t separate… This is related to today’s media in part since we hear so much information on TV and social media that it’s hard to decide what’s important and what’s not. Also, there may be some trouble deciding between what’s true and what she just wants to accept as true, similar to the whole “fake news” deal.

Maybe I’m alone _ Maybe everybody’s lost too _ Looking for a way out

  • She’s not sure if she’s the only one or if everyone is struggling with this. Problems of our times.

Maybe I don’t know _ Maybe I don’t even want to _ Just don’t want to be let down

  • *I just don’t… To “be let down” is to be disappointed because your expectations were not met.

There is no sureness, I kind of just stumble along

  • “Kind of” is a very popular term in common speech. It often shows that the speaker is not sure or is explaining something that they’re unsure about. It’s also used a lot just to take up space so that the speaker has time to think while they talk. “I just kind of need some help.” We also use it to mean “a little.” “I kind of liked that show, a little bit.” Different from when we use it to talk about a type of something. “Football is a kind of sport.” That’s a completely different usage.

There must be purpose in trying to keep on

  • *There must be a purpose… To “keep on” is to continue with something. In this case, it sounds like she’s questioning if there is a purpose to keep living, working hard, dealing with other people, etc. The tone is not suicidal or depressed, though; she seems to be just questioning the world and people’s motives.

What do I know? _ I’m a child _ Just trying to talk like a mother does

  • She says she’s not really a grownup but a child who is acting like she thinks an adult should act. A little girl in a grown woman’s costume, to put it one way.

Seeing life come and go all the time _ It’s never as long as you wish it was _ oh-oh-oh _ Maybe I’m still trying to see like a child does

  • It sounds like she’s saying that life or childhood don’t last as long as you wish they would. Even as an adult, she’s still trying to be confident and not worry about things, just like children do.

And I always feel like I did when I was younger _ Can’t talk sense into me

  • *You can’t talk sense… To “talk sense into someone” means that you give them some advice to make them wiser. She’s saying that people try to give her advice and help her, but she denies it and does what she wants anyway. This behavior is similar to a stubborn child, which is why she makes the connection.

How do you decide when to know or how to wonder _ Or how to just get free?

  • Here, “get free” means to free oneself from undesired situations, like the stress of social media, the news, and living in a complicated modern world. She struggles between knowing when to be a teacher and give information, when to ask questions and learn, and when to just accept things for what they are and not worry about them. She says a lot with just a few words.

There’s no certainty _ I kind of just stumble along _ Doesn’t bother me

  • *It doesn’t bother me… Her not using a subject in many of her sentences makes the lyrics seem very casual and relaxed, the same way she might talk in regular situations.

I’m trying to keep on

  • She says stumbling (making mistakes) doesn’t bother her, but she’s trying to “keep on.” This makes it feel like “keeping on” is not a huge struggle in her life. Maybe, like most people, she has accepted that there will be difficult times and that she will make mistakes. But she’s trying, and that’s the best she can do.

What do I know? _ I’m a child _ Just trying to talk like a mother does _ Seeing life come and go all the time _ It’s never as long as you wish it was, oh-oh-oh _ Maybe I’m still trying to see like a child does _ I’ve seen both sides of the door _ I’m not a child anymore _ But I can stand in it the way I did when I was a kid

  • She’s been a child and an adult, so she knows how both sides feel. Standing in the door gives the sense that she continues to be rebellious and speak her mind or be stubborn like she was when she was a child, at least when she wants to. She still keeps part of her “inner child” with her, both the bad parts (being stubborn, naïve, insecure, making mistakes) and the good parts (being outspoken, being confident, not worrying too much about life).

Then the lyrics repeat.

  • *Just a note: Child and kid mean the same thing, as with children and kids. Kid is more commonly used and sounds more natural in most situations, though child tends to be used in more serious situations.
    • “Do you want to play with the kids down the street?”
    • “Hey, you stay away from my child!”

Watch the video here:

“Jesus He Knows Me” [Genesis]

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Watch the video below –>

D’you see the face on the TV screen coming at you every Sunday? _ See the face on the billboard? _ Well, that man is me

  • *Do you see the face…? He says Sunday as a reference to being a holy or spiritual figure.

On the cover of a magazine _ There’s no question why I’m smiling _ You buy a piece of paradise, you buy a piece of me

  • Buying a piece of paradise has the same feeling as buying a plot of land as if going to heaven were a business transaction.

I’ll get you everything you wanted _ I’ll get you everything you need _ You don’t need to believe in the hereafter

  • The “hereafter” is another way to talk about life after death.

Just believe in me _ ‘Cause Jesus, he knows me _ And he knows I’m right _ I’ve been talking to Jesus _ All my life _ Oh yes, he knows me _ And he knows I’m right _ Well, he’s been telling me everything is alright _ I believe in the family _ With my ever-loving wife beside me

  • Putting “ever” before some verbs can make them mean that something is lasting or persisting. “He is ever talking about that same TV show.” Ever-loving is the most popular usage, though, especially in music.

But she don’t know about my girlfriend _ Or the man I met last night

  • *She doesn’t know about… His wife doesn’t know about his undercover actions. It presents how, often, people who show to be perfect in front of others have problems and secrets like anyone else, even religious leaders.

Do you believe in God? _ ‘Cause that is what I’m selling

  • He’s using the image or idea of God to make money and fame.

And if you wanna get to heaven _ Well, I’ll see you right

  • “I’ll see you right” means that he’ll make what you want happen.

You won’t even have to leave your house _ Or get out of your chair _ You don’t even have to touch that dial _ ‘Cause I’m everywhere

  • “Don’t touch that dial” has been a popular phrase on TV commercials and programs where the presenter tries to keep the attention of the audience. “Dial” is another word for “remote control.” He’s “everywhere” references the omnipresence of God, being everywhere. However, he is everywhere in the sense of media, like on TV, magazines, radio, etc. He’s also making it as easy as possible to participate in his “scheme,” since you can even join inside your house from a chair.

Jesus, he knows me _ And he knows I’m right _ I’ve been talking to Jesus _ All my life _ Oh yes, he knows me _ And he knows I’m right _ Well, he’s been telling me everything’s gonna be alright _ Won’t find me practicing what I’m preaching

  • *You won’t find me… “Practice what you preach” is a common way to say that someone actually does (or should do) what they say they are going to do. “You need to practice what you preach, man.”

Won’t find me making no sacrifice

  • Double negatives! *You won’t find me making any sacrifices. He might be using incorrect grammar on purpose to show the ignorance or lack of professionalism of the types of people who try to cheat others.

But I can get you a pocketful of miracles

  • This “pocketful of miracles” sounds like it’s from a book or movie. Sometimes using “a pocketful” makes the object a lot more dreamy and positive. Think of that song “Pocketful of Sunshine” by Natasha Bedingfield.

If you promise to be good, try to be nice _ God will take good care of you _ Well, just do as I say, don’t do as I do

  • It sounds like a church sermon! Except at the end, there is a twist. The ultimate phrase of a hypocrite.

Well, I’m counting my blessings _ As I’ve found true happiness _ ‘Cause I’m a-getting richer _ Day by day

  • To “count blessings” is to show gratitude or think of ways that you are grateful for something. He says, “I’m a-getting—” It’s an old-fashioned way to talk, but used nowadays sarcastically. It doesn’t really mean anything itself. “He’s a-running, he’s a-going!”

You can find me in the phone book _ Just call my toll-free number

  • “Call our toll-free number” is a popular phrase in advertising to get people to call and ask about a product. It means that the call is free.

You can do it any way you want _ Just do it right away

  • “Right away” means “right now,” just in case you didn’t know.

And there’ll be no doubt in your mind _ You’ll believe everything I’m saying _ If you wanna get closer to Him _ Get on your knees and start paying

  • “Him” with a capital “H” is used to refer to God or Jesus, generally. He plays with the idea of getting on your knees to pray, but he says instead to pay. Essentially, the “worship” is directed toward him and not to God. Again, hypocrisy.

Cause Jesus, he knows me _ And he knows I’m right _ I’ve been talking to Jesus _ All my life _ Oh yes, he knows me _ And he knows I’m right _ Well, he’s been telling me everything’s gonna be alright

  • It seems like he is two people in this song. Phil as a preacher is saying that Jesus knows he’s right and supports his claims. This is how corrupt religious leaders justify their followers’ having to pay for services, saying that “Jesus knows I’m right!” But, Phil as the singer of Genesis is saying that he knows what Jesus wants and, maybe, it’s to prove how corrupt these false leaders are. It might not really be about Jesus, but about pure intentions vs. corruption and hypocrisy, since I’m not sure if Genesis were ever religious or not.

And the lyrics repeat.

Watch and listen here:

“i like the devil” [Purity Ring]

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Video and more explanation below–>

Mother laid her elbows on the bed _ Whispering the wishes to the threads

  • Whispering wishes” gives the sensation of praying, especially with her elbows on the bed, like the traditional form of praying on one’s bedside. “The threads” can refer to the bedsheets, but more figuratively may refer to the Fates in Greek mythology. They were a group of goddesses that decided the fate of people by weaving and cutting their “life” threads.

Weaving in the weight of all our dread _ Wiping up the stains of our regret

  • “Weaving” here refers to the threads from before. You can also “weave through” something, as in to bend your way through a tough situation or difficult information. “Wiping up” gives the idea that she’s cleaning up her past difficulties and regrets.

Heal her hands by kneading up the bread _ Cleaning off her fingers as she wept

  • Kneading is the process of stretching and molding dough before you make bread. Dough is soft and so has a healing sensation to the hands. It also refers to a woman who had past difficulties and tries to heal by doing something traditionally for women, like making food. “Cleaning off her fingers” is washing off those past mistakes, along with the sticky dough.

Lurk within her gleaming silhouette _ Then seal in our wonder to ferment

  • Below her pretty outer image is a kind of danger or ugliness. We use “lurk” to talk about something dangerous or ominous, like a monster, that is hiding somewhere. Ferment is the process which allows dough to grow, cheese and butter to harden, and so on. We also use ferment to show how something bad, ugly or evil can rot and grow over time within a person. It sounds like this woman tries to hide her past inside this image of what a good woman should be, but her problems are slowly growing and causing her damage from within.

I, like the devil, can fly _ And I read her sweet mind last night, and _ I, like God, can fly _ And I held a candle over her fright

  • Referring to herself as the devil and God references how women have historically been perceived both as something perfect and saintly, as well as something evil and wicked. Reading thoughts and using candles have a mystic or religious feeling too. Partly, she’s saying that she, like all people, have the capacity to be good and bad, or we all have a little bit of God and the devil in us. It’s also a reference to an old way of speaking that’s not really used anymore. “Run like the devil,” and “Talk like the devil.” It’s like saying someone runs, talks, or flies really fast. Megan doesn’t mean it in this way, but she’s playing with the meanings of words.

What is happiness but a word? _ Spoken from on high for what it’s worth

  • She’s questioning what it means to be truly happy, and refers to how happiness is often dictated to women, or people in general, from another source. Usually, it’s someone in power, “from on high.”

Flown beneath the wings of little birds _ But I have felt the wind crawl where we’re cursed

  • Happiness can be found in simple things like watching birds fly. Also there’s a sense that messages from those in power come to us from small messengers, like with carrier pigeons that used to deliver things. She has felt happiness or joy in situations or places that are looked down upon or not accepted by certain people.

Find us in the folded parts she pressed _ Lying in positions like we’ve slept

  • “Folded parts she pressed” gives the idea that her curse as a woman comes from her “hidden parts,” whether physical or emotional. It also sounds like folding clothes, so the curse may come from simply being a woman, a mother, etc. Positions like we’ve slept reminds me of the fetal position, like how babies sleep. It might refer to an actual fetus or baby being a source of happiness, or life in general. It can also be another reference to womanhood or motherhood being a joy and a curse. The theme of a baby also fits in with the album’s title, WOMB.

Find us in the hallows of her chest _ Lying in positions, like we’ve slept

  • “In the hallows of her chest” refers to the heart, and love overall. Hallows also makes it sound more holy or saintly. Repeating “lying in positions” is again a reference to babies, motherhood, etc. Happiness can then be found in the heart, love, and womanhood. Again, there’s a sense that all of this is a curse and a blessing at the same time.

I, like the devil, can fly _ And I read her sweet mind last night, and _ I, like God, can fly _ And I held a candle over her fright _ I, like the devil, can fly

  • I also want to point out that the title is intentionally misleading. “I like the devil” sounds like she will talk about how she likes or worships the devil. However, we clearly see that she uses this phrasing to compare herself (her actions, intentions) to the devil, and later, to God.

A better and more in-depth look at the lyrics. Please read to learn more: https://medium.com/an-injustice/i-like-the-devil-purity-rings-prayer-for-a-balanced-perspective-on-feminism-and-womanhood-1d0833d41d4f

Watch it here:

“So Ambitious” [Jay-Z, feat. Pharrell]

United States Flag

Video down below –>

Yeah _ 3 in the morning on the Westside highway, top down baby

  • Top down” refers to being in a convertible top car.

F*** y’all _ The motivation for me was them telling me what I could not be _ Oh well

  • “Oh well” is a common response to an ironic situation, or to a situation that is out of your or another person’s control. It’s meant show that something was not a big deal. “No! I dropped my ice cream. Oh well, I’ll just buy another one.”

This a special dedication _ I wanna thank you for the fuel

  • *This is a special dedication. “Fuel” here refers to something that drives Jay-Z to be successful, much like fuel in a car.

No really, thank you

  • “No really” is said to confirm that you were serious about what you said. “Joe, I like your artwork. No really, I do.”

I felt so inspired by what my teacher said _ Said I’d either be dead or be a reefer head

  • “Reefer” is another word for cannabis, or weed. We often add the word “head” to say that someone is an addict, such as with Crackhead, Cokehead. It’s a terrible thing to say to a student though. Poor Jay.

Not sure if that’s how adults should speak to kids

  • *I’m not sure…

Especially when the only thing I did was speak in class _ I teach his a**

  • *I’ll teach his… A note, when people use the “a” word like this, they don’t literally mean “I’ll teach his behind.” Unless it’s a clear reference to a person’s butt, the “a” word is meant just to emphasize the statement. “I’ll teach him.” /correct/ “I’ll teach his a**.” /more emphasis/

Even better’s what my uncle did _ I pop my demo tape in and start to beat my head

  • “Pop something in” here means to put it in, so he put the demo tape into the tape player. “Beat” here means to move his head to the rhythm of the music.

Peeked out my eye, see if he was beating his _ He might as well have said beat it kid, he’s on the list

  • “Peek” is to look secretly or subtly at something. Here he changes the meaning of beat. “Beat it” sometimes is used to tell someone to go away, get lost. It seems that his uncle didn’t approve of his music, so he’s on “the list” of people who didn’t approve of him in the past. Similar to a “black list.”

It’s like I’m searching for kicks like a sneaker head

  • He uses two meanings of “kicks” here. “Searching for kicks” refers to him looking for excitement or adrenaline. But “kicks” can also mean tennis shoes. Again, “head” is used here to compare him to a shoe addict. He plays on the two meanings of kicks in the same line.

He gon’ keep pushing me until I reach the ledge _ And when I reach the ledge I’ll tell ’em all to eat a d***

  • *He’s going to keep… “The ledge” is the final point of what someone can handle under pressure, much like the edge of a cliff. That last part is just an insult that people say sometimes.

Take a leap of faith and let my eagle wings spread _ Spread spread

  • “A leap of faith” is to put yourself into a situation in faith that it will all be okay. Eagle wings remind me of the song “Fly Like an Eagle” by the Steve Miller Band. He won’t fall, but he’ll fly like an eagle. Figuratively, of course.

The motivation for me was them telling me what I could not be _ Oh well _ I’m so ambitious _ I might hit two sisters

  • “Hit” can be used sensually to say that you will sleep with someone. “Sisters” and “brothers” is usually an affectionate way for the African American community to refer to each other, or to black people in general.

Hey, I’m on a mission _ No matter what the conditions _ Forget the personal issues _ When you know what I been through

  • *What I’ve been through

Hey if you believe it _ Then you could conceive it

  • You have to believe in something to make it happen.

I had to lace up my boots even harder _ Father is too far away to father

  • “Lacing up bootstraps” is a common idiom that means you have to be strong and endure through something that is difficult. He’s saying his dad was not around to be a good father.

Further-more of the kids either smoke reefer _ Or either move white, there’s few writers in my cipher

  • He separates the word “furthermore” so that it makes sense in the lyric. *More of the kids… He uses a different pronunciation of “either” here to rhyme with cipher later on. Both pronunciations of “either” and “neither” are acceptable in English, by the way. To “move white” is to sell crack or cocaine, not that you’ll need to know that. *There are few writers… A “cipher” is a set of raps that a rapper does, or a situation where rappers come together to practice rapping with each other.

So they made lighter

  • They made it lighter, so good rappers started to fall away while he had more success. The bad artists were dropped like bad weight.

My type of dreams seem dumb _ They said wise up, how many guys’a you see making it from here?

  • To “wise up” is to become wise. *How many guys do you see… To “make it” is to have success in general, with the idea of making it out of the ghetto (poor/bad neighborhoods) in this case.

The world don’t like us, is that not clear?

  • *The world doesn’t like us. “Us” most likely refers to black people or poor/underprivileged people. It can also refer to people who make rap music, since rap was much less accepted when Jay-Z was younger than it is now.

Alright, but I’m different _ I can’t base what I’m gonna be off a what everybody isn’t

  • *Off of what everybody… This is a great message. Be unique!

They don’t listen, just whispering behind my back _ No vision, lack of ambition _ So wack!

  • “Vision” here refers to having dreams, wanting to do something big in the world. “Wack” means that something is not good, not cool, or has bad quality. He’s referring to people who don’t have ambition, or didn’t take the time to listen to his dreams.

Motivation for me was them telling me what I could not be _ Oh well _ I’m so ambitious _ I might hit two sisters _ Hey I’m on a mission _ No matter what the conditions _ Forget the personal issues _ When you know what I been through _ Hey if you believe it _ Then you could conceive it _ Had a couple of meetings no offers yet _ Maybe I ain’t good enough for these offices

  • *Maybe I’m not good enough…

Back to the drawing board, ducking officers

  • “Back to the drawing board” is a common phrase meaning to get back to work on a plan that failed. “Duck” here means to avoid or dodge something. Like when someone throws a rock at your head, a friend might yell, “Duck!” so that you can avoid getting hit. Basically, he’s going back to illegal activity since he’s trying to avoid police officers.

It’s all good ’cause the streets is A&R’ing this

  • “A&R” (Artists and Repertoire) is a division of a record company that is responsible for scouting and searching for new talent. He means that the streets (the common people from his community) are going to support him, since he doesn’t get support from big music companies. “It’s all good” is a great way to say that things are fine, especially after a setback. “How do you feel?” “I feel a little sick, but it’s all good. I’ll feel better tomorrow.”

So with or without any of your involvement _ We coming for all of this, respect my conglomerate _ I went from pauper to the President

  • “Pauper” is a very poor person. It’s not used very much anymore, but was made popular by old books and stories that tell of poor people turning into kings and nobles, especially from Britain. *We’re coming…

‘Cause every deal I ever made set precedent

  • To “set a precedent” is to set a standard for how things should be done. It means that he made big changes in the industry.

N***** thought I’d fall without old buddy _ Oh buddy, what I do is make more money

  • “Old buddy” is a common way for people in some communities to refer to a person indirectly when they don’t want to say the name. Same with “old girl,” and “old dude.” “Oh buddy” is a way to show excitement or to emphasize something. It’s usually used as a joke or to be funny. “Oh buddy, we’re gonna have a good time!”

Dear Teacher, your probably somewhere near a speaker _ I’m balling outta control, can you hear my sneakers?

  • To “ball” is to have lots of success and make lots of money. In sports, it means to play extremely well, which is why he asks about his sneakers (sports shoes). He’s not really playing sports, but it’s a reference to the two meanings of balling. *Balling out of control. “Dear [Person]” is the way we usually start a formal letter in English. It’s as if Jay is sending his message directly to his teacher by song.

F*** y’all _ (Word up, Fly, High)

  • “Word up” is a way to say that what you’re saying is true, or to call attention to what someone said. “Hey, word up. I’m about to make some real money.” To be “fly” is to be successful, stylish, have nice clothes, and have a winning attitude all in one.

The motivation for me was them telling me what I could not be _ Oh well _ I’m so ambitious _ I might hit two sisters _ Hey I’m on a mission _ No matter what the conditions _ Forget the personal issues _ When you know what I been through _ Hey if you believe it _ (Then be) _ Then you could conceive it (You see?)

  • “Do you see?” is a popular way to ask if someone understands.

The motivation for me was them telling me what I could not be

Listen to the song here: