“Don’t Start” [Dua Lipa]

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Video down below–>

If you don’t wanna see me

  • *If you don’t want to…

Did a full 180, crazy

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

Thinking ’bout the way I was

Did the heartbreak change me? Maybe

But look at where I ended up

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

I’m all good already

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

So moved on, it’s scary

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

I’m not where you left me at all, so

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

If you don’t wanna see me dancing with somebody

If you wanna believe that anything could stop me

Don’t show up, don’t come out

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

Don’t start caring about me now

Walk away, you know how

Don’t start caring about me now

Aren’t you the guy who tried to

Hurt me with the word “goodbye”?

Though it took some time to survive you

I’m better on the other side

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

I’m all good already

So moved on, it’s scary

I’m not where you left me at all, so

If you don’t wanna see me dancing with somebody

If you wanna believe that anything could stop me

(Don’t, don’t, don’t)

Don’t show up, don’t come out

Don’t start caring about me now

Walk away, you know how

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

.

Then the lyrics repeat.

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

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

Watch the video too:

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

“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:

“The Ghost Who Walks” [Karen Elson]

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View the video below–>

The ghost who walks, she’s on the prowl

  • “On the prowl” is used generally for predators or hunters, as with a lion or shark. Searching for a victim.

For the man she loved, he cut her down

  • This is an artistic or lyrical way of speaking and is not common in regular speech. “For” means “because” here. “Because the man she loved cut her down.” She could also be on the prowl for this man, so it has a bit of double meaning. “He cut her down” is a lighter way of saying he killed her.

It was an ordinary night in June

When he drove her to the lake so they could watch the full moon

The ghost who walks she’s on the prowl

For the man she loved, he laid her down

  • Sometimes, saying “lay” referring to a person has a sexual meaning. “He laid with her last night.” It’s a bit old-fashioned though. “Laid” here probably uses both sensual and physical meanings.

In the tall grass he kissed her cheek

But with a knife in his hand he plunged it in deep

She looked at him with pleading eyes

  • “Pleading eyes” are associated with a victim begging not to be attacked or killed.

He softly spoke, My dear, the love has died

And then he muffled her desperate cries under the moonlight

The ghost who walks, she’s on the prowl

Wanders in the moonlight, she’s crying to herself

  • *She wanders in the moonlight…

Because his eyes never looked cruel

But the moon in the blade, it shimmered like a jewel

She looked at him with pleading eyes

He softly spoke, My dear, the love has died

And then he muffled her deadly cries under the moonlight

Under the moonlight

Under the moonlight

Under the moonlight

The lyrics are written in a very literary, poetic way. Karen wants the song to sound old-fashioned on purpose, since the story sounds like an old ghost mystery tale. Instead of singing about feelings or partying, she tells a story of a woman who was taken by her man to a field, seemingly a nice and innocent guy. He was never cruel to her before, but he “snaps” and kills her, admitting that their love has died, or ended. The only witness of the murder was the moon above. Her ghost floats around trying to find the man who murdered her. Kind of dark, but it’s an interesting change of pace to most current song lyrics.

Watch here:

“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, naĂŻve, 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]

Flag of the United States

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: