Wrap Up of the Past Weeks

Welcome to the newest post of Understanding the Rhymes.  Instead of analyzing song lyrics this week, this post we will be a reflection on the blog so far.  Feel free to post in the comments section what songs you would like to see analyzed in the future.

Writing this blog has been a great experience so far.  When thinking of blogging, I never thought this topic would be an option.  I used to think of blogs as being geared towards moms with topics such as cooking.  Thankfully I received the opportunity to start my own blog, and of course, had to do a topic relating to my passion; hip-hop.  Because there are hip-hop blogs already on the internet, I had to come up with an original topic.  The chosen topic was obviously analyzing song lyrics and I am extremely glad this was the topic I chose.

I planned to write this blog to be able to inform listeners on the deeper meaning of certain songs.  Not only have I achieved this, in the process I have learned much more about these songs.  This process did not take long and I ended up realizing this on my first post; Uncle Sam Goddam.  I did not see this coming and did not think I would be getting positives out of my own blog.  Reading comments from you guys as readers, seeing that my posts are actually being read through site statistics, and the unexpected element of learning more about songs already familiar to me have been my favorite aspects in writing.  I hope you all have enjoyed the blog so far and would love to keep hearing what songs you all would like analyzed.  Until next post….

On a side note….The Stimulated All Stars request is on the way…sorry for the delay.  Hope you are still interested.


Hopsin- The Ill Mind of Hopsin 5

Welcome to this week’s post of Understanding the Rhymes.  Social media has opened the door for many rappers to become popular.  In particular is Hopsin, an up and coming rapper that became successful in a completely different way than the norm.  One pattern that rappers consistently use is the long process of releasing a studio-produced album followed by a nation-wide or even international tour.  This process is successful when already popular, but the incentive to buy an album from an unknown name is often low and with no album sales it is hard to put together an international tour.


The consistent pattern for “underground” rappers trying to obtain mainstream audiences is releasing a free mixtape.  This is like an album but often self-produced, taking less time to develop.  After a mixtape release, it is common for a small, regional tour.  Instead of building up for an album and huge tour, mixtapes are released more often and are followed by reoccurring, smaller tours in order to gain more fans and reach new audiences.  Hopsin is an exception.  After trying both albums and mixtapes, he was not becoming successful on the level he wanted.  Not wanting to give up, Hopsin turned to an alternate method.  The future star began to release new music via YouTube.  He released a song titled “The Ill Mind of Hopsin,” which was loved by viewers.  Trying to build from this success, he started a series of these songs releasing “The Ill Mind of Hopsin 2.” After even more popularity he released a 3rd and 4th installment along with other various music videos not in the series mixed in between releases.  Finally, Hopsin was building a strong fan-base.  With each release he gained more and more YouTube views.  Without even needing an album or mixtape, Hopsin could begin to tour with only his YouTube hits on his set-list.  The release of the newest installment, “The Ill Mind of Hopsin 5” was huge.  Currently it has been available on YouTube for just over 3 months and has north of 20 million views.The lyrics are extremely powerful and the link to the song is located below, followed by the written lyrics.  Due to its length, only his first section will be analyzed on this week’s post. If anyone would like to read a full analysis or another specific section, post so in the comments.

*Warning- Explicit lyrics*


Man I hate rap, but if the shoe fits wear it.
I’ve become a freak of nature all the kids stare at.
Who walk around bumping RAW with the shit blaring, saying fuck school and dropping out like a miscarriage.
I’m embarrassed, and I’m ashamed I’ve played a part in this devilish game making your common sense perish.
But I ain’t taking the full blame cause most of you chumps running around here ain’t never had strict parents.
All of your brain cells rotting from weed.
You feeling like if you ain’t got it your life’s not as complete.
You having sex with every motherfucking\’ body you see.
With a past so dark, that Satan’d jump out of his seat.
But still you out in these streets, thinking you hot as can be.
Without the knowledge to lead, so you just follow the sheep.
Making sure your lame swag is all polished and clean.
While your favorite rappers like, yeah he got it from me.
You’ve been brainwashed by a fake life that you’re used to livin.’
When I say the word fun, what do you envision?
Probably drinking and smoking out with your crew and chilling with clueless women you try and bang, bumping new edition.
Is that all you think life really is?
Well if so, then you’re a fucking idiot.
I honestly feel like grabbing your head and hitting it.
Matter fact, you don’t even deserve a brain, GIMME IT.
Do you even have any goals?
Aside from bagging these hoes.
And packing a bowl.
Well let me guess, NO.
You’re only in school because your parents make you go.
When all you do is play beer pong and hang out with your bros.
Yo, society’s got you living for a whack cause.
You’re a fucking adult with no skills at all.
You don’t read any books or play ball.
You don’t draw, you literally do nothing at all.
Still you fiend for the glamorous fruits you don’t have, cause you idolize rappers that do.
And all they say is, ‘I got money and it’s stacked to the roof’.
And now you think that it’s gon’ magically just happen to you? How?
Your lazy ass don’t commit to labor.
You pick something up, try it out, and put it down two-minutes later.
Then you complain about your life cause it ain’t getting catered.
Now whoever tries to call you on your bullshit’s a hater.
You want to succeed you have to try.
Or one day you’ll get older and regret it all cause you can’t provide.
Your friends are low-life’s don’t act surprised.
Look, just cut the bad fruit off of the tree, make the sacrifice.

Hopsin wearing his signature contacts

Hopsin uses this verse to emotionally vent out his problems with our society, focusing mostly on young-adult males.  He begins essentially by calling them imposters.  Hopsin thinks the majority of males think it is cool to be rebellious and drop out of school.  Feeling embarrassed to be associated with these individuals who lack common-sense, Hopsin goes on to blame the parenting for not being strict enough.

Continuing to verbally pick these males apart, he goes on to say they follow exactly what their own rap idols rap about.  These lyrics contain the common topics of drugs and sex, making Hopsin believe that all these males are obsessed with sex and drugs and think they are awesome for doing it.  In reality, Hopsin believes they are followers, doing exactly what these “fake” rappers say.  Providing a wake-up call to these individuals, the mind behind “Ill Mind” tells them that in order to succeed they are going to have to try.  Instead of being lazy and not committing to anything, these young-adult males need to think about their future.  If not, they will not only have trouble providing for themselves, but have no shot at supporting a family.

Hopsin not only has great lyrical depth, he has a great attitude of never giving up.  When things did not go as planned, Hopsin took advantage of social media, YouTube in particular, to become successful.  Now, Hopsin is touring internationally and has a strong enough fan base to release a studio-produced album.  Be on the lookout for Knock Madness coming in 2013.  Thanks for reading this week’s post.  Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section along with any requests.

Slaughterhouse- Goodbye (Joe Budden’s Verse)

Welcome to the newest post of Understanding the Rhymes.  This week’s song is titled Goodbye by Slaughterhouse.  Slaughterhouse is comprised of four members; Crooked I, Royce da 5’9’’, Joell Ortiz, and Joe Budden.  Because of how long this song is, this post will only analyze the first verse by Joe Budden.  If anyone would like to hear a full song analysis or another specific verse, feel free to post in the comments section.

In this song Budden goes deep into a life-changing experience.  He’s been through many struggles in life, especially trying to make it in the rap game, but in this song he describes what must be one of the hardest moments in his life.  Below is the link to the song followed by the amazing lyrics of Joe Budden’s verse.


I remember it like it just happened
I could’ve sworn it was a dream
But in reality it hit me like a nightmare
Or at least that’s how it seemed
I just got a grip on our relationship
We was ironing things out, started picking up steam
And when we didn’t need it is when it all got heated
And we both said some things that we probably didn’t mean
Then God intervened, guess more was at stake
Thought we left nothing over, He put more on the plate
She came home from the doctor with news I’ve been wanting
Says family was incoming, she’s pregnant, twins coming
But that’s gotta be a lie
She sighed, couldn’t stop the tears coming from her eyes
That birth control she on, for them it’s suicide
As long as it’s still inside, two of them wouldn’t survive
Hard turn from memorable to cynical
Picturing clothes for what would’ve been identical
Similar outfits, similar names
My deceased kids’ ultrasound in a frame
So I’m deprived of my chance to be a better dad
Staring at my twins that I never had
I shed a tear, looking up in the sky
Even though y’all just got here, goodbye

Goodbye, goodbye, so long, farewell
But it’s not the end of the chapter
Goodbye, goodbye, so long, farewell
I’ll see you again in the afterlife

Budden starts his verse off by recalling a certain moment in his life.  Everyone knows the feeling when a moment so powerful in life happens, it almost feels like a dream.  Unfortunately for Joe, this memory was a nightmare.  Budden’s relationship with his girlfriend was not going great and they were starting to fight more and more.  Sometimes when anger builds people say things they don’t mean, an experience that happened to Joe.

All of a sudden Budden and his girlfriend found out that she was pregnant with not one baby, but twins.  Budden didn’t think this was possible.  His girlfriend was on birth-control pills.  He couldn’t believe what this would mean.  If she was taking birth-control pills while she was pregnant, the babies would not survive.  Usually child birth is extremely happy and it’s shocking how different some cases of birth can be like this one.  Not being able to stop day-dreaming about what the twins could have been, he thinks of buying matching outfits, and naming them.

Next Budden says what I think is one of the most powerful lines in all of hip-hop, “My deceased kids’ ultrasound in frame.”  The thought of staring at the ultrasounds of your twins who you knew weren’t going to survive is next to unimaginable.  Now imagine actually experiencing it.  Because his twins aren’t going to survive, Budden raps that he does not get the chance to become a better Dad.  Even with this extremely challenging moment in his life, Budden has kept going and is still writing music.  However, he will never forget the day he had to tell his twins, “Goodbye.”

Thanks for reading this week’s post.  I hope everyone enjoyed these deep lyrics.  Budden is going on a solo-tour now starting Novembers 24th.  He is even coming to Los Angeles which I will be attending.  If you are interested in seeing him, here are the tour dates.  I’d love to hear comments and requests are always encouraged.  Until next post…

Joe Budden’s Tour

Mac Miller- Clarity

Welcome back to Understanding the Rhymes.  This week we are still going to be analyzing song lyrics but in a slightly different way.  Social media has played a huge part in getting some no-name rappers popular.  Some people love him, some people hate him, but it can’t be denied that Mac Miller did everything he could with social media in order to make it to the top of the charts.  So for this week’s post, we will be analyzing Mac’s song Clarity off of his recent mixtape Macadelic.  Because of Mac Miller’s great presence on twitter, the big catch is…each analysis will be done in the form of a tweet.  Here are the lyrics and link to the song


[Verse 1: Mac Miller]
Figure all this out, I ain’t gonna take a charity
Marry me, wish everyone could shake and play the tambourine
Perfect, I know I love you I ain’t tryna let those words slip
Pure bliss, I knew that we would stay together, we in cursive
Infatuation, when every single move you make is fascinatin’
Gravitatin’ towards anything that gives a sense of happiness
Activist, love activist
Sendin’ my love for girls who got some cuts at their wrists
Hope you found what you lookin’ for, I hope you found what you lookin’ for

You take away the pain and I thank you for that
If I ever get the chance, bet I’m paying you back
Ima be waitin’ for that (x2)

[Verse 2: Mac Miller]
Misery, you represent love, you the epitome
So wish for me, I’ll come out of nowhere, your epiphany
Disconnect, from everybody who don’t understand my vision yet
In a jet, is where my mind is so I light another cigarette
To calm me down, so calm me down
Everybody who can save me now is not around, chopper down
Busy today, but can you tell me how tomorrow sounds?
In between, purgatory ain’t as bad as it would seem to be
Live a dream, that’s so cliche but I can’t tell you what it means to me


At first @MacMiller raps about wanting a girl who really loves him, not a girl who just wants his money.  #golddiggers #girlproblems

He thn describes how he really loves this girl thinking they’ll be connected forever like how cursive letters are always connected #truelove

@MacMiller finishes his verse by saying how this girl makes him happy and how he wishes he could make suicidal girls happy as well

The chorus is about thanking this girl for taking away Mac’s previous pain. He will always be waiting for the chance he gets to repay her

The last verse starts about @MacMiller believing this girl represents love and how he feels disconnected with ppl who don’t see his vision

He continues rapping about over-thinking and needing to calm down. Everyone who can help is not around. #staycalm #wheremyfriendsat

To finish, Mac raps that he is busy today but wants to see this girl tomorrow. Most people know their dream but Mac still needs to find his

Thanks for reading this week.  Hope you liked the change-up of format.  If not, don’t worry, next week will return to normal.  Let me know what you think of my analysis and if you agree in the comments section.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis- White Walls (feat. Schoolboy Q)

Welcome to the newest post of Understanding the Rhymes.  I know there has been a slight delay between posts but busy times called for a two week hold.  A quick shout-out to dramsta; thanks for the request.  I’ll get you your song meaning soon and am sorry for the hold up.  If any other readers have song requests feel free to comment and I will get back to you.

This week’s song is off Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ new album titled The Heist.  This is an excellent album that I recommend but the specific song of the week is titled “White Walls” featuring Schoolboy Q.  We will be focusing on just Macklemore’s verse.  If you would like an analysis on Schoolboy’s verse as well feel free to let me know in the comments.  Here is a link to the song followed by the lyrics.

*Warning* *Explicit Lyrics*


I wanna be free, I wanna just live
Inside my Cadillac, That is my shit
And I throw it up (I throw that up)
That’s what it is (that’s what it is)
In my C A D I L L A C bitch (biatch)
Can’t see me through my tints (nah ah)
I’m riding real slow (slow motion)
In my paint wet drippin shorty like my 24’s (umbrella)
I ain’t got 24’s (no oh)
But I’m on those Vogues
That’s those big white walls, round them hundred spokes
Old school like old English in that brown paper bag
I’m rolling in that same whip that my granddad had
Hello haters, Damn y’all mad
30k on the Caddy, now how backpack rap is that?

Got that off-black Cadillac, midnight drive
Got that gas pedal, leaning back, taking my time
I’m blowin’ that roof off, letting in sky
I shine, the city never looked so bright

[Verse 1: Macklemore]
Man I’m lounging in some shit Bernie Mac would’ve been proud of
Looking down from heaven like damn that’s stylish
Smilin’, don’t pay attention to the mileage
Can I hit the freeway? I’m legally going 120
Easy weaving in and out of the traffic
They cannot catch me, I’m smashing
I’m ducking bucking them out here
I’m like go fuckin their tastic, I am up in a classic
Now I know what it’s like under the city lights
Riding into the night, driving over the bridge
The same one we walked across as kids
Knew I’d have a whippin’ but never one like this
Old school, old school, Candy paint, two seater
Yea, I’m from Seattle, There’s hella Honda Civics
I couldn’t tell you about paint either
But I really want a Ducati so I put in the hours
And roll on over to the dealer
And I found the car, junior, problem with this geezer
Got the keys in and as I was leaving I started screaming

Besides from being incredibly catchy this song also has some fun meaning.  Although it is not as deep on the surface as some songs previously discussed, Macklemore does a great job taking a passion he has for Cadillac cars and putting it into a song.  The intro of the song is all about showing off a brand new “Caddy.”  Macklemore mentions the tinted windshields, the new paintjob, and specifically his Vogue wheels.  For those who don’t know Vogue wheels are all white with a lot of spokes as shown below.

The chorus doesn’t bring much new meaning to the song but reinforces the ‘coolness’ and the great feeling driving a Cadillac brings.  It is also extremely catchy and a great sing-along-moment.

To start Macklemore’s verse he mentions Bernie Mac, an actor who played a car salesman in a movie.  Although he has passed away, Macklemore feels he is looking over Cadillac drivers in happiness.  Being a brave and different individual, Mack continues to rap about his individuality.  He loves Cadillac cars and could care less about the mileage.  Being from Seattle, he is surrounded by drivers of fuel efficient cars like Honda Civics and Toyota Priuses.  Instead of conforming, Macklemore follows his heart and buys the car he wants, his beloved Cadillac.  This also symbolizes his career.  At first Macklemore would try to mirror other rappers’ life-styles, including heavy drug and alcoholic use.  In his song titled “Otherside” he discusses how he started drinking cough syrup after Lil’ Wayne had rapped about it.  Unfortunately this put a halt on his career.  Now, after a short setback, Macklemore has learned to be himself and do what he does best; tell stories through his raps.  Coming out of his slump must have been tough but he has done an amazing job and put together a great album.

The Heist includes many deep songs with a lot of meaning but every album needs its uplifting songs.  White Walls is a great for the job because not only does it have a happy vibe, it also has deeper metaphorical meaning under the surface symbolizing Macklemore’s change of lifestyle evolving to just being himself instead of trying to be someone else.  If you interpreted the song in a different way or have questions either send me a message or post it in the comments section.  Thanks for reading this week’s post.

Common- Blue Sky

Welcome to post number three of Understanding the Rhymes.  Today we’ll be traveling back to 2011 to take a look at  one of Common’s must have songs, Blue Sky.  Not only does it use a well-known hook from the uplifting song Mr. Blue Sky by the Electric Light Orchestra, but it also has a positive “never give-up” message.

Here is the link to the song followed by a sneak peak of the lyrics:


[Verse 1: Common]
Aston Martin king, Luther with dreams
The young Denzel the way I move through scenes

Pretty as the skyline, the sky is my eyeline

Son of the most so from up high I shine

This is my inception, I’m writing my dreams

[Verse 2: Common]
It all started with a dream, I wanted to be Run–D.M.C

Open my eyes, yes sir this is what I’m made for
To go hard in the paint like D. Wade or
D. Rose, from the same streets that we rose

Red carpet magic, taking pictures with the president
Told him for health care, my music is the medicine

Different state resident, this is hood elegance

[Verse 3: Common]
Close my eyes to see things in front of me
I’m gone now, imagine what I’m gonna be

Dirty to worthy, now I’m all wordy
My broad up in Paris, looking all purty
-Do you have a craving for all of the lyrics? I thought you might.  In that case, you should buy the song!

Why is the song a must have?  In the rare case you are still unsure after listening I’ll let you know.  Reason one is based on his accomplishments.  At this point there is nothing Common can’t do.  He built himself up from nothing as he discusses in his first verse and now he has finally made it, “Aston Martin King, Luther with dreams.”  The opening line is about how he had a dream like Martin Luther King Jr. and went and chased the dream and became successful, now owning an Aston Martin (very expensive sports car).  Do you have a dream? Of course you do.  Listen to Common and use him as a role model to achieve not only your dream but more.  He is a very successful music artist winning multiple BET awards and even two GRAMMYs for Best Rap Performance by Duo or Group and for Best R&B Song.  But music was not enough for Common.  He has gone on to star in multiple movies like Street Kings, Date Night, and Wanted. His lyrics, “The young Denzel the way I move through screens,” refers to him acting like Denzel Washington.  From nothing to starring in movies!  This man is incredible.  Common is now a successful author with a novel released in September of 2011. With his drive Common is able to accomplish everything he sets out to do.  No matter where you are from, what you want to do, what you have done, and where you want to be, you can do anything.  Common supports your dreams so support him by buying and listening to his song.  As he says, “pretty as the skyline, the sky is my eye line.”  He’s already made it to the top.  Now it’s your turn.

In his second and third verse we notice Common’s resilient attitude.  This type of attitude is what contributed to Common’s success and what you should strive for as well.  If you want to be successful you need to have a proactive personality and a positive attitude.  Listening to this song gets you well on your way to having the drive to succeed and the needed personality.  “To go hard in the paint like D. Wade or D Rose, from the same streets that we rose.”  Yes Common grew up in the streets, the south end of Chicago to be precise but he was thirsty for succeed.  Like his fellow south end stars, Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose (famous basketball players), they overcame the odds of never leaving the streets of Chicago and followed their dreams.  “It all started with a dream, I wanted to be Run-DMC.”  He proved everyone wrong and not only went off to college, but also went on to become a star, following in Run DMC’s foot-steps.  Who doesn’t love the story of a hard-working man making his way to the top? This man’s resilient attitude and arduous   journey deserves to be recognized.  As he says in his third verse, “I’m gone now, imagine what I’m gonna be.”  Do you ever imagine what you could be if you tried to follow your dreams?  Stop imagining and be like Common; go out and do it.

Like Common’s lifestyle, hip-hop has also been changing but not always for the better.  The rap-game has become extremely repetitive. Rap is now always about the same themes; getting money, getting girls, drinking, and doing drugs.  Now sure, these themes are fun to listen to every now and then but there is only so much you can listen to before it gets old. Common is unlike any other rapper.  He has his own unique ratio of balancing the repetitive themes with different topics like chasing his dream.  For example, in his first verse Common says, “Young, fresh, with dollars, ladies go gaga.”  Common sneaks in that he can get the ladies but isn’t going on about it for the entire song.  Buying most rap songs is repetitive and pointless because you are constantly hearing about the same things for 4 minutes straight.  Not only is this song catchy, but buying it is so essential because it is unique and uplifting.  No other song will have lyrics about Common’s journey to the top.  If you are for the cause of being unique and being special then you need to buy this song.

Buying the song Blue Sky is obviously a worthy investment.  Not only will you start achieving a highly desired personality, you have someone’s support to following your dreams and becoming whatever you want.  If this song doesn’t show you anything is possible, nothing will.

WZRD- High off Life

Welcome to post number two of Understanding the Rhymes.  This week we will be going into detail of WZRD’s song High off Life.

WZRD is a group comprised of two members: Kid Cudi and Dot da Genius. After two very successful albums, Cudi decided to collaborate with Dot da Genius to create a slightly different style of rap music, one heavily rock influenced.  While WZRD was writing their album, Cudi was going through a major lifestyle change, sobriety.  On his first two albums Cudi would rap mostly about weed and alcohol. Cudi would write songs with lyrics like, “pretty green bud all in my blunt, oh I need it, we can take off now, oh marijuana.”

“I dont smoke weed anymore. Ill leave it to the kids. Im 27 with a business to run and I need to be alert and focused with my mind strong. For those who still get it on, smoke one in my memory as your favorite lonely stoner.” –Kid Cudi

Kid Cudi suffering from writer’s block

This lifestyle change unfortunately caused the former pot head to go through a writer’s block lasting 5 months.  Finally he was able to break the block and began on another album.  This song, as the title suggests, is about being high on life rather than drugs.  Here is the link to the song followed by the lyrics:


[Verse 1]
Moved on up to the condo in Chicago
Out in LA I got the house in the hills
Hand out the window feel the wind on my fingertips
Cruisin’ cruisin’ I’m on my way
Searchin’ searchin’ I need to find some more of it
New things and new places to go
Fiending fiending oh I want another hit
It takes me up and I never come down

I never ever thought it could be
Never thought the day would come for me
When I would be high off life
Oh there’s so much I haven’t seen

[Verse 2]
Hey mama I’m livin’ la vida
No need to worry bout’ your baby no more
I am feelin’ the rush, takin’ hits up off of experience
Floatin’ floatin’ I am on my way
Searchin’ searchin’ I need to find some more of it
New things and new places to go
Fiendin’ fiendin’ oh I want another hit
It takes me up and I never come down


Help me
I’m OD’in off the life
Say it



The first verse starts with lyrics reminiscent of “the old Cudi.”  His verse is a mix between two sides.  One is rapping about drugs, “Searchin’ searchin’ I need to find some more of it,” and “fiending fiending oh I want another hit.” He is also describing the natural world around him, about the wind on his fingers and finding new places he can visit.  It makes us ask the question, ‘are the drugs making him feel this way?’

In the chorus everything is cleared up. We discover that this new drug he is on is life.  “Never thought the day would come for me, when I would be high off life,” holds a lot of meaning for Cudi.  He not only battled a marijuana addiction, but he was also arrested for possession of cocaine in 2010.  In an interview with MTV, Cudi discusses his addiction stating that, “Doing bumps [of cocaine], I was able to get through the day, but then I would smoke weed to calm me down — it was the only way I could get through the day without people noticing I was doing it.”  To be sober after a history of dangerous drug use is impressive and even Kid Cudi himself expresses this surprise through his songs.

The second verse is almost identical to the first, except for the beginning.  Cudi is finally happy and his mom doesn’t need to worry about a drug overdose or possession charge anymore.

This song has a great message; drugs are not needed to make great music.  It also gives hope for people with drug problems.  No matter what someone’s past is they can overcome it and move on to a positive future.  Kid Cudi battled drug problems that could have endangered his life.  Now, not only is he a successful rapper, but he is also healthy and living a happy life.