Sometimes life can get the best of us. One minute we’re focusing hard on a task, and the next we’re scrolling down a complete stranger’s social media page drooling over their hot pics. This is part of the spirit behind this fun and poppy song, today’s subject under study! “Crush” is a song from Tessa Violet’s 2019 album Bad Ideas. Below are the lyrics with some explanations for English learners, helping to clarify some of the confusing grammar, slang, expressions, and cultural points.
For better practice: 1) Listen to the song will reading the lyrics simultaneously; 2) Read through the lyrics and explanations with no music; 3) Listen to the song (and watch the video!) without reading the lyrics and check for understanding.
Common Terms / Expressions: Being “on notice” is the same as being alert, paying attention to something like a guard on watch. She’s being careful. By “run,” she means that she hopes the person doesn’t run away.
Figurative Speech: “Tepid” means lacking passion, enthusiasm, or interest. In more literal contexts, it has to do with the temperature of something being not hot but not cold. Another word for this is “lukewarm.” Basically, this person thinks that Tessa is not that interesting, or maybe she doesn’t seem interested in them. Still, she’s “misdiagnosed,” so the person’s assumption is wrong!
Grammar: *”Because I’m a stalker, I have (I’ve) seen all of your posts …”
Vocabulary: You probably know this one, but a “stalker” is someone who follows another person in an obsessive and secretive way. In pop culture, it’s often used in the sense of following someone’s posts and pictures obsessively on social media, usually without that person knowing.
Informal Speech: *”And I’m just trying to play …”
Slang: To “play it cool” is to try to stay calm, maintain self-composure, and act as if you don’t want something even when you really do.
Informal Speech: *”What I want to do now …”
Voice: The way Tessa voices this “Mhm” sound is a funny way to signify that you agree with or acknowledge what someone says.
Figurative Speech: This probably means she is “blushing” or gets embarrassed, shy, etc.
Figurative Speech / Expressions: A “rush” is a feeling of intense emotions, usually a mix of excitement and nervousness all wrapped into one.
Clarifying: She is thinking, “I wish you were here.”
Popular Vocabulary: I think we all know what a “crush” is. Someone that we like or are attracted to but we haven’t told them yet. You can also “have a crush on” someone.
Casual Expressions: “Throw you for a rush” just means that she wants to make him feel that rush of emotions we talked about earlier.
Culture / Society: Tessa repeats “like” a lot in the lyrics. This is similar to how English speakers, mostly younger generations, tend to repeat “like” as a filler word when they speak. She could be trying to represent herself as a silly young woman who’s losing her thoughts thinking about her “crush”.
Grammar: *”I have (I’ve) been thinking about your touch, like …”
Grammar: *”I have (I’ve) got a fascination …” Also, “I have a fascination …”
Figurative Speech: With his physical appearance, dress style.
Other Meanings: This “Sorry” here shows how awkward and weird she can get when thinking about her crush. In the song, she says it in kind of a nerdy way, on purpose.
Common Expression: To “keep from” something is to stay away from it, not interact with it.
Informal Speech: *”And I’m pretending that you haven’t been …”
Expressions: To “take an interest” is to start being interested in something. Another way to say this is to “take up an interest.”
Other Meanings: Funny, usually when saying “right” at the end of a sentence, it is formed like a question, as if the speaker is asking to confirm something, “Right?” Here, she doesn’t say it like a question. It’s as if she is confirming this information for us. “Yeah, I am a bit intense. It’s true.”
Idioms: To be “on the fence” or be “kept on the fence” is to be in the middle of two decisions. Basically, she is undecided, not sure what to do next.
Familiar Speech: This “like” at the end reminds me of how some people use it. “He was walking, real quiet-like.” The “like” doesn’t have a real meaning in this sense, it just adds a bit of emphasis to “quiet,” or “on the fence” in the case of our lyrics. This way of speaking is more old-fashioned but you still hear it in cartoons or for stereotyped movie characters.
Other Meanings: The “like?” as a question could also mean that she is waiting for an answer. “I waited for your call and you never did, like?”
What do you think of this song and the music video? Was this the first time you heard of Tessa Violet, or are you a certified fan? Do you stalk your crush online too? Let us know what you think (just don’t get too personal :D).
Thank you for coming and I hope you enjoyed reading and listening. Take care out there. Spread some love. Peace!
Let’s take it to the court! The back and forth of gossip and mundane chit-chat form a part of the day-to-day of socialites that Ella Yelich-O’Connor loved to criticize in her first releases. From her album, Pure Heroine (now somewhat of a throwback, right?), these are the song lyrics to “Tennis Court” by Lorde. This is for English learners who might want to better understand informal speech, common expressions, and other cultural aspects of the song. But don’t mind that, all are welcome to read and listen. Enjoy!
To maximize practice: 1) Listen to the song while scrolling and reading the lyrics; 2) read the lyrics and explanations without music; 3) watch the video and listen to check understanding
To read the lyrics without my explanations: Genius
Expressions: “Making smart” here could mean that they are trying to sound smart or be clever. Apparently, Lorde finds these conversations boring.
Common Expressions: Doing something “for the thrill of it” is for excitement, it’s something that is a lot of fun.
Slang: “Killing it” in this sense is doing something very well or having lots of success at it.
Grammar: This is a double negative, but a clever one. It’s a more creative way to say *”Always chasing a million things I want …”
Expressions / Casual Speech: “Full of it” probably has multiple meanings here. Normally, “full of it” describes a person who is very conceited, stuck up, and thinks mostly about themselves. It can also describe someone who is lying or being misleading. Taken together, she could be saying that she is “full” of the moment, living intensely by the minute.
Expressions / Slang: To get “pumped up” is to feel good or excited about something, usually because it makes you happy.
Social References: A “class clown” is the person at school that always makes jokes in class. They may like to tease other students or even the teachers.
Vocabulary: “In tears” is another way to say “crying.” Add that one to your vocab list!
Slang / Informal Speech: To “talk it up” is basically to chat or make small talk (have a light or random conversation). Saying, talk it up like “yeah” makes it seem like they won’t have anything deep or especially interesting to talk about, but it will just be to make casual conversation.
Common Speech: Using “pretty” like this is the same as “kind of” or “fairly.” I guess it comes from the same idea as “fairly,” actually. Not very soon, like tomorrow, but pretty soon, like in the next two weeks.
Alternative / Figurative Speech: To be “up in flames” is the same as being “on fire.” It is burning. In a figurative sense, it can mean that Lorde is having raging emotions, lots of bad (wicked) thoughts, and other wild tempers associated with growing up or being a teenager.
Informal Speech / Slang: To “f***” with something means to experience it or have experience with it. “—Do you know how to bake? —Yeah, I f*** with it.” This is obviously very vulgar and would only be used in situations where other people are openly cursing, so be careful! A cleaner way to say this is “mess with” or “get down with.” “I mess with it. I get down with it.” By “known,” she means “well-known,” as in when she becomes famous.
Informal Speech: To “trip up” can have a few different meanings. It can be to confuse, to baffle (shock), surprise, or even to make someone laugh. All of the meanings and more are likely in this context. By “heads,” she’s probably referring to their ideas, opinions, senses of humor, and so on.
Spelling Standards: Both “all right” and “alright” are accepted spellings.
Idioms / Expressions: “It’s half of the trip” is similar to the expression “it’s part of the fun.” This is usually said to make light of a bad situation, like getting lost on a road trip. “But getting lost is half of the trip!” In the lyric, Lorde could be referring to an embarrassing photo that got leaked online, and she (or someone else) got caught.
Figurative Speech: This seems like an invitation for us to watch her struggles and fiascos on our glass screens (TV, cell phone, etc.) as if we were Lorde’s nosey neighbors watching through our glass “windows.”
Going to the club and watching strangers have a go at each other isn’t a habit that most people have, I’d feel pretty safe to say. But most of us do have a bad habit that we’re trying to kick, which made this song more relatable in the end. Maybe you’re an English student or English learner. Maybe you heard this song and loved it, but didn’t understand some parts. Maybe you understand all the lyrics and just wanted to hear it again. Whatever brought you here, welcome! These lyrics are meant to help those who are learning English and may not have picked up on certain expressions or grammar, but anyone is welcome to read.
1) listen to the song and try to pay attention to the words, 2) read the lyrics with the explanations below, then, 3) listen to the song again to check your comprehension.
The video and the lyrics have some slightly inappropriate content. It may not be good for kids, and parents might have to use discretion on this one. Everyone’s taste is different so, you know … enjoy!
Slang / Informal Expressions: “Freaky” in this sense means to be very sexually open, promiscuous, and adventurous. Or, it’s just someone who likes sex a lot. To “get it on” means to get physical, have intimate relations with someone.
Expressions / Idioms: Saying “I’ve been around” is like saying that the person has experience, has lived through many situations, and some things that are shocking to most seem normal to her. An extended way to say the same thing is, “I’ve been around the block.”
Slang / Informal Speech: “The munchies” is being hungry or having a craving for certain types of food. It usually is an abnormal hunger, persistent and won’t go away. I think it was popularized with cannabis culture since people often get the munchies after smoking.
Common Speech: To “binge” is to consume a lot of something in a short amount of time, often to the point of getting sick from it. It’s often used to talk about food, but nowadays people also “binge-watch” a TV show or series.
Snacks: I’ll post a picture of a Twinkie for those that don’t know.
Casual Speech: To “drink up” something means to drink it all. She is referring to drinking alcohol, or spending all her money on liquor.
Common Speech: “Dazed” means to be in a weird mental state of numbness and confusion, almost like being in a trance.
Grammar: *”And I’ve got to stay high …” also, “and I have to stay high …”
Slang: “High” is being under the influence of drugs, probably cannabis in Tove Lo’s case.
Grammar: *”I spend my days … trying to forget you babe …”
Common Speech: “Haze” is like a fuzzy, thick smoke or pollution in the air. When talking about a mental state, it relates to being in a fuzzy, clouded state of mind where things don’t really make sense. It also could just mean that she smokes every day trying to forget her ex or whoever.
Casual Expressions: To “loosen up” something is to undo it, unwind it, or put it in a relaxed state.
Grammar: *”Make them feel alive …”
Informal / Casual Speech: “Greasy” is usually used to describe food that is oily and bad for you, as well as car parts that are dirty and covered in sticky oil, which we would call “grease.” By saying it’s “fast and greasy,” it’s as if she is relating the situation to fast food, food that is quick and tastes good at the moment but leaves you feeling bad or dirty afterward. By saying her encounters were greasy, they were probably dirty, oily, sticky, and sort of uncomfortable. When someone is referred to as “easy,” it usually means they are easy to get with or sleep with. In less explicit contexts, it means that the person is really easy-going and isn’t very demanding. Saying “way too” is like adding emphasis to the “too.” It just means very very very. “It is way too hot outside.”
Expressions: “Play-pretend” is kind of like the world of “make-believe,” like the world of a child’s fantasy.
Grammar: *”Where the fun doesn’t have an / any end …”
Grammar: *”I can’t go home … I need someone to numb …”
Then it repeats.
**Do you have a song suggestion you’d like me to explain the lyrics for? Want more songs by Tove Lo? Contact me with a one-to-one message or for collaboration at firstname.lastname@example.org (also on my contact page). Thanks again for stopping by. Peace to you!
“BUTTERFLY EFFECT” is a song by Travis Scott, as you might know, and it came off of his 2017 album, Astroworld. Below are the lyrics with some explanations about expressions, grammar, and other less-obvious meanings of the song. I am no expert on this song or on Travis Scott, but this might help those of you learning or studying English to better understand the words. If you’d like, please watch the video and read the lyrics and explanations. Then take another listen to see how much you understand the second time. Ready?
Other meanings: This probably has to do with money. The more commas, the bigger the number is; 1(,)00(,)000(,)000(,) …
Other meanings: This is a popular tagline from the producer on this song, Murda Beatz.
Figurative speech / Philosophy: Just a note about the title: the “butterfly effect” is the idea that changing something small or subtle in the past — like killing a butterfly — can lead to a completely different present and future. It’s also the idea that something small like a butterfly beating its wings can make huge ripples (impacts) in time. This theory kind of rings throughout the song as Travis says he cannot change, as if his life is destined to be this way. The lyric also could mean that this new lifestyle cannot change who he really is. But, like a butterfly beating its wings in the past, his impact will be made on the world.
Geography / Other meanings: Hidden Hills is an upscale, sort of exclusive city in the north Los Angeles area where lots of rich and famous people live. It also sounds like he could be saying “in the hills” which has the same connotation. That’s because in Los Angeles, many of the rich and fancy neighborhoods are either literally in the hills or have the name “hills.”
Not sure: The “deep off in the main” part is a little confusing, but it could just mean that the people in this society have deep ties, deep roots, or deep connections there. Or something else entirely.
Figurative speech: We know M&M’s. Some like chocolate and others swear by peanut butter. He could be relating M&M’s to certain drugs like ecstasy, comparing the “high” feeling of being on drugs to a sugar high from eating lots of sweets.
Casual speech / Slang: “Drop the top” and “pop the top off” are ways to talk about taking the top off of a convertible car. “Bang” here could refer to playing loud music in the car. These expressions probably have other meanings too that are a little more provocative, so I’ll leave it at that.
Games: “Hide and seek” is a kids game where one person has to search for other people who are hiding.
Figurative speech: He doesn’t literally want to play hide and seek though. This could mean going to look for something or someone, or trying to run away or hide from someone. Doing things discreetly.
Figurative speech / Slang: Going to “the league” generally refers to young athletes who skip college and go directly into the professional league. He could be referring to someone joining his “team” or his crew. Come play with the big boys. This mixes in with a popular term among some black men to call each other “hitters,” like a baseball player that hits a ball. That’s not what it means, that’s just the relation to being on the team or in the league.
Grammar: *”Feel just how I am …”
Slang / Informal speech: Saying “how I be” refers to how the person lives, how they act on a regular basis, their style. This is very informal, by the way. Saying something is “lit” means that it’s fun, it’s cool, something good will come of it. It’s also one of Travis’s popular sayings.
Grammar: *”On the freeway, but no, nothing is free …”
Slang: Saying “straight up” like this is the same as “for real,” as if to reiterate that the person really means what they say.
Expressions: To “bend the law” means to break it basically, to go against the law. “Bending lanes” is driving quickly along turns on street lanes. Hence, skrrt skrrt.
Grammar: *”I’ve been busting bills, but still, nothing has changed …”
Slang: By “busting bills” he means he’s been spending a lot of money. Still, he makes a ton of money, so his financial situation isn’t affected by this.
Grammar: *”You’re in the mob as soon as you rock the chain …”
Slang: The “mob” here refers to his crew again. The same goes for “team, squad, gang,” etc. To “rock” in this case means to wear something proudly, especially a certain brand.
Slang / Expressions: To “catch the wave” here means to get high (on drugs) and feel some wavy vibes. To “thumb” through something means to run one’s fingers through it as if to study it, like thumbing a book.
Culture / Style: He plays on the idea of waves as a hairstyle since “waves” have been a popular hairstyle for black men for a while.
Expressions: “Heating up” figuratively means that something is getting started, it’s just beginning. A similar expression is “warming up.”
Expressions / Dual meanings: “Keep me up” here means this person keeps him feeling well, positive, and in good spirits. It also has a more provocative meaning, though.
Slang: “Icy” here has a couple of meanings. It can be really cool, chill, relaxed, good-looking, and involving lots of “ice” or diamonds and jewels.
Slang: “Dawgs” is the same as a guy or a friend. To “creep” in this scenario means to move slowly and watchfully without trying to be noticed. In a car, it sounds like it means driving with the car low to the ground.
Regular speech: Saying “right” with a direction just adds emphasis to how close the subject is. “Right next to, right beside, right above, right there.”
Cars / Culture: A Phantom is a popular expensive car often referenced in rap / trap music.
Informal speech / Grammar: *”I stayed like Santana …”
Slang: To “dip” in this case means to disappear or abandon something. The “set” is a person’s original “hood,” group or place that they most represent. So, Travis didn’t abandon his origins, in simpler terms.
Pop Culture References: He’s probably referencing Juelz Santana who was a part of a rap group called Dipset or the Diplomats.
Expressions / Slang: To “run it back” means to do something again like repeat a song or phrase, or to go back to a place. To “hit up” a place means to visit it or go to it.
Personal meaning / Location: He could be talking about a bar in San Antonio called the Green Lantern, since Travis is from Texas and I’ve heard he went to this place.
Slang: “Broads” is another term for young women. It’s an older term that can be seen as disrespectful to some women.
Slang / Expressions: “In the cut” here means that he is in a place, probably a really nice place. It’s one of those non-specific slangs that could be a number of other things too. To “lay low” or “lie low” means to take it easy, relax, not do much work, enjoy one’s time.
Life references / Dual meanings: Medusa could be referring to the logo on Versace brand clothing, or a popular restaurant in Atlanta.
Slang: “Roll up” here refers to rolling up a joint (of cannabis). It could also refer to rolling his window up to feel stronger effects from the weed since we assume he is in a car.
Grammar: *”You need to text back because you know what I need …”
Deeper meaning: We can only imagine what he might need from this person he’s texting.
Expressions: “Oh me, oh my” is an old-fashioned expression that sounds like a kids song. “Oh my” is a way to show shock or surprise. It’s short for “Oh my God / goodness / word.” Also, saying “Oh, please!” like this can be like telling someone to stop because they are lying or saying something outrageous. “You wrestled a lion? Oh, please!” Of course, it can also be like saying “Please, stop.”
Grammar: *”We have / we’ve been moving …”
Expressions: “Moving” here refers to making moves, or doing things to make money and have success.
Slang: “Flex” in this context means to show off, present what you have to everyone else, usually in a way that is misleading. Of course, it relates to flexing a muscle, showing your strength, proving that you have been exercising a lot.
Do you want to know the lyrics to “Day ‘N’ Nite” by Kid Cudi? Great, you’re in the right place! The song was featured on his 2008 album, Man on the Moon: The End of Day, but was also released on a previous mixtape and single. This page is geared toward explaining to English learners some of the expressions, idioms, slang, and cultural points in the song that most native English speakers probably know already.
I suggest reading the song lyrics and explanations first. Then listen to the song with the lyrics to check for comprehension. If you know most of these explanations, then cool. Your language skills are on point! Ready?
Informal Writing: Just a note about the spelling; in the song’s title, “N” is the same as “and” but a popular way to spell it in informal titles or writing. “Nite” is the same as “night” but also an informal alternative spelling. This happens a lot when texting for words that don’t spell like they sound. Ex: Tho (Though), Rite (Right), U (You), 4 (For)
Expressions: “Tossing and turning” is another way to say that you can’t sleep. It’s a very common expression.
Expressions: “For keeps” means something you want to keep or hold on to. It usually means you will win the object you want after playing some game. “Let’s race. Whoever wins gets a new car.” “Are we playing for keeps?”
Culture/Literature: This line is reminiscent of a popular fable, “The Tortoise and the Hare.” The two animals race and the hare becomes cocky thinking he will easily beat the tortoise, but the tortoise ends up winning after slowly but steadily staying on track. Maybe Cudi assumes he’s going to win like the hare did, but he gets beat in the end.
Informal Speech: *Because day and night …
Slang: A “stoner” is someone who gets high on drugs, especially cannabis. Similarly, getting “stoned” means getting high on cannabis.
Other Vocabulary: You might have picked this one up, but a “loner” is someone who spends most of their time alone. They don’t interact much with other people.
Expressions/Dual Meaning: This one’s pretty obvious, but it can also mean to “wait” in general. This is similar to other expressions like “Hold on,” “Hold up,” and “Hold it.” These all mean to wait. Even though “hold the phone” sounds pretty specific, there are other phrases like this that mean to wait. Ex: “Hold the front door,” and “Hold your horses.” These are a little more silly and informal, though.
Popular Vocabulary: “Solo” means solitary or alone. I think we got it from Spanish but it’s pretty common to say that you are “solo” or doing something “solo.”
Informal/Unusual Expressions: “Dolo” I think is the same as solo. I haven’t heard this expression much, but I guess “solo-dolo” means being alone but feeling relaxed or okay about it.
Figurative Speech: Saying “Mr.” before some kind of quality means that the person is full of that quality, as if they were the owner of it. “Okay, Mr. Bossy, you don’t have to order people around all the time.”
Idiom: Being “on the move” is to be active in making plans or moving from place to place.
Slang: To “shake” in this sense means to avoid or escape something, like to shake off. “The cops are behind us. I can’t shake them.” Shade here has the sense of something ominous or sad. In slang, “shade” can also be general disrespect or dislike that comes from people who don’t like you. A similar concept is “hating on” someone.
Slang/Possible Dual Meaning: The repeating of “made” here reminds me of another expression. Saying that someone is “made” or they “have it made” is like saying they have everything they dreamed of, they have all the success they could want. They’re living the good life. They “have it made.”
Other Vocabulary: “Peep” is any very small sound. It’s usually said in phrases like “won’t hear a peep” or “don’t make a peep.”
Grammar/Informal Speech: *The girl he wants doesn’t seem to want him either … The way he says it sounds better in this case, though.
Common Speech: When something is “through,” it means it is done or over. It has ended.
Slang/Casual Expression: “Slow mo” means slow motion. Here, he says it probably to mean slow down or wait.
Foreign/Musical Term: When used in English, “tempo” specifically has to do with the speed of a rhythm, like in music. It has almost become synonymous with speed. I believe it comes from Italian.
Slang/Informal Expression: To “slow up” is the same as to slow down or go slower, interestingly enough. It is just another cool way to express this idea. “New new” is a fun concept. It basically means something that is new or hasn’t been experienced before, like an emerging trend. It’s like saying “new thing” but the focus is on the impact of that new thing as opposed to the new thing itself. “You still wear the old brands, but I’ve got that new new. You want to see some?”
Slang/Idiom: We probably all know this one, but feeling “blue” is feeling sad.
Expressions: “Man” here is just an exclamation, it doesn’t mean anything really.
Informal Speech: The way he pronounces “cool” is a very common way to say it in some accents. It also rhymes a lot better with blue.
Casual Expression: To “slip into” something means to wear it or put it on. “I’m going to slip into a nice dress.”
Informal/Alternative Speech: The way he pronounces Nikes (referring to shoes) is an informal way that only certain communities say, though it can also just be an alternative or sarcastic way of pronouncing it. It also rhymes better with nights.
Slang: Smoking a “clip” is smoking the leftovers of a blunt of cannabis.
Idiom/Expressions: To be “on the way” means to be arriving somewhere or going somewhere specific.
Casual Expressions: Adding “status” after something like a quality or a place means that person is acting like that quality or representing that place. “He’s on Brooklyn status with his Nets jersey and his old Brooklyn Dodger hat.”
Slang: To “grind” in this case means to work hard and put in an effort. A similar concept is to be “on your grind.”
**I hope you enjoyed reading the lyrics to “Day ‘N’ Nite.” Did you understand these pretty well? What part of the lyrics do you still have trouble with? Tell us what your favorite lines are, or what other songs you like by Kid Cudi. You can contact me personally at email@example.com or to collaborate. Read more posts like this one at Lyrics “Explained.” Thank you for coming! Peace.
From Donald Glover’s initial “ya, ya, ya’s” to Young Thug’s closing mumbles, “This is America” has become such an iconic song. Pretty much every country has done their own spinoff at this point. But for those of you learning English out there, did you understand the lyrics? This post isn’t an attempt to explain hidden meanings in the video or deep explanations in the lyrics. I’m just trying to explain some of the common expressions and slang he uses in the song, things that might be harder for non-native English speakers to understand. Watch the video if you like and accompany the song. Ready? So here we go!
Society: This sounds like what certain prejudiced Americans say to immigrants or groups they don’t like (black, Muslim, poor, etc.)
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, go, go away
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, go, go away
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, go, go away
We just wanna party
Informal Speech: *We just want to party
Party just for you
We just want the money
Money just for you (Yeah)
I know you wanna party
Party just for free
Girl, you got me dancin’ (Girl, you got me dancin’)
Grammar: *You’ve got me dancing… Also, You have me dancing…
Dance and shake the frame (Yeah)
Slang: “Frame” here refers to the woman’s body.
We just wanna party (Yeah)
Party just for you (Yeah)
We just want the money (Yeah)
Money just for you (You)
I know you wanna party (Yeah)
Party just for free (Yeah)
Girl, you got me dancin’ (Girl, you got me dancin’, yeah)
Dance and shake the frame (Ooh)
This is America
Don’t catch you slippin’ now
Slang: To “catch” someone doing something is to find or witness that person. It’s usually when you find someone doing an act that is not right. “Don’t let me catch you stealing.” “Slipping” here means to make a mistake or do something wrong.
Pronunciation: The lyrics I found say “now” but it sounds kind of like “no.” Gambino could be doing this intentionally. Either way, it has about the same meaning. “Don’t let them find you doing something you shouldn’t be doing, being weak, doing something illegal.”
Don’t catch you slippin’ now
Look what I’m whippin’ now
Slang: “Whipping” in slang usually means to make or come up with something. It’s mostly used like “whipping up” something. Whipping can also have to do with cars, as in “Look what I’m driving now.” Whipping traditionally has to do with using a whip to punish someone like a prisoner or slave, or turning milk into a “whipped” cream, for example.
Pronunciation: “Now” here kind of sounds like “on,” so it almost sounds like “Look what I’m whipping (beating, hitting) on.”
Culture: The “whip” is also a popular dance, by the way.
This is America (Woo)
Don’t catch you slippin’ now
Don’t catch you slippin’ now
Look what I’m whippin’ now
This is America (Skrrt, skrrt, woo)
Don’t catch you slippin’ now (Ayy)
Look how I’m livin’ now
Police be trippin’ now (Woo)
Grammar: *Police are tripping now…
Slang: “Tripping” here means to act in a way that is wrong or dumb to others, constantly making mistakes and bad choices. “My dad is always punishing me for stuff I didn’t do. He’s tripping.”
Figurative speech: His “area” can be his neighborhood, as in, he lives in an area with lots of guns. It can also be literally in his personal area, like in his possession. It most likely refers to America as a whole, though.
Slang: “Word” when used like this is just a way to acknowledge what someone says. It’s like saying “really, true, yep, etc.”
I got the strap (Ayy, ayy)
Grammar: *I have the strap…
Slang: A “strap” in this sense refers to a gun, gun strap.
Less Obvious Meaning: He has to carry guns, as if for protection or because that’s the stereotype.
Yeah, yeah, I’mago into this (Ugh)
Informal Speech: *I’m going to go into this…
Expression: “Go in” in this sense means to really do well, have a lot of success, really analyze, look hard at, and make an overall really cool song.
Yeah, yeah, this is guerilla (Woo)
Double Meaning: Like guerilla warfare where trained common civilians get involved in warlike fighting. “Guerilla” rhymes perfectly with “gorilla” which is kind of a derogatory term against black people. This is probably on purpose as if to say, “This is about black people.”
Slang: “Cold” in slang can mean a few things. It can mean that someone is “coldhearted” and doesn’t care about anything, or a mean person. It can also mean that someone is really cool and good at something.
I’m so dope like, yeah (Woo)
“Dope” can also mean really cool, something that’s liked by others.
Slang: “Blow” or “blow up” in slang means to come out and have a ton of success, become really popular. “Straight up” is slang that is usually used to agree with someone. It means something like “true, for real, etc.”
Don’t catch you slippin’ now (Woo, woo, don’t catch you slippin’ now)
Don’t catch you slippin’ now (Ayy, woah)
Look what I’m whippin’ now (Slime!)
This is America (Yeah, yeah)
Don’t catch you slippin’ now (Woah, ayy)
Don’t catch you slippin’ now (Ayy, woo)
Look what I’m whippin’ now (Ayy)
Look how I’m geekin’ out (Hey)
Slang: “Geeking out” is to be dressed in a really stylish but kind of formal way. A similar expression is “geeked up” with about the same meaning. This phrase became popular when a style of dance called jerking got famous. This term also means to get high on drugs, but that’s different from what Gambino’s talking about. “Geek” traditionally is a mean term used to make fun of kids that are seen as nerds or who have awkward style. The meaning was turned to be stylish in a weird way. “Geeking out” can also be to show off one’s intelligence or get excited by “nerdy” or “geeky” subjects.
Figurative Speech/Dual Meaning: “On Gucci” could mean that he is wearing Gucci and is in a phase where he likes this brand. This could be that he is “on” this brand like a drug since we usually say “on” when someone is using or is addicted to a drug. That would relate to being geeked out/up from before. “He’s on LSD.” It could also mean he likes or is acting like Gucci Mane, a famous rapper. Being “on” someone can also mean to make fun of them, so this line has a few probable meanings.
I’m so pretty (Yeah, yeah, woo)
I’m gon’ get it (Ayy, I’m gon’ get it)
Informal Speech: I’m going to get get it… “Get it” could refer to making money. “Get it!” is often what people yell to encourage someone to do something well, like dancing. The way he says it though, “Gon’ get it” is used commonly to mean that the person is in trouble or is going to have serious problems. “Ooh, you broke mom’s lamp. You’re gonna get it! (you’re in big trouble)”
Watch me move (Blaow)
This a celly (Ha)
Grammar: *This is a celly…
Slang: “Celly” here refers to a cellphone.
Society: This relates to some police officers that shot innocent black people confusing their cellphones with a gun.
That’s a tool (Yeah)
Slang: A “tool” here refers to a gun, saying the cellphone looked like a gun to the police.
Society: They could also be using this excuse as a “tool” to get out of trouble.
On my Kodak (Woo) Black
Culture/Figurative Speech: Now he’s on Kodak, which is probably that he’s taking photos or recording what’s happening. Kodak is a company that has produced lots of photography products. Kodak Black is a rapper, so he could also be saying that he is acting like Kodak Black. He could also just be saying Kodak to refer to the word black, as in, he is “being black,” acting in a stereotypically black way.
Ooh, know that (Yeah, know that, hold on)
Grammar: *You know that…
Slang: “Hold on” means to wait, or also to be strong and not give up, not stop.
Get it (Woo, get it, get it)
Ooh, work it (21)
Slang: “Work it” means to do something really well, especially related to dancing.
Rapper: “21” refers to 21 Savage, a rapper in this song.
Slang: A “plug” is someone who provides illegal contraband for another party, usually drugs. It also can be just a person who has anything another person needs.
Society/Geography: He’s saying he has a drug supplier in Oaxaca, a state in Mexico. This state isn’t famous for drug activity, but he says it likely because it’s in Mexico, a country infamous for drug cartels. He’s not being serious though.
Culture/Sounds: “Blocka” is the sound a gun makes. They’re going to find you and shoot you, basically. This sound has been popularized by rappers of Caribbean origin and is now used by all kinds of rappers, especially in trap music.
Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, tell somebody
America, I just checked my following list, and
Media: His following list on social media.
You go tell somebody
You m********** owe me
Grandma told me
Get your money, Black man (Black man)
Get your money, Black man (Black man)
Get your money, Black man (Black man)
Get your money, Black man (Black man)
Black man (1, 2, 3—get down)
Culture/Music: This is a popular line in funk and soul music from the mid-1900s, made most popular by artist James Brown. He usually said this before he started dancing, which is exactly what happens in the music video.
Expression: To “get down” in music means to start dancing and having fun. Similarly, “Get down!” is what people yell when someone starts shooting a gun.
Deeper Meaning: A “barcode” is that black and white code that people scan to buy something or check the price. He could be saying black people are seen as something to buy or that have a price. Just objects.
You just a black man in this world
Drivin’ expensive foreigns, ayy
Slang: “Foreigns” are foreign cars. Rappers usually love to sing about foreign cars.
You just a big dawg, yeah
Slang: “Dawg” is a word that refers to another person, usually a man. It’s the same as dude, bro, etc.
A “kennel” is a shelter where dogs are kept. This plays on the word “dawg” from before, meaning he puts this man in his place or probably buries him in the backyard.
No, probably ain’t life to a dog
For a big dog
Understanding: These last two lines I can’t really understand what he’s saying, but this is more or less it.
“This is America” is such a cool song because its lyrics are full of double meanings, cultural references, and sarcastic criticisms. Again, I don’t really want to get into the deeper meaning of the lyrics, but it’s apparent that he is criticizing lots of modern hip hop. The video expresses this even more and his criticism shifts against America as a whole, even though he focuses more on the black experience.
Violence, racism, discrimination, and constant stereotypical pressures are just part of what can make life in America very tough for anybody, and especially the disadvantaged groups of people. Of course, black Americans are one of the greatest examples of this, and we see proof of it time and time again. The song is fun to listen to and dance to. The video is enticing with just as much meaningful content as the lyrics, and this song was a hit since the second it reached our screens.
In this post, we will look at song lyrics from Nigerian artist Wizkid, along with rappers Drake and Skepta. The song is the remix of the original “Ojuelegba” from Wizkid’s Ayo album, which you can listen to here. This post is also a continuation of the series where we analyze English-language song lyrics for learners, called Lyrics “Explained”. I’ve mostly been covering songs from the U.S., Canada, or Britain, so this is a nice change-up (at least for one of the singers). It’s a good reminder that English is spoken throughout the world, and places like Nigeria make up an important side of English-language culture too. If you want to read “Ojuelegba (Remix)” lyrics without my explanations, you can find them here. I also got some help with translations since part of the song is in the Yoruba language. You can read more on Kilonso. Okay, here we go.
Song Lyrics (Wizkid, Drake, Skepta)
Ni Ojuelegba o, my people dey there
Other language: In the Yoruba language, “In Ojuelegba.” Ojuelegba is a busy suburb of Lagos, by the way.
Regional accent: Then in regional English dialect: “My people are there.”
My people suffer, dem dey pray for blessing eh
Regional speech: *”They all pray for blessings.”
Ni ojuelegba o, my people dey there
Dem dey pray for blessing, for better living eh eh
Are you feeling good tonight?
This thing got me thanking God for life
I can’t explain
I can’t explain, yeah
Are you feeling good tonight?
This thing got me thanking God for life
I just can’t explain
I can’t explain, no, no, yeah
Look, it’s gon’ be a long long time ‘fore we stop
Informal speech: *It’s going to be a long, long time before…
Boy better know, they better know who make the scene pop
Grammar: *Who makes the scene…
Slang: “Pop” here has the meaning of making something more lively, more exciting, like a party. “That place was popping!”
All I ever needed was a chance to get the team hot
Slang: “Hot” here can mean successful, famous, or anything similar to that. He refers to his group of friends and people working with him as his team.
Only thing I fear is a headshot or a screenshot
Grammar: *The only thing I fear…
Other vocabulary: A “headshot” is a gunshot to the head. A “screenshot” is a picture you take of your own phone’s screen. Basically, he fears either getting killed or someone finding out what’s on his phone. Haha.
Pree me, dem a pree me
Regional speech: “Pree” I think comes from Jamaica. It means to pay close attention to something. With a Jamaican patois accent, he’s saying that people are paying close attention to him, like the paparazzi or his fans.
Double meanings: It also sounds like “premie/premy,” an informal way to refer to people that were born prematurely. I don’t know if that was intended, but it could be an interesting way for him to compare these people to babies.
You know they only call me when they need me
I never go anywhere, they never see me
I’m the type to take it easy, take it easy
Idioms: “Take it easy” means to do things slowly and calmly, in a relaxed manner. “-How have you been? -Oh, I’ve been taking it easy.”
I took girls in the very first text I sent
I don’t beg no lovers, I don’t beg no friends
Grammar: Double negatives! *I don’t beg any…
If you wanna link, we can link right now
Slang: To “link” or “link up” is to get together with someone or to meet someone so you can spend time with them.
Skeppy, Wiz and Drake, it’s a ting right now
Names: Those are the names of the artists participating in this song.
Slang/Regional speech: Again with a Caribbean/African accent, Drake says “it’s a thing.” This means that they made something happen together, they accomplished something. “Thing” can have lots of weird underlying meanings depending on the situation and the speaker.
Are you feeling good tonight?
This thing got me thanking God for life
I can’t explain
I can’t explain eh yeah
When I was in school, being African was a diss
Slang: A “diss” or “dis” is something used to tease or make someone feel bad. It comes from the word “disrespect,” but has to do more with teasing or saying disrespectful things toward another.
Sounds like you need help saying my surname, Miss
Society: Having a foreign last name, Skepta’s teachers had a hard time pronouncing it when he was in school. This is a common occurrence for people who have foreign surnames.
Tried to communicate
But every day is like another episode of Everybody Hates Chris
Society/Culture: From Chris Rock’s TV show. Throughout the show, Chris suffers from racism for being the only black kid at his school.
Ever since mum said, “Son you are a king“
Culture/Society: This reminds me of “The Lion King” where young Simba is told that one day he will be king. I guess the idea is ever since he was a boy, a little kid.
I feel like Floyd when I’m stepping into the ring
Culture: Floyd Mayweather Jr. is a famous boxer.
Just spoke to the boy, said he’s flying in with a ting
Grammar: *I just spoke…
Slang/Informal speech: By “the boy,” he probably is talking about Drake. Saying the “ting” again, it could mean any kind of cool thing that he’s bringing. It’s something important.
We’re touching the road to celebrate another win, we’re going in
Idiom/Figurative speech: “Touching the road” means to go on a trip. It could be literally on the road, like in a car/bus. It could also be just going on any trip. To “go in” can mean a lot of things. Here it means to really enjoy something, put in your biggest effort, to do something very well.
Why am I repping these ends? Man I don’t know
Slang: To “rep” is to represent something, usually a neighborhood or place of origin. “Ends” I believe is London slang meaning neighborhood.
The government played roulette with my postcode
Figurative speech: “Playing roulette” here gives the idea of the government randomly choosing where he and his family will live. It appears that in London’s project housing system, that has been a pretty common practice. Also, Skepta is from Tottenham, a rough neighborhood in London.
All I know is it’s where my people dem are suffering
Regional speech: “Dem” here doesn’t change the meaning of the phrase. It means “they” or “them.” It’s sort of a Caribbean/African style of talking.
I seen it before, narrate the story as it unfolds
Grammar: *I’ve seen it before…
Dad certified the settings and my mum knows
My mind full of more bullets than your gun holds
Figurative speech: He’s seen or heard lots of violence, gun shots.
Now I got the peng tings in the front row
Slang: “Peng” is British slang for beautiful, attractive, or appealing. “Tings” here probably refers to women, so he has pretty women at his shows.
Saying, “Skeppy come home, baby come home!”
Other info: “Come home” might be telling Skepta he’s welcome to come back to his ancestral homeland, Africa.
Yeah, I love the sun but I respect the rain
Figurative speech/Double meaning: The sun usually is a reference for good days, while the rain symbolizes hard times. This is especially common in music or literature. It also could be a reference to religion. He can love the Son (Jesus Christ) but respects his Reign (His power and authority). I don’t know if Skepta is religious or Christian, but it could be a double meaning either way.
Look forward to good times, can’t forget the pain
Idiom/Phrasal verb: To “look forward to” something is to be excited for it to happen. “I look forward to seeing you tomorrow!”
I was the kid in school with the ten-pound shoes
Society: “Pounds” referring to British currency. These are cheap shoes, probably in bad quality.
White socks, jack-ups and the pepper grains
Slang: “Jack-ups” refers to pants that are too small/short. “Pepper grains” refers to nappy hair or hair that is curly and kinky. It isn’t combed or brushed and has knots in it, so it looks like grains of black pepper.
Said they’re gonna respect me for my ambition
Grammar: *I said they’re going to …
Rest in peace my n***** that are missing
Informal/Figurative speech: “Missing” in this case really means dead.
I had to tell my story cuz they’d rather show you
Black kids with flies on their faces on the television
Society: Referring to the sad way Africans or black people are often portrayed on TV.
Eh e kira fun mummy mi o
Other language: More Yoruba; “Thanks for my mom”
Ojojumo lo n s’adura
“She prays every day”
Mon jaiye mi won ni won soro ju
“I’m enjoying my life, they are complaining”
Ojojumo owo n wole wa
“Every day, money is coming in”
E kira fun mummy mi o
Ojojumo lo n s’adura
Mon jaiye mi won ni won soro ju
Won ni won ni won soro ju
And the lyrics repeat.
Last Thoughts on Ojuelegba
Alright, we’ve got Nigeria on the list! This song has an amazing rhythm and is such a relaxing yet upbeat song at the same time. I recommend you listen to it if you haven’t yet. Throughout the lyrics, we join the struggles of growing up in the ghetto or in rough neighborhoods. There is some reflection of hard times, but also a celebration for how much better things are now. These difficulties have made these singers who they are today, and they’re proud of it. Nigeria does have a lot of English speakers, but the country is multi-ethnic and -linguistic. It’s great that we get to see some Yoruba and be more multicultural. In fact, that’s one of the best parts of English-speaking countries, anyway!
What do you think? Did you like this song? Can you relate to its message? And what about you who are from Nigeria or have visited Lagos. What can you tell us about it? Leave a comment below to share. Otherwise take care, everyone!
From a young girl in a police family to a final showdown in the Badlands, there’s a lot of action in this song. We”ll be going over “Dani California” lyrics by Red Hot Chili Peppers here with explanations, especially for you English students out there. Learn some new idioms, slang, and grammar points. Learn a little about society too. And don’t forget to listen to the song to check your understanding! I checked the lyrics on Genius if you want a reference. After you read, make sure to find other song lyrics explanations here. Alright, here we go:
Gettin’ born in the state of Mississippi
Grammar: *Being born…
Society: He could be using the improper “getting born” to present the uneducated origins of Dani from Mississippi.
Poppa was a copper and her momma was a hippie
Slang: “Copper” is an informal word for a cop or police officer.
In Alabama, she would swing a hammer
Society: “Swinging a hammer” probably refers to a chain gang. This is a form of punishment in prisons that has been outlawed for a while. Prisoners had to do unpaid labor like build and construct things, often in the form of mining or clearing space for roads and train rails. Working in a mine or with heavy tools creates the idea of swinging a hammer,
Price you gotta pay when you break the panorama
Grammar: *It’s the price you have to pay…
Figurative Speech: “Breaking the panorama” is like going against what everyone else is doing, or not fitting in. In Dani’s case, she is probably breaking the laws established in her community.
She never knew that there was anything more than poor
Society: Just a note; the way he pronounces “poor” like “po” is an informal but common way for certain American communities to pronounce it. This is usually associated with poor, black, or Southern speakers.
What in the world, what does your company take me for?
Daily speech: By “company” here, he means the people you spend time with, not a real enterprise or business. Asking “What do you take me for?” is another way of saying “Who do you think I am?” or “You are wrong about me!” Also, saying “What in the world?” is a simple way to show that you are shocked or confused by something. You can also use it to ask a question. “What in the world is that thing? Oh, it looks like a termite.”
Black bandana, sweet Louisiana
Culture/Society: The “black bandana” is usually a symbol of criminal activity. This is because traditionally when someone would rob a place, they would wear a bandana to cover their face.
Robbin’ on a bank in the state of Indiana
Grammar: *Robbing a bank …
Culture: Again, using informal grammar on purpose to relate to a specific class or region of the U.S. In these communities, it can be common for people to say a verb with “on.” “He was kissing on her, loving all on the poor girl. So she didn’t like that and slapped all on his face.”
She’s a runner, rebel and a stunner
Figurative/Informal speech: “Runner” in the sense of a fugitive. Also, she lives a fast-paced lifestyle. I can’t tell exactly if he sings “stunner” or “stunter,” but either way he is saying that Dani is confident and likes to show off her skills. She can stun others with her abilities but can make herself look amazing doing it.
On her merry way sayin’, “Baby, what you gonna—?“
Other details: “Merry” of course means happy or cheerful. Her saying “Baby, what you gonna–?” can be like her teasing or playing with her victims. She’s also a quick shooter, killing them before they can even answer her question.
Lookin’ down the barrel of a hot metal .45
Informal speech: “A metal .45” probably refers to a Colt .45, a type of gun.
Just another way to survive
California, rest in peace
Special occasion: “Rest in peace” (R.I.P.) is what we say when someone has died.
Figurative speech: This line could be talking about the “release” of a gunshot that “releases” Dani’s soul. It also sounds like it could have a sensual meaning, but we’ll stick to the violent one, hehe.
California, show your teeth
Figurative speech: Saying “show your teeth” is another way of making people afraid of you. Think of how wolves or lions show their teeth to try and intimidate others. It could also mean showing us who you really are.
She’s my priestess, I’m your priest, yeah, yeah
Figurative speech: This is like saying she told him, so now he is telling us. She taught him, now he will teach us.
She’s a lover, baby and a fighter
Figurative speech: “Baby” here meaning someone sweet, kind, loving, and also a bit innocent.
Shoulda seen her comin’ when it got a little brighter
Grammar: *I should have seen …
Figurative speech: “Get brighter” here refers to something becoming more clear or evident. It’s like the phrase “come to light,” which has this same meaning.
With a name like Dani California
Day was gonna come when I was gonna mourn ya
Deeper meaning: He says this like he knew the day was going to come.
Informal speech: “Ya” in this case is an informal way of pronouncing you.
A little loaded, she was stealin’ another breath
Slang: “Loaded” means drunk. It could also have a double meaning, referring to her loaded gun (gun with bullets in it).
Figurative speech: “Stealing a breath” is like the phrase “Cheating death.” This means living dangerously, encountering seemingly fatal situations and still making it out alive.
I love my baby to death
Figurative speech: “Loving something to death” is actually a pretty common term in English. It usually just means that you love someone or something a lot. Here, he uses the “to death” part literally, so it sounds a bit more morbid.
California, rest in peace
Other details: Now we see that California is Dani’s last name, so we know he’s talking about a woman, not the state.
California, show your teeth
She’s my priestess, I’m your priest, yeah, yeah
Who knew the other side of you?
Who knew what others died to prove?
Too true to say goodbye to you
Too true to say, say, say
Push the fader, gifted animator
Informal speech: To push the “fader” is referring to the fade feature where DJ’s or music producers make a song fade at the end.
Figurative speech: Referring to the “gifted animator,” this could be a reference to the Creator, the designer of the universe, putting an end to Dani’s life as if it were a song. This relates the fading feature in music to the fading away of a person’s life.
One for the now and eleven for the later
Unusual format: This might be a reference to the bullets in a gun. There was one shot, and eleven were saved for later.
Never made it up to Minnesota
Informal speech: To “make it” somewhere is the same as getting there or arriving there. The same is used for non-physical places. “She never made it to 21 (she died before turning 21).”
North Dakota man was a gunnin’ for the quota
Other details: The “quota” means a share or earnings from something.
Slang/Informal speech: This North Dakota man was “gunning,” or using his gun, to get a piece of the reward, apparently for stopping Dani. Adding “a” before a verb is also a stereotypical way that rural or Southern people are seen to talk. It has no meaning but is used to add color to speech. “He was a-going and a-going until he got tired. Then his feet start a-hurting.”
Down in the Badlands, she was savin’ the best for last
Geography: The “Badlands” is a geographical feature of several U.S. states, and other parts of the world. It is characterized by desert or rugged rocky landscapes where few animals live. It’s usually dry and looks like a very tough place to live.
Figurative speech: The rock formations look like a spectacular arena or something, so she put on a final show.
It only hurts when I laugh
Figurative speech: He laughs when he remembers the good times with Dani, which also hurts because she is not around anymore.
Gone too fast
. Then they repeat.
The story of Dani California is a classic bandit highway criminal tale. We have a girl with humble beginnings in the South who’s a rebel for her times. She grows up, gets into more and more trouble, all until she eventually gets taken down. The lyrics add in a lot of colloquial or figurative phrases to better paint the picture of where Dani California is from. There are several bits of imagery to present her wild lifestyle and we see her final demise at the end. The singer loves this woman, has respect for her, but that couldn’t save her. After all, we see that a life of crime really doesn’t pay, though it can bring us fun and exciting memories.
Thanks for reading/listening and I hope you enjoyed the post! Check out some related posts if you want, and follow to be notified of new posts to your email. Thanks and have a good one!
Have you ever wanted to practice your English while listening to Megan Thee Stallion? Well, you’re in luck! Take a listen to the song and read the lyrics. Learn some new vocabulary, phrases, or cultural pointers here in Lyrics “Explained.” If you have time, answer some follow-up questions below and read some other lyrics here on CultSurf!
Queen B, want no smoke with me (Okay)
*You don’t want any smoke… “Smoke” here refers to a conflict. It probably comes from guns, since sometimes people say smoke to refer to guns or shooting.
Been turnt, this motherf***** up eight hundred degree (Yeah)
*I’ve been turnt… “Turnt” means having lots of fun, feeling good about yourself, etc. It comes from “turned up” which means about the same thing. “Turning it up” refers to making the temperature hotter, or making things more exciting and fun. *Eight hundred degrees…
My whole team eat, chef’s kiss, she’s a treat (Mwah)
*My whole team eats… “Eat” in this slang sense means to get money and to have success. Remember that “bread” and “cheese” are also terms for money. A “treat” is normally something tasty to eat like candy. It can also be used to talk about a situation, event, or person that is really nice and that you like, almost like it is a gift. “Coming to see you during the holidays is always a treat.”
*She is so bougie… “Bougie” is another word for fancy or someone who has expensive taste. “Bon appétit” comes from French and is used in many languages to mean “enjoy your food.” This mixes well with the word “bougie” which comes from the French word bourgeoisie. Also because the French language, fashion, and food are considered fancy by many Americans and others.
“Savage” has become a way to compliment someone who is really cool, has lots of style, skill, and other good features. “Nasty” normally means that some food doesn’t taste good. In a sensual way, it can mean that someone is highly sexual and acts inappropriately. Having a “nasty attitude” means to be upset or angry about something. Megan is probably mixing all of these meanings into one.
Talk big s***, but my bank account match it (Ooh)
*my bank account matches it… To “talk s**” (also “talk crap,” “talk mess,” “talk stuff”) is to talk badly about someone or to brag about yourself. Basically she brags a lot about herself but she actually has the money to prove it, or to back it up.
Hood, but I’m classy, rich, but I’m ratchet(Oh, ah)
The “hood” is a lower-class neighborhood usually for underprivileged communities or ethnic minorities. Often these are places with more poor people, drug trafficking or gang violence, thought not always. To “be hood” is to act like the stereotypical person from these kinds of neighborhoods, which could mean loud, confident, but also enjoying fights and conflict. Again, this is the stereotype. “Ratchet” is a similar term that is used to describe women who act loud, cause conflict, and can get very “in-your-face.” It’s like she’s saying she’s the best and worst all wrapped into one.
Haters kept my name in they mouth, now they gaggin’ (Ah, ah)
*my name in their mouth, now they are gagging… She means that her haters talk about her a lot or criticize her. “Gag” is a form of choking, so her haters are now choking on Megan’s success. The origin of this phrase might be to “make someone eat their words.” This means to prove somebody wrong and be successful, especially when others are criticizing you. “John always calls me stupid. I’ll make him eat his words when I go to college.”
Bougie, he say, “The way that thang move, it’s a movie” (Ooh-oh)
*he says, “The way that thing moves… “Thang” is just another way to pronounce “thing.” It’s usually used more often by black Americans to add emphasis to that word. Here you might be able to guess what “thang” she’s talking about.
I told that boy, “We gotta keep it low, leave me the room key” (Ooh-oh)
This line comes from the term “down low” or “keep it on the down low.” Sometimes people say “on the low” or “low down” but it’s basically the same. The “low” is a secret or something secretive. The “room key” refers to a hotel room. Megan is showing her dominance by kicking her “boy” out of the room.
I done bled the block and now it’s hot, b****, I’m Tunechi (Ooh-oh)
*I have bled the block… Saying “done” like this is another way to say that “you have gotten done doing something” or you “finished something.” “Ouch! I done hit my toe!” “Bleed” here is related to the slang word “kill” which means to have a lot of success in something. Megan “bled the block” so she had a lot of success (in music, I’m guessing) on her block, or in her city. “Hot” of course means it is fresh, new, and everyone likes it. “Tunechi” is another name for rapper Lil Wayne. He made a famous song a while ago called “Tha Block is Hot“. Lil Wayne is also a very good and respected rapper, so she is kind of paying respect to him.
“Acting stupid” doesn’t necessarily mean that she is acting dumb or unintelligently. Sometimes “stupid” can mean funny, silly, or crazy. The way she pronounces “acting” like “ackin” is an informal way that some people might pronounce this word. Again, it’s more common in African American communities. Her “what’s happening?” isn’t a real question really. It’s just a rhetorical question seeing if anyone has something to say now. She’s doing so well that she leaves her haters speechless!
B****, what’s happening? (Woah, woah, okay)
B****, I’m a savage, yeah (Okay)
Classy, bougie, ratchet, yeah (Ratchet)
Sassy, moody, nasty, huh (Nasty)
Acting stupid, what’s happening? (Woah, ooh-oh)
B****, what’s happening? (Ayy, ah, ooh-oh)
Hips TikTok when I dance (Dance)
“TikTok” is the name of a famous social media app, maybe you’ve heard of it? It has a double meaning here though, since “tick-tock” is the sound a clock makes when the hands move. It’s like saying her hips shake and move back and forth like a clock. A lot of people view and like videos on TikTok, so it can also mean that her hips get lots of love.
On that Demon Time, she might start a OnlyFans (OnlyFans)
“Demon Time” is a series on the OnlyFans website that has to do with strippers and erotic dancing. OnlyFans is a place where people can post exclusive content directly to their fans and interact with them. It’s kind of known for having provocative content so that’s where the reference comes from.
*that B stands for… “Bands” is the same as money; a thousand dollars is one band.
If you wanna see some real a**, baby, here’s your chance
I say, left cheek, right cheek, drop it low, then swang (Swang)
“Swang” is the same as “swing.” It’s same idea as “thang” and “thing” from before.
Texas up in this thang (Thang), put you up on this game (Game)
To “put someone on the game” is to make someone attracted to you or what you are doing, or to get them “hooked” onto something.
IVY PARK on my frame (Frame), gang, gang, gang, gang (Gang)
Ivy Park is a clothing brand founded by Beyoncé. It’s on her “frame” or body, so she’s wearing her own brand clothing. “Gang” is just something that some people say to show excitement or enthusiasm for your “crew” or the people you represent. It comes from a song too, “GANG GANG” by Jackboys.
If you don’t jump to put jeans on, baby, you don’t feel my pain (Hol’ up)
“Hold up” is the same as “wait a minute.” This lyric is a reference to her butt, by the way.
Please don’t get me hype(I’m hype), write my name in ice(Ice, ice, ice)
To “get hype” is to get excited. It can also mean to get out of control, which is probably how Beyoncé means it. “Ice” in slang can mean diamonds. Writing her name in diamonds would be cool, and it also refers to her being “cold” or really good at what she does, maybe ruthless or someone hard to compete against. This comes from the phrase “write my name in stone” which means you are famous forever and people will always know your name.
Can’t argue with these lazy b******, I just raise my price
I’m a boss, I’m a leader, I pull up in my two-seater
“Two-seater” is a sports car with just two seats. It can also mean a person with a really big butt.
And my mama was a savage, n****, got this s*** from Tina
He want a b**** like thee Stallion with the knees (With the knees)
*He wants a… Megan is referring to the way she dances.
He be like, “Damn, how that thang movin’ in them jeans?” (Yeah, yeah, them jeans)
*He’s thinking… or He is like… How is that thing moving in those jeans? Saying “like” can be used to introduce a thought or dialogue in informal speech. “I was like, Come over, and he was like, Okay.” In informal speech some people say “them” when they mean “those.” “Them are some nice shoes! I want to buy them.”
Ayy, even D4L couldn’t do it like me, like me
“D4L” (Down For Life) is a rap group based in Atlanta that was popular in the early 2000s, especially for their song “Laffy Taffy.” They made a song called “Betcha Can’t Do it Like Me” which is probably what she’s referring to. D4L was like a one-hit-wonder, so she might be saying that she can make lots of hit songs.
Ooh, ah, ooh
I done got this body ready just for you
Girl, I hope he don’t catch me messin’ ’round with you
*I hope he doesn’t catch me messing around… To “catch” someone in this sense means to find them doing something they aren’t supposed to do. To “mess around” can be another way to say cheating on someone or sleeping with someone. It can also be just spending time with someone or having fun. Mess around has other meanings too, but these are some of them.
Talkin’ to myself in the mirror like, “B****, you my boo“
*you are my boo… “Boo” is a loving term that you call someone you love and appreciate like a partner, spouse, and less commonly a family member. Here she’s calling herself “boo” in the mirror.
I’m the s***, ooh
Saying this means that you are really great and awesome. It sounds like a contradiction, but that’s what it means.
I need a mop to clean the floor, it’s too much drip, ooh
“Drip” is style, confidence, attractiveness, and all of that good stuff in one. She uses a metaphor, saying she has “drip” but comparing it to a literal liquid dripping on the floor that needs to be mopped.
I keep a knot, I keep a watch, I keep a whip, ooh (Keep it real, ooh)
These are all things used to control or dominate someone. A knot (she keeps her men tied, they are stuck with her), a watch (she keeps them on the clock, as if they were working for her), and a whip (like slavery, basically, or maybe like Fifty Shades of Grey?). To “keep it real” means to be open, tell the truth, and show things the way they really are. Not hiding or lying about yourself.
Let’s play a game, Simon says I’m still that b****, ayy
“Simon says” is a schoolyard game where one person is in charge (Simon) and everyone else has to do what that person says. “Simon says, touch your toes. Simon says, stomp your feet” etc. When someone says, “I’m that __,” it means that they are the best or the one being talked about. “Wait, so who are you?” “I’m that dude. Ask your friends, they know.” Megan also could be saying that she is the same as before and hasn’t changed her ways, in a good way.
I heard they askin‘ for the Queen, they brought some cameras in here
*I heard that they were asking for the Queen…
I’m a bad b****, she’s a savage, no comparison here
A “bad B-word” is a term of respect and admiration for a woman who takes care of her business, has good looks, makes good money, and so on. Not all women like this term and it could be offensive depending on who says it or hears it. This goes back to the meaning of “bad” as something really good or cool.
I’ma flip my hair and look back while I twerk in the mirror
*I’m going to flip… You should know what twerking is. If not, just look up Miley Cyrus or somebody. Better yet, watch a Megan Thee Stallion video.
All this money in the room, think some scammers in here
A “scammer” is someone who tricks others into making money for themselves or makes money in a number of illegal ways. Megan and B make so much money that it looks as if they were doing it illegally.
I’m comin’ straight up out that Third (ah)
To “come straight up out of” something just means to come out of it or come from it. “Straight up out” here just adds rhythm and emphasis to the sentence, but it doesn’t change the meaning in any major way. Think of the slogan “Straight Outta Compton” (NWA came directly from Compton). The “Third” she refers to is the Third Ward of Houston, which I guess is where Beyoncé lived for a while. Interestingly, the way she pronounces “ah” after Third sounds like she could be saying “Third eye”, which is a light reference to the mystic third eye and deep perception. It’s actually referenced quite often in modern music and could just be used to mean a deeper level of awareness and success. It’s kind of associated with the Illuminati too …
“Whip” is a slang term for a car. When talking about cooking, “whip” means to stir something quickly and repeatedly until it forms a foam or cream. That’s why she also says “stir.” Basically, she’s driving her fancy car as if she were whipping some type of food, driving it in circles, doing tricks in her car, and so on.
Woodgrain, we swervin‘, keepin’ his mind all on these curves (Uh)
*We are swerving… “Woodgrain” is a finish on wood that makes it look more natural. The design of woodgrain has lots of curves and swirls in it. To “swerve” is to curve quickly, usually in a car around a corner or sharp turn.
Coupe flylike a bird (Bird), cold on ’em like, “Brrr” (Ice)
“Coupe” is another word for a nice car or two-seater, too. Also, a coop is a place where chickens and sometimes other birds are kept, so she plays with this pronunciation. “Fly” here has the slang meaning of being stylish and attractive, although she compares it to the literal sense of a flying bird. “Cold” here probably has a mixed meaning of ice (diamonds and jewelry) and looking really good, fresh, stylish, etc. Cold is an adjective but she uses it like a verb, which happens a lot in English. “Brrr” is the sound someone makes when they are cold (temperature). It’s also the sound rapper Gucci Mane makes a lot in his music, much for the same reasons as Beyoncé just now.
Always keep my words, no, I don’t do crosswords
To “keep your word” means to be honest and do what you said you were going to do. It’s like not giving up. “Crosswords” are those word puzzles that you see in newspapers or puzzle booklets. She plays with the idea of a crossword puzzle and “crossing” someone, meaning to lie, trick, or cheat them. It’s also like saying “she doesn’t go back on her word” (she doesn’t say one thing and do another).
Stallion when I ride, he like them hot girls with them hips, ah (Skrrt, skrrt)
*He likes those hot girls with those hips…
I hopped that s***, the way I hopped out and slid, ah (Skrrt, skrrt)
Repeating “skrrt skrrt” makes me think she really is referring to a car. She hopped out and slid (got out of) her car. That sound is very popular in hip-hop music lately, and it almost always is talking about a fancy car, usually when someone is arriving or leaving somewhere. I’ll leave you to figure out the rest of what she means.
I pop my s***, now watch me pop up again, ah (Woah)
This line is more inappropriate but an interesting note: to “pop up” can mean to show up or appear unexpectedly.
I mop the floor, now watch me sweep up these Ms, ’cause I— (Ah)
Mopping the floor is a reference to the previous line talking about “drip.” Now she’s sweeping up “Ms” (millions of dollars).
And the lyrics repeat.
Wow, that was a lot. This song is packed full of slang, informal expressions, double meanings, and pop-culture references. The whole song is basically about how cool, stylish, and awesome these two women are. They make lots of money, are sexy, close big business deals, and can walk the talk. There’s nothing much more to explain here.
What did you think of this song? Do you prefer the original or the remix?
Why do you think they focus so much on their physical attributes? Does hip-hop as a genre encourage this?
What’s your favorite Beyoncé or Megan Thee Stallion song? What is that song about?
Would you rather be a savage, classy, nasty, bougie, ratchet, or sassy? (What’s happening)
Thanks for coming! Practice your English skills by reading and listening to the song lyrics. You can find more songs here on the website, too.
I wanted love, I needed love
Most of all, most of all
Someone said true love was dead
And I’m bound to fall, bound to fall for you
Oh, what can I do? Yeah
Take my badge but my heart remains
Lovin’ you, baby child
Tighten up on your reins
You are runnin’ wild, runnin’ wild, it’s true
Sick for days in so many ways
I’m achin’ now, I’m achin’ now
It’s times like these I need relief
Please show me how, oh show me how to get right
Yeah, it’s out of sight
When I was young and movin’ fast
Nothin’ slowed me down, oh, slowed me down
Now I let the others pass, I’ve come around
Oh come around, ’cause I’ve found
Livin’ just to keep goin’
Goin’ just to be sane
All the while not knowin’
It’s such a shame
I don’t need to get steady
I know just how I feel
I’m tellin’ you to be ready
To be “bound to” do something means that it is meant to happen or destined to happen. In other words, it is guaranteed. “If you jump off of bridges, you are bound to get hurt.” In this lyric, “falling” refers to falling in love. Sometimes people don’t say the “in love” part but it means the same thing.
“Badge” here can mean respect or honor since people who wear badges are generally respected and honored people. She took his honor but he still loves her (my heart remains).
Calling her “baby child” is a way to sound like he is in control or has power in the relationship. It also sounds like he feels pity for her because some people say this when they feel sorry for another person. Still, it’s a loving term.
To “tighten up” is to hold onto something tighter or more firmly. “Reins” are the equipment used to steer a horse or other large animal. That’s where we get the word “reindeer”. “Tightening up the reins” can be thought of as getting a strong grip on your life, controlling yourself more, behaving more appropriately.
This shows how “sick” can be a state of feeling terribly both physically and emotionally.
Of course, to “ache” is pretty much the same as to hurt. That’s why we say headache, back ache, etc.
*It is in times like these…
To “get right” is to feel better or live life better. When someone wants to have a more fulfilling and successful life, they want to get right.
“Out of sight” is more of an old-fashioned slang. It was more popular in the ’70s but obviously, people love the ’70s and so it’s still popular among some groups of people. It means that something is amazing, it’s so good that you can’t see it anymore, out of sight.
To “come around” usually means to come over, like to someone’s house. “What time are you coming over?” In this song, though, he uses a figurative meaning. “Come around” also means to come to your senses, or to realize that you were doing something wrong. You think more clearly now. “Finally, you stopped listening to that terrible rock band. I knew you would come around.”
“All the while” means the whole time. It’s especially used in situations when someone doesn’t know about something, but they usually find out later. “The kids were crying to buy ice cream after school when, all the while, there was already ice cream at home.”
“Such a” before a descriptive noun just adds emphasis, meaning it is a lot or in a big way. “He’s such a good guy (a really good guy).”
“Steady” normally means to be stable or in control, both physically and emotionally. To “get steady” then means to become stable or to gain control of himself/his emotions.
The song lyrics are quite short but there’s a lot of story in them. We have an old love seemingly from childhood, and a guy who insists on love when everyone else doubts him. It seems like for good reason since the love interest has disrespected him and hurt him. Still, like so many of us, he insists on keeping the relationship going, keeping hope alive, and denying he needs any help at all. I like the idea of these lyrics because he hasn’t yet resolved his relationship issues and he’s very much still trying to figure out what he’s doing, all while being a little bit in denial. Either way he seems to have a strong mindset about it and is warning us to “be ready” for when he is back on top of things. This story is not over yet!
Thanks for reading. Here are some things to think about and some questions to answer in the comments if you want to practice your English writing skills. I will give feedback on any comments or answers guys!
Do you know someone who should “tighten up” their reins and behave a little better?
Why do you think someone might tell you “love is dead?” Do you agree with this statement?
Do you like The Black Keys? What other songs do you like by them?
Why do you think they’re called “the black keys”, anyway?