Category Archives: Hip-hop

Hip-hop is dangerous. Hip-hop is political. Hip-hop is rebellion. Long Live Hip-Hop!

The primal quality of rap is extremely relevant in todays society as it allows people to imagine, or actually express and get in touch with their subconscious desires which our “civilized” culture has successfully taught us to repress.

Our subconscious desires (mainly survival, and fear) as Freud studied drive our actions.  However these desires can be very irrational or can operate irrationally, and lead us to irrational actions and feelings which can be very dangerous to the self and especially others and if unleashed can cause destructive chaos.  This is the fear that many hip-hop haters (I’m picturing parents and older generation) have.  They fear, perhaps rightfully so, that allowing these locked up inner desired to surface would destroy the status quo, cause chaos, and turn human beings back to their ancestral roots; animals.  All civilized masks would disappear and we would cease to be actors or exercising accepted and appropriate social norms and etiquettes and simply express our raw primal feelings including violence, physical aggression towards enemies, overt verbal and physical sexual advances, and hatred. 

What I like about this is that essentially, if humans were to act on their true inner desires, they would become completely honest with each other, and not repress anything.  The more aristocratic classes in our society are the least overtly barbaric/animalistic, and tend to conform to professional social rules and etiquette which are in place to maintain order and productive business.  The poor, however live in conditions that are closer to the survival of the fittest, and fight or flight environment.  They always feel threatened.

Repression is a necessity for the safety and contentness of the majority.  The government must implement a political philosophy that accounts for the repression of people just enough to keep them comfortable.  People’s individual unique feelings and desires must be repressed in order to maintain control, safety, and a steady or growing economy and repression is necessary for business and the capitalistic/consumer system.  It is the role of businesses to manipulate people’s minds so that people transfer these inner desires to products or other harmless things rather than allow people to express them otherwise.  But “order in the streets, leads to chaos in our minds.”  I believe the more ordered our world becomes, the more we crave the unexpected, the chaotic, and the more we crave and are potentially susceptible to the ideas and values of hip-hop.

NWA, Wu-Tang, Lil-Wayne, Waka Flocka, and numerous other rap artists get us in touch with our subconscious drives and remind us that we have them and what they are.  They rap about killing the enemy, power, fighting the system and pro-creation in a very crude, irrational, raw, barbaric way.  Hip-hop is dangerous.  Hip-hop is political.  Hip-hop is rebellion.  And because the system of consumerism and capitalism and the order they rely on will only get more systematic and fine tuned, I believe, and hope that Hip-hop is here to stay!  We just need to continue finding and popularizing good hip-hop artists.  I think hip-hop will only die when we have given up the hope and accepted that changing our systematic repressive culture is impossible.   Or if it does bring about change, and the idea of systematic repressive environment becomes a thing of the past.

PS. i touched on this topic in this post


Lil Wayne Concert August 13th 2011

Lil wayne concert, and most other concerts

The lil wayne concert in Chicago was truly an epic moment.  To me, it was a pilgrimage.  It was the first concert that I sought out and bought tickets to.  I’ve been to concerts before, and to summerfest, but I usually went to spend time with friends, and or get drunk and be amongst the young, intoxicated, impenetrable nightlife crowd more-so than actually listen to the music.   Although I’ve been to summerfest a few more times than is useful (none this year though), I don’t remember many concerts, and anyways I’m not usually a fan of concerts in general.  (most live concerts I attend I don’t even face the stage, I just talk with friends and watch the illuminated bodies, limbs and heads behind me yell and wave at the band while my back is to the stage.)  And afterwards my friends ask me what I thought of the concert and I just tell them that “I don’t know, I wasn’t listening,” or I say, “it was ok, but it’s no lil wayne.”

So August 13th, 2011 was a different experience.  I felt I not only witnessed, but participated in history in the making.  Yes, I believe a lil wayne concert is a historic event.  When I’m an old creepy man this is the story I’ll tell to little odd children that sit next to me on my bench.   I’ll become known as the “old guy who tells the same story about a lil wayne concert.”

So here was a guy (Wayne) who actually commanded my attention (and not only my attention) more than any girl in the audience that night.  I mean most concerts, girls attract my attention more than the music, but it really is something when you can attract a straight guy’s attention more than a pretty girl.  (Does this mean I’m not that straight?)

Description of the concert.

First up was keri hilson.  She’s good, she’s cool.  Next was Dick Ross featuring 100 extra pounds of fat that creates an illusion of a Mafioso tough guy character, which his skills do not warrant in the rap game.  When he came on I took a seat in my chair, and watched dark masses go wild above me, and laughed internally when I heard the girl next to me recite all the lyrics of his song.  Did she know the lyrics of one of Rick Ross’s obscure songs because she was black? And he was black?  Because I couldn’t think of what would compel someone to learn the lyrics of one of Rick Ross’s obscure songs other than because they sense some kind of illusory relation to this artist (skin color) because the musical quality certainly doesn’t warrant such dedicated fans.  He’s lucky.

Then I emptied my bladder in preparation for lil wayne.  There was a line to the mens.  I asked the guy ahead if he’s been to a lil wayne concert, and he said he has been 4 times.  There was a girl in the bathroom waiting for someone to roll a joint or something, and I’m guessing every 10th guy commented on her being in the men’s.  Then I bought another beer and went to my seat.  Timely, lil wayne came on and there was a humongous roar from the crowd, and I almost yelled so hard my eyes closed and I barely saw him.  Lil wayne performed a lot of his best songs, including a few from his No Ceilling mixtape.  I was amazed to say the least.  He said some things in between a song or two about jail time.  Then some bridge was lowered and he sang on it.  I think he also did “lollipop.”  Towards the end some others came on stage, including Birdman.  Wayne asked the crowd to cheer for one more song, and they did, and he gave us one more song.

It’s really hard to see something for what it is the first time you look, especially if you are overly excited for it.  Because I almost remember myself singing and cheering more than the actual songs.  If I see him again, I think I’ll be able to overcome my excitement and pay more attention to the music.

Fans and Tragedy/Questions

I couldn’t settle with the amount of people that were there.  I mean it was a testament to what he has created.  He created armies in numerous cities around the world that will bow down to him and follow him, and listen to him.  It started with a small cult, and grew to such unstoppable proportions.  To think: how many people’s ears has he convinced and conquered?   This was a profound, yet tragic moment for me.   I realized again, what a feat he has completed, and how immensely hard it will be for me to do the same with my craft.  The most tragic recurring thought that goes through my head, is that visual art cannot accomplish this feat.  Very few artists, if any have been able to create work that has figured out the issue of art in a system of consumerism, democracy, and mindless masses.  Very few works of art appeal to both acclaimed critics and casual enthusiasts, and very few works function anywhere outside of a white cube space.  And also tragic because how do you move on after witnessing the epitome of what you aspire to be?  What do you do when you come back to the studio the next day? 

These are horrific thoughts and feeling that I have to overcome.  Really, it won’t be easy.  But I must somehow get over this concert, and maybe over lil wayne in general.  I don’t know.  I don’t know.

Best rapper alive

Still, I really feel lucky that I got to be at this concert.  At the point of his career where he could start making nothing but mediocre work from now on.  I wish I got to see him two years ago, when he was in his prime.  Everything from him now might be “post-fact.”

Towards the end of the concert he took the mic and said straightforwardly: my name is Weezy and I am the best rapper alive.  And I loved this.  I love that some people hate this, because it comes across as egotistic.  But is it egotistic if one really is the best rapper alive?  Or is it just truth.  The same way some people proclaim themselves as black belt karate or “professional” photographers.  That’s just his title: Best rapper alive; it’s not much of a boast.

lyrics to above song

In Defense of Vulgar Gangsta Rap

Some people view gangsta rap negatively because it is catchy and it promotes sex, drugs and violence amongst youth in America.  And I would say the same, except I would say this in praise rather than in assault on rap.  I know it makes me have sexual, violent, and drug taking urges, and from working in an inner city school, I can see that that’s one of it’s effects on young kids today.  But unlike concerned teachers and parents I defend and even applaud rap music for this (as long as I never encounter it personally).  I think this is evidence of one of the philosophies of rap and hip-hop taking form, particularly gangsta rap.  In other words these rap artists have decided to stop fighting unfairness, corruption, and “the man,” with their own hands and feet, and decided to create something that would instigate a much larger group of other people to do it for them, while becoming famous and making tons of money doing it, all of which gives them a more powerful voice.  If rap can create an army of young rebels to cause friction to the system—any system, be it the school system, political system, our social expectations for sexual expression, or social acceptance of drugs, etc. then those artists’ hands need to be shaken (as artists) because they really did their job.  They created an army to challenge and fight the status quo.  Sure many of these kids aren’t creating any new solutions for the roots of these problems, but it’s still honorable, and needed for someone out there to simply, to cause friction for the system, so that the system becomes self-conscious or aware of itself.  Because once the system starts to reflect on itself this will lead to change, and new solutions.  Of course I don’t want my kids to be like that, but I do want someone’s kids to be like that, and frankly that’s what’s going to help cause change as dangerous as it sounds.

It’s a pretty clever way to fight the man, or the system if you think about it.  It works well with how commercialized rap has become in our capitalist society.  The rapper sells his music to “the Man,” and “the Man” sells his music to the public.  He is essentially selling weapons against himself, and negative propaganda, but he will do this no matter what values the music preaches as long as he can get rich doing it. And if he doesn’t do it, the next man will.  So really it’s him that’s making the choice, but someone making the choice to release this danger into our society at such a scale is inevitable.  It’s great though that he sells something that he is probably in complete opposition to.  Whether rappers think about it like this or not doesn’t matter, what matters is how their music functions and what philosophy it creates or fits under.  Perhaps it went beyond punk rock in terms of figuring out how to become part of the system and exploit it, rather than completely reject it.

Drug References and Glorification of Drugs in Hip-Hop

Talking about drugs in hip-hop songs has been around since the start of the genre, since drugs were very much a part of more inner city hip-hop artist’s lives.  Although some artists condemn the use and sale of drugs, many and if not most today glorify the drug culture—that of the dealer, and the consumer.  I wondered why this glorification of the drug culture is so prevalent in todays hip-hop.  There are several reasons.


First, hip-hop is listened to in clubs and nightlife venues, where people go to celebrate something.  It is a party atmosphere so naturally people want to hear about drugs and intoxication.  I also think that we live in quite celebratory times, unlike in the past.  We celebrate everything, and celebration is basically necessary.  For example, concerts are usually just celebrations of the band; we have easy access to their often much better versions of the songs than those performed by most bands live, and anyways people don’t usually go to actually listen to the music.  Art openings are just parties too in honor of Art foremost, and somewhere succeeding it, the artist him/herself.  All kinds of organizations hold galas to raise money, which is essentially an exclusive party.  Parties and nightlife is an escape from your daily activities such as work.  The darkness of the club and the night lets you transform into your other self that you don’t show in the daytime, and makes it easier to feel not self-conscious in the dark.  It being after normal work hours which means there is a different set of rules and expectations.  Mostly the rules and professional interaction between people is ideally tossed out the door.   Essentially, nightlife is a creative way to express your real and fantastical/imaginary inner personas.  You leave behind your reality at the door of the club/bar.  This escape from reality parallels the escape that drugs can provide.

Power and Rebellion

It is a metaphor for power and say.  Boasting that you sell a lot of drugs is basically raising your status; you become a person who everyone is in need of because you provide the good product for the party.  Hip hop started and has arguably always been by those and for those who feel unrepresented in their society at large, who’s status is diminished, and whose voice isn’t heard.  When you have drugs, people want to listen to you and it attracts attention.  Boasting about drugs is a call for attention.  The interesting thing about drugs in hip-hop is that philosophically it is about fucking the system.  It is about the poor who have a diminished voice in politics and really everything else, and who want to speak, the political/social system discourages this and the ability to successfully sell drugs is like saying ok if your not going to listen to me ten I’m going to do something you don’t want me to, because I don’t agree with you, and because I can!  Its about revealing the corruption of society, esp considering that people of all financial levels consume drugs, so selling it to white wall st bankers is a way to infiltrate and challenge the system.  And cocaine started as an expensive drug for the elite.  It also reveals the corruption in our society, and draws attention to the impoverished conditions in the inner city.


When a hip-hop artists song that is mostly about drugs and getting high hits number 1 on billboards charts, it in a way creates embarrassment for the leaders of our country, and is sort of a defeat of their beliefs, and in other words a victory of the people who don’t have much of a voice.

Interestingly, graffiti and tagging are too a significant part of the hip-hop way of life, because graffiti is again for the voiceless to express themselves in public, even if it be illegal, and their graffiti attests their existence.  It’s a way to evade and challenge the rules imposed by the more privileged people in power.

The more our society encourages a following of a set system that increasingly get more systematic, predictable, and boring the more we will seek an escape into a reality where these rigid rules and ways of life don’t apply.  This means the more we’ll want to hear about drugs in songs to provide us with a creative escape from mundane life.  We’ll turn into Japanese, except instead of cameras we’ll relish in drugs and drug-references.

Lil’ Wayne Analysis: Lyrics and Language

“Bitch, real Gs move in silence like lasagna” Get it?!  Brilliant. The ceaselessness of the allure of Wayne lies in his and his lyric’s paradoxical nature.  Just who is this guy?  What does he really stand for?  He intrigues so much with the catchy and shrewdly clever lyrics that the listeners delve to figure out the meaning of each line of his songs.  Then they begin to wonder just what it is they figured out about the song as a whole and how does each line relate to the song in its totality?  Just what is it that he is trying to say?

IN the end I think part of the allure and brilliance of his music is that on one hand he isn’t actually saying anything when you look at each song in its totality, there isn’t a clear message he is giving, he pushes spoken language and grammar  syntax and symantics to such a limit where it almost implodes on itself.  He pushes and exploits the nature of comprehension and language to explore spoken, and spoken vs written language and its structure itself.  His lyrics liberate language.  He incorporates random words and lines of thought that seem to be there simply to accomplish a rhyme or other poetic or rhythmic structure, but the amazing thing is they actually add to the content of the song.

He utilizes all kinds of figurative descriptors including onomatopoeia.  Notice the “pu” rhymes with too which illustrates how he intuitively and creatively constructs the lyrics.

got a sign on my dick that say “bad bitches only”
I don’t drink champagne, it make my stomach hurt
man I’m on that patron, fuck with me wrong and get murked
got a silencer on the gun, that bitch go “pu”

Got a mean ass swagger, my bitches do too

here the silencer could refer to the woman who is sucking his “gun” (dick) and spits the cum out making the “pu” sound.

“Suck my clip, swallow my bullets and don’t you spit uuuuuuuuuuP.”

–“Steady Mobbin’”

Here “clip” sounds similar to clit.  And a gun is an overt reference to a penis especially considering he follows by saying there are bullets (semen) coming out.  He makes the gun into a sexual object representing of ultimate masculinity and power, orders one to suck it (almost as if begging for mercy), and horrifically finishes the line, as if it’s not gruesome enough, by demanding that they don’t “spit [the bullets/come] up,” which is an overwhelmingly dominating and degrading image.

Nevertheless each of these at once random and poignant lines drifts his consciousness into other fields of thought from which he pulls subsequent lines that have a connection to the previous ones.  We get to examine the way a brain handles and operates via language (sign system) in all of its idiosyncrasies and unexpected and other times expected connections between words.  Listening to Wayne is like examining someone’s raw drifts of consciousness in real time.  This is as unexplainable as the mysteries of the way the human brain works and why it makes the connections that it does.

In some songs he delivers loving thoughts about a special girl he is in love with.  In other songs if not the consequent verses, he completely reject his capacity to love “love is in the air I put on a gas mask.”   Or even one line to the next, “This rap game, I got my hands around this motherfucker/Yeah I said game but I ain’t playin’ around this motherfucker” His contradictions reveal the complexity of his philosophy, and make him interesting—you can’t quite figure him out from what he says.  Yet it all flows naturally, there is logic and each line or verse makes sense.  As one listens to his music, one gets lost in it–in the sense that our comprehension of his words and syntax is moments behind his delivery of them, and in the sense that we are lost wondrously in the stream of conscious rhythmic delivery.  In the end, the larger meaning of parts, and the whole amount to everything and nothing in the same song.  It is at once larger than life, and trivial.  I think this is a defining characteristic of great art.  It takes you on a journey that continues to make you wonder without arriving at a definite conclusion, yet you enjoy the ride, and you feel like you’ve learned something.  But in the end whatever you were looking at can from another perspective be completely trivial.  Sort of like the way Pollock’s work can be interpreted as simply a masturbatory documentation of a moment; as nothing of substance, yet on the other hand has inspired countless interpretations and puzzled people for decades.

The biggest reason that his music is a masterpiece is its resemblance of the essence of the greatest things in this world.  It is the essence of what it means to be, and to exist.  Everything in this world is simultaneously infinitely interesting and significant, yet at the same time meaningless; (completely the opposite).  The success of this element of his music is largely attributed to his incredible natural sense of flow—which is essential for a convincing rap song.  His thoughts are merely pouring from his mind and out his mouth, and yes he permits even ones that make you wonder where they came from.  It feels as if he doesn’t even censor or edit them.  This is something that 3rd rate rappers like Drake just can’t master.

His constant contradictions and paradoxes keep us on the edge of our feet and listening and wanting to hear more.  But he does not have a clear agenda.  He doesn’t lecture and preach.  Only in his worst songs does it feel that he simply wants to literally tell us his agenda.

I don’t think it’s legitimate to dismiss his lyrics as immature, or the majority of what rappers talk about as immature or unworthy of critical contemplation and philosophical discourse.  For example, this is a big philosophical question:

I’m crazy for being Wayne, or is Wayne just crazy?
–I  Can’t Feel My Face

It’s about identity, and the ethics of perusing an identity if it is not considered normal.  He’s takes a third person point of view disassociating himself from himself in the second part of the line referring to himself by his name.

Another contemplative question:

That’s too explicit, but why you listenin’? (Set this stage on fire)

Invitation to challenge him/double meaning:

Got beef homie I was just getting hungry
When you come bitch you better bring a army (Army Gunz)

Humorous personification:

Bullet find a home in ya arteries, pardon me (Army Gunz)

In “We takin’ over” remix he talks about family (daddy, Birdman) and how loyal he is to him.   He is owes his achievement to his father/mentor/supporter: Birdman.

“Who said I’ll be the one? Just my daddy.

Hello Hip-hop, I’m home, it’s your daddy.”

In previous lines as in the majority of the song he gives praise and thanks to his daddy (Birdman), and then throws in the line above, “hello Hip-Hop, I’m home, It’s your daddy.  The genre of Hip hop has been personified as a “bitch,” by hip-hop artists, (the most famous of which was Common in “I Used to Love H.E.R.”).  So here Wayne addresses the mother, hip-hop, telling her that he has arrived and also alludes to the fact that possibly he gave birth or re-birth to hip-hop.  That it’s now his daughter, or his bitch, depending how you interpret the meaning and syntax.

Also ends the song creatively saying “my flow just grew legs and walked out,” and the music cuts out sharply surprising the listener.

These are just a few of my favorite example of his lyrics, but really there are countless others.  What sets Wayne’s lyrics apart from other rappers is that they don’t allow you to easily come to terms with what he means; they are not literal, and oftentimes they can be interpreted in various ways.

Why do poor black/inner city people get so hostile/defensive if their identity, beliefs or self is put into question?

They live in the worst parts of the city and are looked down upon.  Their neighborhoods are referred to as “bad” parts of town and where nobody wants to live.  They are aware of their perception by others in and outside their community.  They are considered less important than the more affluent middle and upper class citizens who supposedly posses “high culture.”  One reason they are looked down upon or considered less important is because they are not consumers.  They simply do not spend as much money as those who live in better parts of town, which consequently are the richer parts of town.  The middle and upper class are important for this country because they spend money and thus are important economic players.  On the other hand the poor only suck money from the rich.  The most important role of the citizen today is that of consumer than anything else, as outlines in “History of the Self” BBC TV show.  So nobody cares about what the poor people think or how they feel because their thoughts and feelings (and they themselves) are not important.  This and other reasons cause these people to fall back on the one truth and thing they posses; their self.  These things cause them to defend what they feel and believe with no remorse and snap at any instance of attack on their individuality or beliefs, because this is the last valuable thing they can be sure to posses.  Any attack on this last thing becomes a direct attack on themselves, because they don’t have anything else to fall back on—no money, no material possessions, etc.  They not merely expect, but demand respect and make that apparent.  This is also a fundamental condition that gave birth to hip-hop

Analysis of OUTKAST’S “HEY YA!” (one of 500 BEST songs of ALL time)

“Hey Ya!” is a song that describes a problematic relationship over an upbeat melody… …André 3000 then uses a deceptive cadence after a 2/4 measure of the dominant D major chord, leading into two 4/4 measures of an E major chord. The song moves at 160 beats per minute, [this is how fast a human heart beats when you work out hard and he used this on purpose, as a metaphor] and André’s vocal range spans more than an octave and a half, from B3 to G5.[3]

The song opens with three upbeats as André 3000 counts “one, two, three” and then leads into the first verse. The lyrics begin to describe the persona’s concerns and doubts about a romantic relationship.[1] He wonders if they are staying together just “for tradition,” as in the lines “But does she really wanna [mess around]/But can’t stand to see me/Walk out the door?” André 3000 commented, “I think it’s more important to be happy than to meet up to…the world’s expectations of what a relationship should be. So this is a celebration of how men and women relate to each other in the 2000s.”[4]

During the second verse, the persona gets cold feet and wonders what the purpose of continuing the relationship is, pondering the question, “If they say nothing is forever…then what makes love the exception?”[1]

The song’s breakdown coined the phrase “shake it like a Polaroid picture,” a reference to an erroneous technique used by some photographers to expedite instant film. Early versions of the film needed to be dried, and shaking the picture helped it to dry faster.[6] The song closes by repeating the chorus ad libitum and gradually fading out.[3]

Now the lyrics with Boris’s thoughts/comments inside brackets “[ ]”

One two three uh!

[a reference to the Polaroid picture, time to freeze and smileJ]
Verse One – Andre 3000
My baby don’t mess around
Because she loves me so

[so- an ambiguous word not describing anything]
And this I know for shooo..
Uh, But does she really wanna

[mess around with other guys but doesn’t because she can’t handle the image/idea of him breaking up with her]

But can’t stand to see me
Walk out the dooor..
Don’t try to fight the feelin’
Because the thought alone is killing me right nooww..
Uh, thank god for mom and dad
For sticking two together
‘Cause we don’t know hooowww…

Heeeyyy… Yaaaaaaa..
Heeyy Yaaaaaaaa..
Heeeyyy… Yaaaaaaa..
Heeyy Yaaaaaaaa..
Heeeyyy… Yaaaaaaa..
Heeyy Yaaaaaaaa..
Heeeyyy… Yaaaaaaa..
Heeyy Yaaaaaaaa..

[I have not found an interpretation of the “heeyyy… Yaaaaa…” whats that all about or is it just a silly fun meaningless phrase.  One line is ascending in pitch and the other one descending as if mixed opposing feeling.]
Verse Two – Andre 3000
You think you’ve got it
Ohh, you think you’ve got it

[he tells the listeners from the get-go that they “think you’ve got it” they think they know what this song is about, they think they know about relationships, but they don’t.  In our culture there is a high demand and expectation for everyone to be a certain way, it is expected that you “get it” and follow it.  but what are we following?  Nothing?  Do we even care what we follow or do we just agree to follow it?
But got it just don’t get it
Till’ there’s nothing at
We get together
Ohh, we get together
But seperate’s always better when there’s feelings

[this whole song is full of contrast, vocally and musically.  Andre 3000 varies everything and this variation relates to the themes of feelings and the roller coaster ride synonymous to relationships and love.  The dragging out of the word “involved” exemplifies this with the back and forth of feeling of the dragging out of the “OOOO, and oooo.”  It the variation within the word makes it feel like a fight or struggle.]
If what they say is “Nothing is forever”
Then what makes, Then what makes, Then what makes
Then what makes, Then what makes LOOVVEEE?
(Love exception) So why you, why you
Why you, why you, why you are we so in denial
When we know we’re not happy heeeerrreeee…

Y’all don’t want me here you just wanna dance

[2nd to last line the persona (singer) musters up the courage and, although stuttering, asks the listener and crowd he’s performing for a perplexing question regarding morals and the philosophy of life/relationships.  The music silences and the crowd cheering quiets as if to allow time to think about one of the biggest questions in life.  Instantly (a reference to Polaroid photography) the music comes back on and the crowd goes wild with admiration.  The question has slipped between the audiences ears, because they don’t care to think about anything even the songs the singer they admire creates, and even though they are the ones that are asked the question and the ones who this question concerns the most, and the singer understands this, evident by his next phrase (last line).  It is a moment of acceptance, but a moment the singer has already prepared for, because he know what to expect from a young careless fun seeking and no thinking wild crowd, and that this is not the right time to ask this.  He quietly, yet contently, admits the crowd doesn’t even want him here, they just want to dance to something and don’t care who makes the music for them to dance to.  The crowd is at once exuberant, rebellious yet mindedly traditional and predictable.

There is a disconnect in the music video between the Beatles performance and the yr2003 girls.  By juxtaposing new colorful times with the old b/w he creates a dialogue and comparison.  Is he saying that nothing has changed, that we are still where we were 45 years ago in terms of what is accepted and practiced as far as relationships?  And we are so because its scary to try otherwise?  Back then the girls were so excited to hear the Beatles sing, and the Beatles were singing about more chivalrous love, with values, morals, commitment, and serious feelings.  The had the image of the perfect boyfriends.  Outkast sings of love/relationships as a transient, throw-away, perhaps item, like a Polaroid picture that captures a split second in time a momentary feeling that can and is replaced the next minute by another picture/feeling/situation.  The shaking of the Polaroid refers to trying to make the photo develop faster, as if there is no time again to question the situation, only to indulge in it.  Interestingly, shaking a Polaroid photo will not make it develop faster, it may only make it more blurry.  The other meaning of shake is to shake things up as in doing something new, experimenting, changing etc.. He calls on the listeners to shake up their relationships, possibly with no reward but just for fun (like a Polaroid picture).  And “nothing is forever,” like a Polaroid photo. It can only seem that way.

Outkast is made the ideal boyfriend in the contemporary world too, because he is a celebrity, makes amazing music that makes girls excited and want him as a boyfriend because they automatically think he will treat them right, love them and not break their hearts, but ironically the content that he sings about is contrary.  He questions the traditional relationship and admits that he doesn’t want to meet their parents, he just wants them in his caddy, and to make them cum.  (it’s dirty but sung in a cute pop song innocent way and brushed over with quickness, celebratory, merry music so he can get away with saying it).  Brilliantly enough the word “caddy” means a Cadillac, a car many inner city guys dream to have.  It is spacious and big, great for fucking in the back seat.  Yes it’s a crude but honest ambition.  In the British, traditional sense the word caddy refers to “a container, rack, or other device for holding, organizing, or storing items [either heavy items or also a tea caddy].”  He directly and blatantly objectifies the women of his crowd (fans) and compares them to teabags stored in a tea caddy in which there are different sections for different teas to open and consume.  Or a cart for hauling around luggage (baggage) that he can also use and in this interpretation he implies they are a burden because of their weight its hard to get rid of them.  The weight here can be a metaphor for social standards and morals that make alternative decisions tough to make.

Apparently the crowd is only made up of hot girls showing off their feminine sexuality, and the only guys in the video are the 8 faces of Andre (Ice Cold) 3000 who is the hero and center of attention.  In the video when he asks the fellas, only him and his 8 faces respond with “ice cold” which is a reference back to himself.  It’s about him worshiping himself and wanting everything for himself.  He is also engaged in a relationship with the girl crowd and in the video a security guard prevents a girl from running to him upstage in an instantaneous expression of her love for the singer.  It is curious that the crowd is all girls.  Are they all single?  Have they gone to a cheesy pop concert their boyfriends weren’t interested in so they could shake their ass like a Polaroid picture and throw themselves at andre 3000?
Heeeyyy… Yaaaaaaa.. (OHH OH)
Heeyy Yaaaaaaaa.. (OHH OH)
Heeeyyy… Yaaaaaaa.. (Don’t want to meet your daddy, OHH OH)
Heeyy Yaaaaaaaa.. (Just want you in my Caddy OHH OH)
Heeeyyy… Yaaaaaaa.. (OHH OH, don’t want to meet yo’ mama OHH OH)
Heeyy Yaaaaaaaa.. (Just wan’t to make you cumma OHH OH)
Heeeyyy… Yaaaaaaa.. (I’m, OHH OH I’m, OHH OH)
Heeyy Yaaaaaaaa.. (I’m just being honest OHH OH, I’m just being honest)

[in the video Andre 3000 says “I’m just being nice” rather than saying “I’m just being honest.”  He tells the crowd the truth but defends the truth which he knows is socially unacceptable by saying he is honest/nice.  In the video he is smiling and innocent looking.  This talks about the superficial qualities of pop songs and pop music lovers(he knows he is singing A pop song).  The superficial qualities are so attractive that people fail to look through them to deeper ideas and questions.  And the pop song crowd is not intelligent enough to even think that there could be something deeper in the songs than a fun happy beat.]

[this is an interesting and perhaps one of the most conceptual art about artists verses in this song because it deals with the assumptions that people make about the person in the spotlight and the way they are perceived as moral, heroic and loved just because they are on a stage/in the light, when in reality they are no more special or better that anyone else.  Understanding this, he can say anything he wants in the song, and it will not be taken to heart among the (careless) masses; it will not be heard or criticized. However if a normal person says similar things to their bf/gf or to anyone else in general they will be seen as a bad person and will not get anyone to shake their ass for them and throw themselves at them.   He gets ways with it because it is in a SONG, and even though he really means it he can’t get anyone to understand it because they can’t view him or the performance as anything but a dazzling spectacle.
Bridge – Andre 3000
Hey, alright now
Alright now fellas, (YEAH!)
Now what’s cooler than bein’ cool?
(ICE COLD!) I can’t hear ya’
I say what’s cooler than bein’ cool?
(ICE COLD!) whooo…
Alright, alright, alright, alright
Alright, alright, alright, alright
Alright, alright, alright, alright
Alright, alright, Ok now ladies, (YEAH!)
And we gon’ break this thing down in just a few seconds
Now don’t have me break this thang down for nothin’
Now I wanna see y’all on y’all baddest behavior

[here he asks the girls to show him how naughty they can be and they continue to scream in ecstatic joy at him.  Then he asks them for sugar which could mean sexual things or be taken literally, in which case he is innocent and he again defends himself by referring to a moral: he is a neighbor and neighbors should be treated well and respected; you should do things for your neighbor]
Lend me some suga’, I am your neighbor ahh here we go!
Shake it, shake, shake it, shake it (OHH OH)
Shake it, shake it, shake, shake it, shake it, shake it (OHH OH)
Shake it, shake it like a Polaroid Picture, shake it, shake it
Shh you got to, shake it, shh shake it, shake it, got to shake it
(Shake it Suga’) shake it like a Poloroid Picture

Verse Three – Andre 3000 (Repeating “Shake it” in background)
Now while Beyonce’s and Lucy Lui’s
And baby dolls, get on the floor
(Get on the floor)
You know what to dooo..
You know what to dooo..
You know what to do!

[this second to last verse gains poignancy with the repetition of the phrase “You know what to do.”  It is ambiguous and on purpose because the singer (persona) doesn’t know what to do, he doesn’t know the answers to his own questions so he just tells the crowd that they know what to do.  Earlier he admitted that they just want to dance and this implies that they don’t know/care about his questions and just want to be in the moment and dance.

He raises the possibility that the reason the couple that he refers to in the song (and everyone else in the world) are staying together because they know what to do.  They are doing what they have always known what to do because nobody has ever taught them or showed them otherwise in terms of relationships.  And this is the reason why they can’t answer his question or break up with their bf because of their true feeling; because they know what they SHOULD do, and that is continue to NOT “mess around [with other people]” and just staying together like their traditional parents.

Another way to interpret “you know what to do” especially the last line is that the singer has given up with this question and left the crowd to do what they apparently know what to do; dance. ]
Heeeyyy… Yaaaaaaa.. (OHH OH)
Heeyy Yaaaaaaaa.. (OHH OH)
Heeeyyy… Yaaaaaaa.. (OHH OH)
Heeyy Yaaaaaaaa.. (Uh oh, Hey Ya)
Heeeyyy… Yaaaaaaa.. (OHH OH)
Heeyy Yaaaaaaaa.. (Uh, uh, OHH OH)
Heeeyyy… Yaaaaaaa.. (OHH OH)
Heeyy Yaaaaaaaa.. (OHH OH)

[BOOM! The song has come and gone, nothing was resolved and if you did actually listen and understand it, you are on your own to resolve it.]

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