Probably one of my favorite songs ever, I made this post to just break down the song and give you guys an insight on what it’s really about and how deep songs really are. I know y’all just be letting this stuff fly over your head.
This is the last song on Jay-Z’s first album Reasonable Doubt. He treats the whole album as if he is talking to his listener directly by telling his real emotions. The song was chosen to be last because he wanted to show the pain of someone who is or was a drug dealer and that the illegal lifestyle is not all glitz and glamor. This is what he feels when he comes home and lays down at night or when he’s looking at himself in the mirror. He is disgusted with what his is doing. In this song Jay-Z brings us into the mind of someone selling drugs in their own community and essentially hurting their own people. He gives a feel of regret, remorse, and melancholy all in one song. He is giving a voice to the people on the street who kill, and rob, and sell drugs, he’s giving the consequences to life choices. There are three different points of views and stories being presented in this song. In the first verse a story is being told from someone who would be considered a boss. The person is feeling guilt for placing his own worker in a bad situation; he watched the exchange go down and then fled when it turned sour. He is feeling regret leaving him in that situation and not knowing what became of it. In the second verse he takes on the persona of a young person who is also out on the streets. His mother definitely knows what her child is doing, but there is not much she can do but let him make his own choices and mistakes. The boy seeks but never finds direction, and then is placed in a life or death situation. The third story presented is of someone who is missing and also speaking to a lost friend through the whole verse. The character is having suicidal thoughts due to the stress of his street life and talking his friend comforts him. The conversation moves into a present situation that he is having with someone named newton. The problem is money; killing newton would only make the problem worse so he is forced to handle it in a less violent way. In the end of the song he realizes he’s talking to someone who was never there.
Said all that to say this, TRY TO LISTEN RAP A LOT CLOSER AND YOU’LL APPRECIATE THE GENIUS OF SONGS LIKE THESE.