Understand Rap - Lyrics in the Queen's English

Posted: April 08, 2012
Understand Rap - Lyrics in the Queen's English
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According to Understand Rap: Explanations of Confusing Rap Lyrics You and Your Grandma Can Understand the lyrical musings of hip hop artists are revered for their double entendres, their clever turns of phrase, their wicked metaphors, and their innate ability to confuse white people. Now, sure, some of the word-mashing brilliance is self-explanatory. Ludacris, in "My Chick Bad": "All white top, all white belt/And all white jeans, body lookin' like milk." Drake, in "Forever": "Last name Ever, first name Greatest/Like a sprained ankle, boy I ain't nothing to play with." But what about some of the more abstract lines, especially those that: allude to atmospheric conditions in the hood; discuss activities restricted to gangstas; or use the ever-changing slang terminology for money, drugs, and females? For those lyrics, Understand Rap is here to elucidate.

For example, the line, "If Jeezy's payin' LeBron, I'm payin' Dywane Wade," from Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind", is apparently about buying drugs for a bargain price that correlates directly to NBA players' jersey numbers. No way would Grandma have figured that out on her own. And T.I. doesn't announce, "I got rubber bands in my pocket," in his hit single "Whatever You Like" to alert us we may get pinged during Spanish class, but to establish that he possesses so many banknotes he must leash them together with rubber bands, lest they become unwieldy or flyaway.

Understand Rap is charming, enlightening, and ever-growing. The paperback version begs for coffee table status, while the concept's reader-driven website continues to add new lyrics and explanations on a running basis.

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