Despite this song being stupidly clever, the poignant messages in Kanye’s verse point out what’s wrong with our generation, our society, and this world. Ultimately, though, J. Ivy slays this track with his spoken word. Anyway, breakdown 101!
I get down for my grandfather who took my momma
Made her sit that seat, where white folks ain’t wanna us to eat
At the tender age of 6 she was arrested for the sit in
With that in my blood I was born to be different
The children of those who were a part of the Civil Rights movements often bore the same pain and hardships their parents were threatened with. In this case, Kanye speaks of (perhaps hypothetically) his mother’s arrested for sit-ins, and in turn, that fight was instilled in him from birth.
Now niggas can’t make it to ballots to choose leadership
But we can make it to Jacob and to the dealership
That’s why I hear new music
And I just don’t be feeling it
It’s no secret that the amount of registered black voters in the United States (and in Canada) is significantly lower than other races. ‘Ye’s verse puts an emphasis on how the black community, specifically young black men, are so caught up in the hype of material possessions and creating dope music, that they don’t give a fuck about who’s leading the country.
Racism still alive they just be concealing it
But I know they don’t want me in the damn club
They even made me show I.D to get inside of Sam’s club
I did dirt and went to church to get my hands scrubbed
Swear I’ve been baptized at least 3 or 4 times
Covert racism is a form of racism that’s not translucent or open, but rather a form of racism nested between words, quirky smiles, and ‘jokes.’ More specifically, covert racism is found within our own institutions; governments, hospitals, schools, jails, and even retail corporations. It’s concealed, thus accepted by society – but that shit is just as prevalent as the man calling you a ‘WOP’ to your face, especially in Canada. We are a racist country too; we just hide it better than the U.S.
But in the land where niggas praise
Yukons and getting paid
It gon’ take a lot more than coupons to get us saved
Like it take a lot more than do-rags to get your waves
Again, like verse two, Kanye makes reference to our over obsessive nature with materialism while simultaneously noting how [retail] coupons will not help spiritually save someone.
Nothing sadder than that day my girl father past away
So I promised to Mr. Rainey I’m gonna marry your daughter
And u know I gotta thank u for they way that she was brought up
And I know that u were smiling when u see that car I bought her
And u sent tears from heaven when u seen my car get balled up
Before the fame came, Kanye dated Sumeke Rainey for several years, and Mr. Rainey was her father. (S/O to Miss_Ru for that girlfriend correction!). As we all know, just as Kanye was ready to come out from behind the production booth, he was in a car accident that left him with his jaw wired shut. With his jaw still wired shut, ‘Ye broke out with the track ‘Through the Wire,’ and the rest is history.
But I can’t complaint what the accident did to my Left Eye
‘Cuz look what a accident did to Left Eye
First Aaliyah and now Romeo must die
I know a got angels watching me from the other side
While Kanye’s life was spared, TLC’s Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes lost her life in a car crash. Likewise, Aaliyah lost her life in a plane crash. Kanye’s reference to ‘Romeo must die,’ is a play on words, as Aaliyah’s last movie shared the same title, but also Romeo from the Steve Harvey Show – otherwise known as Merlin Santana, was murdered previously that year.