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Meaning of ‘Above The Clouds’ by ‘Gang Starr’ feat. Inspectah Deck

Released: 1998 • Features: Inspectah Deck

“Above The Clouds” by Gang Starr featuring Inspectah Deck is an emblematic track serving an astute lesson in rap lyricism with a meta-astral flair. The lyrics present a mind-expanding exploration of knowledge, life’s hardships, spiritual warfare, and the pursuit of self-mastery and enlightenment, all wrapped in a cosmic perseverance motif. Hold on to your seats, folks, ’cause we’re about to take a ride through this lyrical universe.

The track starts with a spoken-word intro, creating an atmosphere of cosmic anticipation. This is the launchpad for the song’s narrative, alluding to space as a metaphor for the vastness of knowledge and the profound journey of understanding.

Inspectah Deck kicks off with “I Self Lord And Master, shall bring disaster to evil factors.” Here, he alludes to the Five Percent Nation’s concept of the self being the true master, combating societal evils. This theme of power and control extends to the spiritual, as he imagines his thoughts as cosmic energy – “circulate like constellations.”

“Word to the father and mother earth” is another nod to Five Percent Nation teachings highlighting a balance between masculine and feminine principles. The rapper emphasizes the need for spiritual and moral wisdom, referencing “ghetto style proverbs,” and outlines his desire for freedom and enlightenment.

The first line of the chorus “Above the crowds, above the clouds where the sounds are original” signifies a place of higher understanding, where creativity and originality thrive. This is the aspirational zenith, the goal of rising above societal pressures and expectations to attain a level of spiritual awareness and knowledge.

Inspectah Deck continues his verse with a more aggressive tone, laying claim to his prowess, likening himself to colossal figures and forces, insinuating his music’s power and impact. He tags himself as the “maker, owner, plus soul controller,” emphasizing his independence and dominance in the hip-hop game.

The lyrics “On the mic like Moses spoke in golden scribe / Survivor of the oldest tribe whose soldiers died” connect his word-peddling skills to prophetic abilities, echoing the enduring struggles of African-American history. It’s a bold claim of survival and struggle, painting a picture of enduring adversity and coming out stronger on the other side.

The closing hook repeats the mantra of being “Above the clouds… Infinite skills create miracles”, restating the song’s core message of using knowledge, resilience, and artistic talent to transcend hardship and societal constraints.

In essence, “Above The Clouds” is a timeless hip-hop anthem, layering spiritual, historical, and socio-political issues under a cosmic analogy, asserting the transformational power of knowledge. Its narrative sleekly weaves personal struggle with a universal quest for wisdom, pegging it as a true testament to the lyrical depth and philosophical edge Gang Starr and Inspectah Deck brought to the game.

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