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Meaning of ‘Burglar Bars’ by ‘2 Chainz’ feat. Monica

Released: 2017

In “Burglar Bars” by 2 Chainz featuring Monica, we dive deep into a reflection of success amid adversity, a journey from the trenches to the peaks of rap royalty. 2 Chainz doesn’t just lay out his path to success; he contrasts his realness and depth against the facade in the rap game. The song serves as both a celebration of overcoming and a critique of superficiality in the scene.

The opening lines introduce us to 2 Chainz’s self-awareness of his powerful presence, likening himself to royalty. He’s quick to differentiate between holding a title and embodying depth, critiquing those who seem deep but lack substance. He names drops J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar, acknowledging their contributions to the culture while highlighting his own hustle and authenticity, never faking his story for clout. The reference to “selling nicks” and “the scale” illustrates his grind from the very bottom, leveraging his experiences, not fabrications, as the foundation of his rap career.

2 Chainz continues to assert his status in the game by detailing his accomplishments and material gains, like purchasing a Tesla, while still acknowledging what he hasn’t done, like a song with Jay-Z, suggesting that despite his success, there’s always another level. He openly shares his family background, marred by addiction and dealing, grounding his success story in reality rather than the glamor often portrayed in rap. His declaration of being a “Black millionaire” instead of a “Black activist” emphasizes his focus on success and empowerment through financial freedom. Verses about making choices that led him away from potential paths like being a pimp or pro athlete to embracing street life show the calculated risks and decisions marking his journey.

The chorus, with its repeated lines about not trusting neighbors and thus installing burglar bars, serves as a metaphor for 2 Chainz’s guardedness and resilience against a world that’s often been harsh and untrustworthy. It underscores a broader theme of self-protection and skepticism toward superficial relationships in an industry rife with both. Monica’s soulful interlude, “Lord knows,” and the outro evoke a sense of gratitude and a call for divine guidance amidst the chaos of life, grounding the song’s braggadocio with a humble acknowledgement of the struggles faced and the blessings received.

The closing verses bring us back to 2 Chainz’s reflection on his status and the impact he’s made, likening himself to a rare blessing. He doesn’t shy away from critiquing the superficial layers of the rap game, even as he plays it to his advantage. The final mention of Section 8 and apartment living, complete with petty conflicts with neighbors, brings the song full circle – from humble beginnings to a place of influence and power, yet never losing sight of where he’s come from. It’s a raw, unfiltered glimpse into the reality of his world, marked by both triumph and ongoing struggle.

“Burglar Bars” is a multifaceted track that hits hard with its blend of truth-telling, self-assessment, and unapologetic acknowledgment of the complexities in the journey from the bottom to the top. 2 Chainz delivers a powerful narrative packed with life lessons, achievements, and an honest take on his rise through the ranks of hip-hop, all while staying true to his roots.

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