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Meaning of ‘Buried Alive’ by ‘Chance the Rapper’

Released: 2024

Alright, let’s dive into Chance the Rapper’s song “Buried Alive”, a lyrical journey that speaks to confronting personal struggles, facing adversity, and leveraging the power of his pen (meaning, his lyrical ability) to break free. The title itself, “Buried Alive”, sets the tone for the fight against suppression and the attempt to rise from the dark place.

From the get-go, Chance takes us into his struggles, expressing the feeling of being stuck “between a rock and a hard place”, a common phrase meaning in a difficult situation. Here, when he references “Harry survived”, it’s a nod to the well-known Harry Potter series, particularly the “Boy Who Lived” narrative, symbolizing his own survival against odds. Further on, lyrics like “Shot him off his high horse, ate his American pie”, come to suggest confronting falsehoods and pretense, using the symbols of power (high horse) and fallacy (American pie).

Chance illustrates his entrapment with the line “tossed him in a hole” and then, quickly flips it by showing his wit and resilience with “pen turned the stone into a tablet.” This depicts his ability to convert problems into opportunities, using his creativity, represented by his pen. He compares his escape to acclaimed movies like ‘Shawshank’ and references iconic characters Ray Gibson and Claude Banks from ‘Life.’

Further down, he brings in biblical references –“Walkin’ through the desert, same mighty sword” and “fall down Babylon, Jericho, Dagon”, adding depth to his struggle and triumph, emphasizing the magnitude of what he rose from. The game changer in this struggle? His music. “My pen strong like one-inch punch” and “I eat all they cornbread, they don’t want they lunch” demonstrate the potency of his lyrics, leaving no appetite for lesser content. His lyrical prowess is his weapon, his salvation, and his redemption.

The track concludes with light finally breaking through the darkness, symbolizing his triumphant rise. The clever line “Right then and there the roof caved, quick rubble stone” captures the dramatic climax and relief of this emergence. Ultimately, Chance’s “Buried Alive” serves as an incredible metaphor of personal struggle, resilience, and emancipation through the potency of his lyrical genius.

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