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Meaning of ‘CARNIVAL’ by ‘Kanye West’ feat. Ty Dolla $ign

Released: 2024 • Features: Ty Dolla $ign

Aight, let’s dive into “CARNIVAL” by Ty Dolla $ign, featured by Kanye West, and unravel this joint piece by piece. The track’s theme revolves around their braggadocious lifestyles, sexual conquests, and success against all odds, all wrapped up in the vivid imagery of a carnival ride—thrilling, unexpected, and a little wild.

Breaking down the chorus, “Head so good, she a honor roll / She’ll ride the dick like a carnival,” sets the tone with a classic mixture of wordplay and explicit content. Ty uses the metaphor of a carnival, known for its wild rides, to describe a woman’s sexual prowess—comparing her skills to the high achievements of an honor roll student.

In verses like, “Way too rich to drive a Rove’ / Made a milli’ off the stove,” we’re getting straight talk about wealth and drug-dealing pasts. Ty is too wealthy for a Range Rover, a luxury car, because he’s accumulated so much more. He then flips the script to talk about making a fortune independently “off the stove,” which is slang for cooking drugs—a nod to his hustling days.

When he says, “Pull up in the trenches like Columbine / Pull up with the rocket like Numbanine,” he’s drawing a parallel between the danger and violence of street life (the trenches) to the infamous school shooting at Columbine.

The reference to “Numbanine,” a Chicago rapper known for his song “Hang Wit Me,” amplifies this tough image with a gun reference (“rocket”).

The verse continues with a victory lap for reaching his goals and his selective approach to relationships, “Young nigga, reach all the goals / Let her suck the dick, said she was a pro.” He’s not just about any woman; he wants a pro—an experienced partner. He’s achieved his aspirations and now has the luxury of choice.

Veering into the next verse, Ty and Kanye throw around their success, with lines like, “She ride it like Six Flags / We turned up to the max,” again using amusement park metaphors to describe wild sexual escapades and a life of excess.

Things get heavier when Kanye jumps on the track with the line, “Now, I’m Ye Kelly, bitch / Now, I’m Bill Cosby, bitch,” referencing controversies surrounding R. Kelly and Bill Cosby. He’s drawing a parallel between their public downfall and his own controversies, though in a brash and unapologetic manner, playing with his infamy and the “#MeToo” movement. It’s Kanye in his typical provocative form, boastful and walking the edge.

The song closes out with more of the same energy, an overlapping mix of sexual dominance, street credibility, massive success, and a life that’s as hard to predict and control as a carnival ride. Overall, Ty Dolla $ign and Kanye West deliver a track that’s boastful, decadent, and unapologetic, painting a picture of their world as one big, hedonistic carnival.

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