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Meaning of ‘CHANT’ by ‘Macklemore’ feat. Tones And I

Released: 2023 • Features: Tones And I

Alright, let’s jump into this. “CHANT” by Macklemore, featuring Tones And I, is a defiant anthem of resilience and triumph against adversity. It encapsulates the artist’s journey from the fringes of the hip-hop scene to world acclaim while remaining grounded and committed to his roots. With vivid references to his personal struggles and victories, this track is a salient testament to Macklemore’s grit and tenacity.

Starting off, Macklemore recalls his interactions with those who doubted him. When they tell him he’s vanished or gone, he asserts, “Don’t panic,” reflecting his unyielding faith in his craft, even when faced with skepticism or criticism. The “underground” is symbolic of the margins, signifying his journey from the fringes to the mainstream, while “anything above ground is a mountain” refers to the challenges he’s had to conquer to become an established artist.

The chorus delivered by Tones And I echo Macklemore’s audacious spirit. It’s a bold assertion of resilience, revealing a refusal to be silenced or subdued. “Rise up” exhibits the artist’s determination to overcome adversity and stand firm against any form of oppression or constraint. The repeated question “Are you alive yet?” serves as a challenge, daring listeners to muster their courage and face their hurdles head-on.

Macklemore’s verses details his experiences in the music industry. The line “Never played the game to be a contestant” reaffirms his desire to revolutionize the rap scene on his own terms, rather than conforming to pre-existing norms. “Got my own Nike’s, no Nike ID” demonstrates his unique authenticity, emphasizing that he isn’t beholden to corporate sponsorship or commercial brands for legitimacy.

The narrative unfolds further with the lyrics “I remember all I had was a bus pass/Sellin’ CDs to make a couple of bucks back.” This retrospective look at his early struggle is a stark contrast to his present success, underscoring his dramatic transformation. The line about “the sonics makin’ a comeback” is a clever reference to Seattle’s former NBA team, the SuperSonics, symbolizing his wish to revitalize his hometown’s music scene.

Lastly, the closing lines “Player on player, I gotta keep competin’ / Keep dreamin’, won’t settle for shit / It isn’t sport, it’s my life, run the championship, I’m gone” capture Macklemore’s relentless ambition. It’s a declaration that despite obstacles and challenges, he considers his music not just his craft, but his life, implying he’ll never back down, regardless of what comes his way.

Overall, “CHANT” is a courageous articulation of Macklemore’s journey: his evolution from an underdog to a prominent figure in hip-hop, his struggle against adversities, and his resolution to remain authentic and committed to his roots. This song is not just a chant; it’s a rallying cry, a call to arms for anyone daring to dream and brave enough to follow through.

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