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Meaning of ‘Crowns for Kings’ by ‘Benny The Butcher’ feat. Black Thought

Released: 2019Features: Black Thought”Crowns for Kings” by Benny The Butcher, featuring Black Thought is an emphatic declaration of triumph, resilience, and hustle born out of hardship and adversity. The song explores compelling themes of street life, personal struggles, and the relentless pursuit of success, illustrating the artists’ fascinating journey from the underbelly to the summit of the rap game. The lyrics embody raw, gritty experiences wrapped in intricate wordplay and powerful metaphors, offering a masterclass in storytelling and lyrical gymnastics.

The first verse sees Benny nostalgically narrating a tale of hard-earned success against all odds. He emphasizes harsh realities of his past – navigating through life’s treacherous marathon, serving a jail sentence, “burning bridges” and proving to be a defiant “swimmer” against the tide. Benny’s sardonic tone shines when he talks about ‘making a brick jump’ an allusion to his former drug-dealing days, and his subsequent rise, justifying his existence in the rap game. He leverages images of conspicuous wealth as powerful statements of personal gain and resilience, juxtaposing them with the struggles of ‘young black males’ who put in a lifetime’s effort just for a blink of success.

Flashing a tinge of critique, Benny isn’t hesitant to belittle his competitions, declaring them ‘wack rap niggas wearin’ half-sized clothes.’ He then effortlessly blends the rigors of his past while subtly recognizing the changes it brought about – ‘this Hollywood shit tricky.’ Benny’s vivid storytelling makes a compelling statement about the larger systemic issues within the socio-political landscape when he mentions ‘the judge’ll give you life and later that day, he gon’ be playin’ golf’ – a classic juxtaposition of the justice system’s harsh punishments for black men and the privileged leisure of those issuing these sentences.

Black Thought comes in for the second verse with his razor-sharp diction and thought-provoking bars. He encapsulates the grim realities of the Philly streets and the hardships of poverty – ‘not a bite nor swallow was in the kitchen.’ The vivid imageries like ‘the boogieman comin’ to get ya’ serve as metaphors for the fear of falling prey to the streets. He chronicles the struggles of making it big in the game, which includes ‘body blows and elbows’, highlighting the relentless battles waged to attain glory and escape adversity.

Black Thought ends with a triumphant tone, emphasizing his invincibility despite numerous trials – ‘I occupy the capacity up’. His assertions that ‘pressure make precious stones’ and ‘his majesty muscle never atrophied’ reveal an unyielding spirit that refused to break under pressure. He calls the haters out while remaining untouchable and continues to generate wealth through his relentless lyrical prowess.

Ultimately, “Crowns for Kings” stands as an ode to the grim truths of street life, the complexities of the ‘game’, and the arduous journey to success. While asserting their positions as kings, Benny and Black Thought leave listeners with a potent narrative of hustle, adversity, and triumph.

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