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Meaning of ‘Dropout Boogie’ by ‘Your Old Droog’ feat. MF DOOM

Released: 2021

Features: MF DOOM

Your Old Droog’s “Dropout Boogie” featuring the late, great MF DOOM is a vivid exploration of their shared experiences as high-school dropouts, leaning heavy into a critique of the educational system and their journey towards self-education and hustle in life’s harder classrooms. The track mixes humor with hard truths, underscored by Droog and DOOM’s signature wordplay and metaphoric prowess.

“Go to school, go to school, dropped out when I heard that/Too busy tryna figure out where the birds at” Droog sets the context right out the gate, affirming his status as a high school dropout more interested in street knowledge and hustling. “Birds” here, commonly known in the jargon of the streets, is often interchanged to signify women or drugs, depending on context.

As we move into verses like “Gambling, popped ’em all with a six/Four bogies and malt liqs, alcoholics”, Droog paints a picture of his youth spent outside of school; engaged in betting, smoking cigarettes (bogies), and drinking malt liquor – offering a raw and visceral view into his reality that school did not cater to or comprehend.

Introducing MF Doom with “Got bad grades still stayed doing the math”, underlines the paradox of institutional education. Despite low academic performance, Doom here is referring to his mastery of the street’s particular form of arithmetic: hustling, survival, street knowledge itself.

In the line, “Or swipe a MetroCard down they face to the raw meat”, Doom delivers a hard-hitting metaphor, suggesting the brutal street fights and the often raw, unpredictable nature of life outside the school gates, where the swiping of a metro card could be equated to a razor slash.

Towards the end, “Dropout boogie, repeat the steps or pave the way,” suggests the choices at hand: follow the school-prescribed path, drop out and find your own way, or cast a completely new path. This lyric articulates one of the song’s key themes: the systemic failures of our educational institutions and how they often fail to engage or inspire different kinds of learners or those who have had to exist outside of conventional frameworks.

Overall, “Dropout Boogie” is a gritty, flavorful track grounded in the realities of school dropouts, reflecting on the education system’s inadequacies while celebrating the gritty school-of-hard-knocks education Droog and DOOM received, all while showcasing their masterful command over lyrical storytelling.

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