Features: Kodak Black
“HOMAGE (feat. Kodak Black)” by Kodak Black and Busta Rhymes is a lyrical tribute to the hip-hop game and an assertion of self-worth. The track revolves around the two artists’ struggle, grind, and eventual success in the music industry, while casting a critical eye on the superficial aspects of fame and wealth, and underscoring the duty to “pay homage” to the game that brought them fame.
The opening bars see Kodak flexing his wealth with a metaphorical reference to his “bread [money] turn[ing] mustard,” alluding to the yellow diamonds he splurges on. The term ‘busters,’ slang for fake, pretentious people, suggests his distaste for the superficiality in the industry. When he says he went from a “YG” (Young Gangster) to an “OG” (Original Gangster), he’s talking about his growth in the hip-hop scene, and his acknowledgement of his artistic maturation.
Throughout his verse, Kodak references his past struggles, including his stint in prison and his financial struggles, hinting at the crime-ridden activities that he was involved in for survival. This hard-hitting narrative is juxtaposed with his lavish lifestyle now, reflected in his line about rejecting a Ferrari in favor of a Bugatti.
Meanwhile, Busta Rhymes brings a seasoned perspective, offering praise and advice to Kodak. He acknowledges Kodak’s journey – going to jail, getting shot, and the subsequent calming down – appreciating how he’s grown as a person, reiterated in lines like “now I like the way you’re moving.” He also emphasizes the importance of learning, echoing the educational core of hip-hop culture. As Busta suggests, taking the information (knowledge) and applying it can lead to success in life.
The crux of Busta Rhymes’ verse, however, is the importance of paying homage. He encourages recognizing and appreciating the hip-hop culture that has created spaces for artists like them. The veteran rapper also subtly critiques those focused on his wealth (“instead of watching my pocket”), emphasizing the power of his lyrics to influence (“cut deep in the soul of every single individual”) above his material success.
The chorus sees both artists reemphasizing their growth and the importance of respecting the hip-hop game. Both the phrase “I don’t owe a bitch shit” and the term “flowers” are crucial here – the former negates any sense of indebtedness, while the latter, flowers, is a hip-hop term for praise or recognition, is a call to be recognized for their contributions to the genre.
In essence, “HOMAGE” is a complex narrative of survival, success, and respect for the roots, intertwined with a critique of the industry’s superficiality. It’s a toast to the journeys of Kodak Black and Busta Rhymes, while also shedding light on the larger hip-hop culture and its transformative potential.