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Meaning of ‘I Know’ by ‘Big Sean’ feat. Jhené Aiko

Released: 2015

Features: Jhené Aiko

Aiight fam, here’s the rundown on Big Sean’s “I Know” off the “Dark Sky Paradise” album featuring the soulful Jhené Aiko. This joint delivers a blend of melancholy vibes and comforting reassurances as Sean and Jhené use their storytelling prowess to paint vivid scenes of emotional turmoil and the escapism it can evoke.

Now peep this! The opener, “I know you’ve been going through some things,” sets the tone for the whole track: it’s about understanding struggle, recognising the pain someone else is in. Big Sean is hollering at a shorty who’s clearly caught in some emotional turbulence, numbing her struggles with dance and substances – “Drink in your hand and the harder you dance”.

Sean’s lines, “The way you move it’s like you could use a vacation… Gotta get away, make it happen, Whatever happened just had to happen on vacation, yeah,” hints on using escape, literal or metaphorical, as a coping mechanism. ‘Vacation’ in this piece functions as a dual symbol, both a physical escape and an emotional/mental one.

The verse, “Dancing, dancing, dancing like you fucking got a reason, Dancing like it’s something to believe in” lays bare her attempt to find catharsis, maybe even a form of salvation, on the dancefloor. Sean acknowledges this, and rather than condemning, he’s suggesting that she deserves better, dropping lines like “You need to be taken care of and pampered, But just like a pamper, he on that childish shit”, referring to an immature partner causing her strife.

In the chorus, Sean offers himself as that escape, as that ‘vacation’, “Baby, let me be your vacation”. All while recognizing her struggle with another guy, “That other trick you’ve been fucking with is a trip, You know she be playing”.

Now as Jhené comes in with her verse, she echoes and underscores Sean’s sentiments. She acknowledges her own struggles and vouches for the healing power of escape. They’re offering, not judgement, but understanding and companionship, something deeper than just the physical, it’s potentially therapeutic.

The narrative then evolves from understanding struggles to encouraging escapism – not as a solution, but like a band-aid, a temporary relief from the pain. In the line, “So let go and let’s go and let’s roll and we roll. Excited, activated get ignited”, Big Sean is proposing an escape, a chance to get away from all the troubles and just live in the moment.

In the ending verse, “I know it look like you need a vacation, How ’bout Hawaii, maybe Jamaica, maybe Asia”, Sean offers exotic destinations as an escape and a way to rejuvenate. But no matter where one travels, one can’t outrun what’s inside. So the song ends where it begins, illuminating that the problems you run from are often the ones that persist.

At its core, “I Know” is story of empathy, of acknowledging someone’s unspoken struggles and offering a brief moment of respite, even if that respite might be fleeting. And that’s the beauty and pain of it. Word!

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