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Meaning of ‘née-nah’ by ’21 Savage’ feat. Travis Scott, Metro Boomin

Released: 2024

Features: Travis Scott, Metro Boomin

“née-nah” by 21 Savage, featuring Travis Scott and Metro Boomin, is a hardcore hip-hop track that grapples with themes of street credibility, violence, wealth, and attraction to power. The narrative revolves around the artists’ experiences with life on the streets, their rise to fame and the relentless reality of their pasts.

The opening verse explores the glamour and allure the trio experiences, using phrases like “I took a ballerina down to the ball dance” and “Met a couple ball players, found a ball stance” as metaphors for an introduction to the high life. It suggests a mix of grandeur and danger, with lines such as “Now we in the bathroom, she found a ball face”, hinting at drug use and reckless indulgence.

The lyrics “‘Til she reached in the trunk and found a nina, I told her, Baby, that’s Nina Simone” cleverly uses ‘Nina’, street slang for a 9mm handgun, and ties it to Nina Simone, a legendary Jazz musician, revealing the juxtaposition between their art and the potential violence in their lives.

The part where they rap, “Ayy, Brady seven pack, they come in bunch…Presi’ ’round this motherfucker, I ain’t sendin’ vetos,” is an opulent assertion of the trio’s status. Brady refers to Tom Brady, the NFL quarterback, and ‘Presi’ is shorthand for a Rolex Presidential, a symbol of wealth and success. The line implies they are the playmakers in the game of hip-hop, willing to run the show without compromise.

The chorus and the verse that follows, show a shift from braggadocio to a more introspective rumination. When 21 Savage repeats, “He ain’t Slaughter Gang, then he ain’t official”, he is asserting the importance of loyalty to his crew, the Slaughter Gang, both as a measure of credibility and as a means of survival in his past life. He explores the reality of street violence in the lines “When that chopper sing, you really think that they gon’ miss you?” and “It’s gon’ be a hearse, not a verse if I diss you.”

The repetitive line “Got me fucked up” exhibits Savage’s frustration with those who doubt his authenticity or challenge him. This sentiment runs through the rest of the song, with lines like “Rich nigga, got my strap from Tommy Hilfiger”, which presents the dichotomy of his current affluent lifestyle and his readiness for violent defense.

All in all, “née-nah” is a track fueled by the artists’ collective experiences, marked by their rise to wealth and power, yet never forgetting their roots in the streets. It’s a piece that gives us a glimpse into their world and the duality they navigate daily.

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