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Meaning of ‘Rags2Riches 2’ by ‘Rod Wave’ feat. Lil Baby

Released: 2020

Features: Lil Baby

In “Rags2Riches 2,” Rod Wave, with Lil Baby on the assist, delivers a stirring narrative of their rise from humble beginnings in the projects to the wealth and luxury of their current lifestyle. The song marries a celebration of their achievements with cautionary notes and reflections on the hardships endured on their journey to the top.

Starting with the hook, Rod Wave establishes the theme of the song – transitioning from a life of poverty (“rags”) to one of prosperity (“riches”). The motif of the ‘hood-to-hollywood’ narrative is prevalent in hip-hop, with the artists often choosing to viscerally recount their experiences growing up in underprivileged communities and striving to forge a better life. This song is no exception. It’s a triumphant affirmation of their success, an ode to making it “straight out that bottom.”

It’s not all celebratory though. Rod warns about the pitfalls of fame and wealth with lines like “All of my lil’ brothers ’bout it, they cutting for me.” The phrase ‘cutting for me’ refers to his closest allies, ready to fight or even kill for him, emphasizing the dangerous nature of the environment he comes from.

When Rod says “Say she in love with me, But save your love, I just want your company,” he highlights the struggle of navigating romantic relationships in the limelight. He questions the authenticity of affection given toward him, wary that his fame and wealth may play influence.

Lil Baby’s verse delves deeper into the repercussions of their radical lifestyle shift. He ponders the harsh reality of street life (“Die in these streets or get saved by the system”) contrasting it to the massive wealth they’ve amassed (“Or get you some millions, my lifestyle is vicious”). He also acknowledges betrayal in relationships and notes the virtue of his partner, a rarity in their world, further reinforcing the contrast.

The song ends on a loop of the “Rags to riches” hook, as a reminder of the journey they’ve made. The repetition reinforces the central theme, underlining the artists’ ascendance from poverty to prosperity. The emotive performance culminates in a testament of resilience, endurance, and ultimately, triumph over adversity.

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