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Meaning of ‘Really Doe’ by ‘Danny Brown’ feat. Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul, Earl Sweatshirt

Released: 2016

Features: Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul, Earl Sweatshirt

“Really Doe” is a powerful 2016 collaboration by Danny Brown featuring Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul, and Earl Sweatshirt. The song encapsulates the challenges of transitioning from a grimy street life to the glamour and complexities of hip-hop stardom. It emphasizes the unique challenges each artist has faced in their rise to the top, and their bold rejection of anyone who doubts their authenticity and hustle.

In the first verse, Danny Brown uses vivid language to show his rise from selling drugs (“Used to sell out all my blow”) to selling out shows (“Now I sell out all my shows”). In his own words, he’s “made it out the hood” and has no plans of turning back, articulated in the defiant line “Think I’m goin’ back? I wish a motherfucker would.” Danny distinguishes himself with his unique style (“every day a fashion show”), implying a transcendent elevation from the past lifestyle.

Ab-Soul’s verse is a testament to his growth both as a person and as an artist. The phrase “Still wicked as Aleister Crowley” refers to his embracing his unique style, akin to the controversial occultist Crowley, noting that his strength and success haven’t dulled his sharp edge. His line, “For heaven’s sake, I’m the GOAT, you haters can go to hell,” epitomizes the assertive standpoint that he’s at the peak of his craft, while also dismissing doubters.

Kendrick Lamar, in the third verse, presents his struggles with fame and the double-edged sword that it can be. A line that stands out is, “Life can end in vain before the end is near,” a nod to the transient nature of life and success. The phrase “my zoo cannot fit the cages” is a metaphor for how his accumulated fame, wealth, and power are too immense to be confined or controlled.

In the final verse, Earl Sweatshirt candidly discusses his personal struggles and how he navigates them. He talks about his integrity (“I was a liar as a kid so now I’m honest as fuck”), his detachment from non-progressive elements (“deadweight never been a problem to dump”), and his resilience toward negativity (“Hate palpable, your jaw full of dust”). The line, “I just broke up with my bitch cause we ain’t argue enough,” signifies his need for passionate interaction, as well as indicating his willingness to eliminate anything that’s not helping him grow in his life.

The chorus echoes the song’s overall theme about the artists’ dominance in their city and the industry, repudiating any suggestion that their success is exaggerated or undeserved. The phrase “Really doe, like really doe” is a colloquial and somewhat sarcastic expression of disbelief in response to someone’s incredulous or misleading statement- in this case, any doubts about their success or influence in the industry.

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