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Meaning of ‘Something to Rap About’ by ‘Freddie Gibbs’ feat. The Alchemist, Tyler, The Creator

Released: 2020 • Features: The Alchemist, Tyler, The Creator

Break out your notebooks, ’cause we’re unpacking “Something to Rap About,” a masterful collaboration between Freddie Gibbs, The Alchemist, and Tyler, The Creator. Poised as a swan-diving narrative into their own tumultuous journeys, this track is a raw examination of the trials, tribulations, and triumphs that shaped them. It’s an unfiltered view of life through the lens of poverty, crime, and the continuous struggle to break the chains of the past to find a path to legitimacy.

Focusing on each artist’s verse, starting with Freddie Gibbs, the track kicks off with a candid window into his past life. He spits about the grim circumstances that pushed him into selling drugs or “touched that crack,” as he puts it. Freddie’s confessional bar, “God made me sell crack, so I had somethin’ to rap about,” gives us an understanding of what made him the artist he is today, suggesting that his tough upbringing provided him with the dark material that shapes his punchy lyrics. “Crime fuckin’ pays, but once you paid, you gotta pay the man” highlights the inevitable trade-off of this lifestyle —yes, it gave him a way out of destitution, but always hanging overhead were the repercussions and dangerous run-ins with law enforcement.

Riding on the same wave, Gibbs touches on the difficulties he had with his record label and the IRS in the lines, “Record labels downed me forty thousand on my first advance / Fucked up on my taxes, IRS kept me on payment plans.” This further underscores the persistent struggles he faced to not only break free from the ‘trapping’ lifestyle but on staying afloat once he did.

In comes Tyler, The Creator, with his tell-tale touches of introspective storytelling. Tyler begins his verse by stating, “This sound like the boat I haven’t bought yet / This sound like the moment I jump off it,” that likely represents his journey from poverty to success, but symbolically ‘jumping off’ the boat to escape the pitfalls of fame and materialism. He paints a vivid picture of a luxury lifestyle that feels distant from the harsh realities he grew up with.

Interestingly, Tyler also hints at his past as a misfit, “I used to be a Goblin under them bridges,” which fans would recognize as a nod to his 2011 album ‘Goblin.’ His journey to being “up in this man” visualizes his rise from an under the bridge Goblin to an artist worth recognition. His line, “I gotta move cautious, ’cause niggas malicious, they come from the trenches,” highlights the ever-present threat of enmity in the world of Hip-Hop and his careful navigation through it.

Last but not least, the hook, “VL niggas trap it out / Lord let me hit this so, so I have something to rap about,” paints an earnest plea towards the struggle to find a narrative worth sharing; ‘trap it out’ references the fact that Freddie Gibbs’ early life was spent selling drugs, encapsulated in the term ‘trap.’

In conclusion, “Something to Rap About” isn’t just a song; it’s a life capsule filled with raw emotions, personal struggles, and unfiltered realities of life on the streets. It celebrates the victories, acknowledges the adversities, and reminds listeners that every rap superstar has a gritty past that they managed to overcome.

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