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Meaning of ‘The Enemy’ by ‘Big L’ feat. Fat Joe

Released: 2016

Features: Fat Joe

“The Enemy” by Big L, featuring Fat Joe, is a head-nodding track that tells the story of street life, justice and survival, touching on the testing implications of transitioning from an illicit way of living to a legitimate one. The narrative reveals the protagonists’ struggles with societal systems and entities that strive to keep them embroiled in illegal activities and conflicts.

In Big L’s verse, he narrates his experience in Harlem, painting a picture of how he’s moved from an illegal life to a legit one. When he mentions “I drive up and down Harlem blocks, iced-out watch,” he’s illustrating his success and wealth. “Knots in my socks, cops think I’m selling rocks” further displays the prejudice police have for him because of his past life. Lines such as “I don’t sell coke anymore, I do tours” and “To bring me down, them Jakes will do whatever it takes” articulate his desire to leave the old life behind, but law enforcement (or “Jakes”) is suspicious and attempts to bring him down.

Fat Joe continues the narrative, expressing similar frustrations and experiences. His lyrics “Aiyyo, enough’s enough, Federals try to set me up” underline these challenges. He shows his resolve to stay legit in lines like “So I’ma keep doing what I’m doing, Pursuing my dream ’til there’s enough cream to start my own union.” Fat Joe reinforces his commitment to hard work and transformation of his life despite the constant tumult. When he talks about owning several businesses, it tells us about his journey from street hustle to entrepreneurship. His verse is a portrayal of resilience and determination.

The repeated hook “Why do I end up in so much shit? I done came way too far to be calling it quits, Jake wanna lock me up, even though I’m legit” is a potent message asserting their tension with law enforcement, maintaining their innocence, indicating their strife against a system determined to implicate them.

“The Enemy” is an embodiment of resistance against systemic injustices and a testament to the unwavering strength of the human spirit, making it a quintessential piece in the annals of hip-hop storytelling.

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