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Meaning of ‘The Root of All’ by ‘DJ Premier’ feat. Slick Rick, Lil Wayne

Released: 2022

Features: Slick Rick, Lil Wayne

“The Root of All” is a deep dive into the influence, power, and sometimes the destructiveness of money – the root of everything, including evil. This track by DJ Premier featuring Slick Rick and Lil Wayne serves up some real talk about the pervasive influence money has on society, relationships, and even our moral judgment.

In Slick Rick’s verses, he paints a vivid picture of the complex relationship many have with money. Lines like “Problem with my mom again, troublin’ / Money think it’s runnin’ things” reflect the strain money issues can put on personal relationships. It’s not just his mom, but societal relations too – “money thinks it’s running things”. That’s a throw to the larger picture – the systemic financial inequality, and the perceived power of the dollar.

The line “Control money, don’t let it show money / Soul money, never let it go from me cold, homie” is an advice to control your money, not let it control you. It’s a call to prioritize substance – or “soul money” – over apparent wealth – “show money”. The lyrics also touch on ageism, pointing to how the pursuit of variety and newness can lead to discarding the old – “stay with ’em, told to play ageism”.

Lil Wayne on the other hand, flexes with his wealth, dropping lines like “I’m at the bank, I’m thinkin’ ’bout the fact how I don’t have to think / About a way to rob the bank, I fuck around and buy the bank”. But this isn’t just a display of his fortunes. It’s a reflection on the privileges wealth brings – the security, the power, and sometimes, the illusion of invincibility. Wayne also looks at the trade-offs, the struggles, and the watchful eyes – “power struggles, power moves and power drills ’cause I reveal”.

The hook of the song presents a bleak image of how all-consuming the pursuit of money can be – “My future’s lookin’ promisin’ / Problem with my mom again, troublin'”. It brings out the paradox of ambition and tensions that money brings, notably in personal relations. DJ Premier, Slick Rick, and Lil Wayne are shedding light on money as a double-edged sword – a source of power, success, and also of moral dilemmas and struggles.

Ultimately, “The Root of All” brings up uncomfortable questions about society’s dependence on money, the unending chase for it, and the moral compromises we sometimes make for it. It’s a song that provokes thought on the value we place on wealth and the lengths we go to acquire it.

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