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Meaning of the song ‘By My Lonely’ by ‘Kevin Gates’

Released: 2019

“By My Lonely” by Kevin Gates is a testament to his determination and individual strength in the face of harsh realities. With an intensity that’s both intimidating and enthralling, Gates details his rise from the streets, the struggle for survival, and his embrace of solitude over forced affiliations.

The opening lines, “Killers in my hood, they know me by my first name / You know ’em by their work name, I know ’em by their birth name,” lay bare the harsh backdrop of his upbringing. He showcases his deep alignment with the streets, where he knows dangerous individuals on a personal, first-name basis, as opposed to being detached from the reality and only knowing them by their street-given names.

“Type of weight make a man stand on principle / Kill yourself but get your whole fam slammed on principle”, emphasizes the brutal code of the streets where honor and principle could lead to self-destruction and even the harm of one’s family. It’s an insight into the ethos of his environment where actions carry heavy consequences.

“I had to make a couple bands by my lonely,” reveals his self-reliance and grit when it comes to financial stability, making money on his own, without relying on others. The repetition of this phrase underscores his solitary journey, adding a layer of defiance and refusal to adopt fake friendships – clarified with the line “Fuck nigga, I don’t wanna be your homie.”

The references to “a hundred in”, “the mop”, “cocaine resin”, “paraphernal'” and “weight in the pale” alludes to his involvement in the drug trade – a way of survival and economic progress in his circumstances. This is underlined with the notion that the storm is coming, hinting at the impending danger and the inevitable jail time that accompanies this lifestyle.

In the third verse, Gates expresses his frustration and exhaustion, admitting to being “sick and tired of my phone ringin'”. His lyrics recount the hustle, trading bricks (slang for a large quantity of drugs) and always being on guard with the “big ol’ stepper with a rod”. The “stepper” describes a gunman, and the “rod” in this context pertains to a firearm, illustrating the constant threat of violence.

The line “C-C-Carbon with a drum, tiger, you no try to run” refers to a semi-automatic firearm enhanced with a high-capacity drum magazine. This along with the lines about having steppers and bodies on their firearms, paints a vivid image of Gates’ readiness for any chaos that may ensue.

“I’m tied in with the mayor (achoo) / Go sit down, went to jail / I’m part of the cartel” – Gates confidently admits to his ties with authority and illicit activities, even serving time in jail, presenting his past not as a liability but as a badge of honor, proof of his resilience and undeniable charm.

By My Lonely wraps up, not with an impression of regret, but of invincible determination and the relentless pursuit of success, even if it’s obtained “by my lonely”. The song offers a raw and unfiltered look into Gates’ life, a narrative of survival, resilience, and tough determination cultivated in the harshest environment.

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