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Meaning of the song ‘i tried’ by ‘slowthai’

Released: 2021

“I Tried” by Slowthai is an introspective track that explores his struggle with depression and mental health issues against the backdrop of his hard-hitting rise to success. It’s a raw and punishing view into the artist’s journey, underpinned with a reflective tone that asks listeners to contemplate the price of fame and personal demons.

The opening lines introduce us to Slowthai’s vivid mental battle – “I tried to die (the pain won’t die)/I tried to take my life (and you caught me with a smile).” The raw desperation is almost palpable, as he grapples with the sobering reality of his struggle with thoughts of self-destruction, balanced by the unexpected saving grace – a smile.

His delivery on the next part, “Long road, took a tumble down this black hole/Stuck in Sunday League but I’m on levels with Ronaldo,” speaks to his rise from obscurity. He links his growth to soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, signalling a parallel between their paths from humble beginnings to skyrocketed fame. The stark contrast between “Sunday League” and “Ronaldo” makes his journey feel all the more impactful.

Slowthai’s references to Al Capone and the Templars are dense metaphors that point to his mindset and position in the rap game. “A legend in the making, as a kid, I dreamed I’m Al Capone” indicates his inflated self-perception, while “You’re fucking with Templars crusading through the ends” suggests a defiant battle against anyone in his path.

The phrase “Life got me in a headlock, back and forth like a hockey puck” is a vivid image of his life’s tumultuous nature. His reference to boxing and hockey nuances the continual struggle that reality presents.

Slowthai takes a culinary turn with the line: “Know my cake and custard inside-out like a tube sock.” Here, cake and custard could symbolize his life or the rap game, which he knows inside-out. He follows the idiom with a wish to be like Manuka honey, a high-quality product associated with medicinal properties. He wishes to be pure and beneficial amidst all the stark realness.

As the song progresses, it becomes a personal exploration of his journey and struggle – “Running from my struggles back and forth like the Chuckles/As morbid as it seems, I’ll never wake up from this sleep/If hell’s meant for sinning, heaven’s never been for me.” he accepts his flawed self and acknowledges the dark reality he lives in.

“I Tried” ultimately is a powerfully raw narrative of Slowthai’s journey, presenting his intersecting worlds of fame, struggle, and self-realization, and giving listeners a profound look into his mind and the complexity of his experiences in the rap game. The track’s heavy sentiment and introspection subvert the stereotypical success story, forcing an acknowledgement of the less glamorous side of fame.

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