Jay-Z released a whole book of his rhymes decoded and with the release of Watch the Throne, GlobalGrind hopped on the opportunity to put Jay and ‘Ye’s rhymes under a microscope.
The first Watch the Throne track we wanted to decode was “Made In America.”
As Frank Ocean sings the hook, he calls out a few names that many people may or may not know.
So let the decoding begin!
- Frank Ocean sings: “Sweet King Martin, Sweet Queen Coretta, Sweet Brother Malcolm, Sweet Queen Betty,
- Sweet Mother Mary, Sweet Father Joseph, Sweet Jesus.”
- DECODED: Sweet King Martin is Martin Luther King and Sweet Queen Coretta is his wife, Coretta Scott King.
- Sweet Brother Malcolm is the late great civil rights leader Malcolm X and Sweet Queen Betty is his wife Betty Shabazz, who was also a civil rights activist.
- Sweet Mother Mary is Jesus’ mother and Sweet Father Joseph is Mary’s husband who served as Jesus’ earthly father.
More of “Made In America” decoded on the next few pages!
“I pledge allegiance, uh, to my Grandma
For that banana pudding, our piece of Americana
Our apple pie was supplied through Arm & Hammer
Straight out the kitchen, shh don’t wake Nana”
DECODED: Jay-Z loved his grandmother’s banana pudding, and apple pie is symbolic in American culture. The money to purchase apple pie is supplied by him cooking up crack cocaine with Arm & Hammer baking soda.
Jay-Z raps about cooking crack in his grandma’s kitchen while trying not to wake her up.
“Built a republic, that still stands
I’m trying to lead a nation, to leave to my little man’s
Or my daughter, so I’m boiling this water.”
DECODED: Jay-Z talks about building a good business off selling crack and how he’s motivated to hustle. He continues to cook crack so that he can provide for his family.
“Downtown mixing fabrics trying to find the magic
Started a little blog just to get some traffic
Old folks’ll tell you not to play in traffic
A million hits and the web crashes – damn!”
DECODED: Kanye West decided to start up his blog for his fans, and after he began releasing G.O.O.D. music on Fridays, the overwhelming amount of traffic from fans crashed his site.
“South Park had them all laughing
Now all my niggas designing and we all swaggin’
Ignore the critics just to say we did it
This ain’t no fashion show, motherf-cker, we live it”
DECODED: Kanye refers to the “Gay Fish” episode on Comedy Central’s South Park. The episode made fun of Kanye’s fashion sense, which caused critics to question his sexuality.
Now with his women’s fashion line coming out at Mercedes Benz Fashion week this fall, he’s stunting on his critics.
“The streets raised me, pardon my bad manners
I got my liberty, chopping grams up
Street justice, I pray God understand us”
DECODED: Jay-Z raps about his hustling days and the bad things he did while hustling. Selling crack gave him the freedom to live as he pleased, and as continued to do wrong, he hopes that God will forgive him for his sins.
“The scales was lopsided, I’m just restoring order
Hold up, here comes grandma, what’s up YaYa?
What’s that smell? Oh I’m just boiling some aqua”
DECODED: While it seems that he’s talking about weighing cocaine, Jay-Z is talking about how society is lopsided between Black and white and he’s trying to bridge the gap.
Jay-Z brings it back to crack, as his grandma walks in on him while cooking crack. Grandma asks “what’s that smell,” and Jay’s simple reply is “I’m just boiling water,” when in actuality he’s mixing the coke with baking soda.