Monday, September 5, 2011

Reese's Pieces: No Church In The Wild: An Interpretation
12:33 AM

Reese's Pieces: No Church In The Wild: An Interpretation

I've decided to share some of this .com spacery with my homegirl Sa'Rese. Her perspectives, point of view & writing style is dope (plus she's a bum & I show sympathy for bummery...nah but seriously) but enough from me...I present to you...Reese's Pieces. Take it away...


I've always been told that if no one else knows the lyrics to a song, I do. I've always been a music head but picking apart the lyrics to a song wasn't something I've ever thought about tackling. I've found myself more often than not listening to a song and imagining the concept of the video (or at least what it would be if I directed it) but again, giving my own interpretation as to what I think the lyrics mean, this is new. New but exciting none the less. "Wrote a song about it, like to hear it, here it go..."

Tears on the mausoleum floor
Blood stains the coliseum doors

A fan of Greek Mythology and all things Roman I think Jay's reference to a mausoleum is that of The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus. It was a tomb built for Mausolus, a satrap in the Roman Empire, along with his wife whom was also his sister. Digging deeper into the reference of a Mausoleum, a satrap in modern lit refers to world leaders or governors who are heavily influenced by larger world superpowers (superpowers=Illuminati?, for those who believe it, sure why not.) or hegemonies and act as their surrogates. A hegemony is an indirect form of imperial dominance. "Cultural hegemony" explains how by the manipulation of the societal value (money) system one social class (the rich) dominates the other social classes (those who aren't rich). However, getting back to my original reference, Mausoleums are these grand tombs that are built for the dead, so the first line is simply someone mourning over the loss of their loved ones, unless of course you choose to take my previously stated depiction. The next line is easy because those who follow Roman culture know that coliseums were used to showcase battles between gladiators. The blood staining the doors is that of the fallen fighter. We can put Jay into the story as a spectator at the coliseum or perhaps he is the person that tears are being shed for in the coliseum and the blood on the coliseum doors is his. (interesting right?)

Lies on the lips of a priest
Thanksgiving disguised as a feast

Okay, if we're going to stick with the theme of the Romans on this one then yes, Priests were very powerful figures in the Roman church, but if we look at families like the Borgias, then we know that everything that a priest or Cardinal says isnt always the truth because that particular family lied and did everything in between in order to rise to the papacy. Or we can approach it from the standpoint of a Baptist, we can say that the priest (preacher) is lying because he is telling us of the dinner between Christ and his apostles, known as the last supper but in this verse is it referenced as a disguise because this was Christ last meal and everyone at the table knew his end was near? Or perhaps its as simple as that of Christopher Columbus and the colonization of Indian territory, a feast with enemies disguised as your friends. Again, if we are sticking with the Roman theme here then we can reference the Greeks and there entry into Troy by disguise of the wooden horse, this continues to go along with what I already said about a celebration with enemies.

Rollin in the Rolls-Royce Corniche
Only the doctor's got this, I'm hiding from police
Cocaine seats/all white like I got the whole thing bleached

Along with my love of music, I also love cars and the Corniche is a late model Rolls-Royce that hasn't been made since 2002, so one could think that Jay is of course referring to his past. Hence his dope boy days when he probably did have to hide from the police then in some what of a fast forward reference he says "all white like I got the whole thing bleached" this could have dual meanings since bleached could stand for purification in regards to the way he lives his life now and that he is absent of his old ways or it could have a monetary reference because for those that know, in order to make fraudulent money, the paper of dollar bills is bleached in order to make larger denominations. But, if we are sticking with the theme of Rome here then it is safe to go with that of religious references and say that he uses bleach to mean the cleansing of his spirit and the start of a new life.

drug dealer chic
I'm wondering if a thug's prayers reach
is Pious pious cause God loves Pious
Socrates asks whose bias do ya'll seek?

The first two lines, well the whole passage intermingles because wondering if his prayers reach is meant to be or to say that if sinners do wrong but repent, are they still forgiven? "Is Pious pious cause God loves Pious" in the context of Roman and Greek Mythology we know that all the Gods of Olympus and those that aren't in Olympus all have statues or places to which the people that worship the specific God go to make sacrifice and to offer incense in hopes that the God will grant them favor. As far as Socrates is concerned, this further proves the Roman references that are stated and it also backs what I just said about worshiping specific Gods. In the story of Hippolytus, he is punished by Aphrodite because he chooses to worship her twin Artemis instead. So are we to believe that if we worship one God more than the other that our prayers fall on deaf ears? Jay could have had this in mind when he asked if a thugs prayers reach, and if they do, which God is he to show more favor to?

All for Plato, screech
Plato was actually a student of Socrates, if I can include the previous verse above with this one then I would take it to mean that Socrates was merely asking the people, to which truth do you believe; that of the invisible world or that of the visible world? If you know anything about Socrates then you would know that he believed that the invisible world was the most intelligible, is this because we as humans only believe the things that are shown to us and are too afraid to question the unknown? Socrates says that people living in a "sun-lit" world are said to be are living in a den of evil and ignorance; while few climb out of that den, those that do have a terrible struggle of getting out but when they go back to help others out, they are the subject to scorn and ridicule. This rings true in the modern world where we find that if we are those that make it out of a difficult upbringing or childhood we are looked upon as having left behind those who didn't make it out with us and more often than not, those that we helped only endured the climb to pull us down from the top once we make it (in so many words I say this in the acknowledgments of my second book). I believe Jay used this reference to refer to those people that didn't make it out of Marcy Projects or for the ones that he was able to help, this verse almost plays as him reaching back to tell them that if I could make it, you can too. I took the screech to mean a halt, him coming back to his consciousness and pausing his thoughts.

I'm out here ballin' I know ya'll hear my sneaks
Jesus was a carpenter, Yeezy laid beats
Hova flow the Holy Ghost, get the hell up out your seats
Preach

Of course we know Jay used to play ball so thats obviously the meaning behind the first line but if you want to dig deeper then that could also mean his status in the world now. The second verse compares Kanye to Jesus in terms of his profession, laying beats, laying wood in order to make things=kanye making beats in order to create platforms for other artists as well as himself. "Hova flow the Holy Ghost get the hell up out your seats" Hova, a nickname of Jay's is another reference to a divine being (the Lord or God) and this is not the first song where he mentions hell. Perhaps in this song hell is meant to be the hell that we are rising out of (get the hell up) in order to move on and become something better or perhaps "bleach" ourselves (remember the earlier verse to which he speaks about bleaching the seats of the Rolls Royce). Preach is a term used in black churches yes, but it could also be an introduction to the chorus that Frank sings. It could also be him alluding to the fact that that is something most people shout when they are agreeing with a message that touches them deeply, as this verse should have touched you in one way or another had you actually understood all the references.

Human beings in a mob
Whats a mob to a king? What's a king to a God?
What's a God to a non-believer who don't believe in anything?
Will he make it out alive (or is it will "we") alright, alright, no church in the wild.

Okay, at first I wasn't going to touch the hook but then I was laying in the bed singing this in my head and suddenly the meaning hit me and I had to comment so this is what I think; try to stay with me because my thoughts may bounce around a bit. First, the fourth line reminds me of old slave times when blacks didn't have the right to worship in their own church, instead they would sing hymnals and songs to lift their spirits; it also reminds me of getting safe passage through the underground railroad. On the other hand, it's like a modern day hymnal for the lost youth of today which allows me to rewind back to Jay saying "I'm wondering if a thug's prayer's reach" in the hook, its like Frank is saying that no matter how hard they (the youth) pray, God can't save them. It is one thing to pray, and another to feel as though those prayers are falling on deaf ears. Both meanings represent a deeper struggle than that to which you hear when you first listen to the song, but were you really listening? Now the first three lines could be rewound even further to go back to Jay referencing the Greeks/Romans and who we know as God. "Human beings in a mob=there was a mob that gathered in order to get a ruling on Jesus' crucifixion which was ruled by a Roman governor which continues to drag us into that of the Greeks and Romans. The second line makes you question just how much power a mob has on a king, we can go back to that of Jesus or other figures in Greek History like Oedipus who was a king but it was the people of his city that he feared more than anything else although he had ruling over everyone. "What's a king to a God=a king is nothing to a God (Gods in that of mythology) if not what that God made him and unless proper worship and sacrifice is made in honor of that God then he can easily be removed of his status. Jays verse is coming full circle because here he goes back to his first verse to which he references the mausoleum and the coliseum? Perhaps he feels that if he isn't aware of giving thanks to the higher being that put him in the place he is now that he will also become the result of someone's tears on the floor. From a mythological stand point, the Greek Gods usually punish those who don't worship or believe in them so even non believers have to take a side.

***In no way do I expect you to agree with the things I have said, like I previously stated, this is the first time I've "decoded" someone's lyrics and this is one of my favorite songs on Watch the Throne so I figured why not, all in all, I hope you enjoyed it. Stay tuned because I'll probably be doing this again :).

To learn more about Sa'rese, read her interview with Urban Magazine here
Purchase her books Stripping Asjiah & Stripping Asjiah II here

14 comments:

Ms. Chaunte said...

This was dope... The history and Roman references were on point and it made you think. People don't take the time to actually listen to lyrics anymore and they miss the true meaning of what artists are saying. Its because unfortunately there are too many artists who have no substance to what they are saying. It was nice to see that you took the time to analyze meaningful lyrics into something deeper than the surface.

MADD EDITOR said...

I think that you delivered a well thought out analysis of the music. Jay-Z has always been far more intellectual than he's been credited. Great Job!

Voltron said...

Well done. Only a true writer could understand another writers work the way you have. On the same note, you may have created more substance and a new appreciation for these lyrics that definitely wasnt there before. You might have very well made their lyircs better than they were before. I feel, the meanings you give these words are better than what they were originally intended to mean, but knowing your other work, your poetry for example, the deep thinking you apply to your own amazing writing and lyricism was obviously applied here. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. These arists owe you money for doing this with their work. Real talk. lol

MR. WRITE said...

Great depiction(s).. The multiple examples of what Jay could have possibly meant with each line shows an insight that a lot of prize winning writers and authors don't possess..

Great job..

Gee_O said...

"Preach..."

Karl Nova said...

I think the song is about the rejection of organized religion and the rejection of the religious concept of God.

what's a mob to a king? no threat or competition.

what's a king to a God? no threat or competition.

what's a God to a non-believer? hmmm that is the question. If you have no faith in God you dont feel bound to God's rules or laws then what is God to you then? Nothing. You are left to you own devices and Kanye's verse carries on that thought when he says

"We formed a new religion
No sins as long as theres permission"

So once there is no religion, or God in the mad crazy wild world what happens? the hook ends by asking "will he make it out alive? alright, alright. no church in the wild

It is similar to when Jay Z says "Jesus can't save you, life starts when the church ends"

once you step outside of church, organized religion and a concept of God, what is gonna save you out in the wild world? that is the question the song is asking

the big flaw in the whole song is it makes out like it is faith that makes God real, God is real whether we believe or not and God has the final say although it is right, if you dont have faith God is limited in your life in the "wild"

that is just my take on it!

Anonymous said...

The song is about abandoning (organized) religion.
If you don't believe in god, he (it) has no power over you. Simple fact...
Lies on the lips of a priest = religion is a lie!
Thanksgiving disguised as a feast = refers to the massive genocide on the native americans that has somehow been turned into a celebration (another lie).

Peace.

Sa'Rese said...

I appreciate everyone's feedback and interpretations. The last two comments (those that will be listed above mine) are very interesting. As I said in the post, these are "my" thoughts, the post was meant to spark thoughts and conversation and it seems as though I did just that. I do like how (was it Nova) referenced Jay's song New York and the line about the church, all his lyrics intermingle with one another if you truly pay attention to what is being said. I agree with both depictions and again, I appreciate the feedback. xoxo

Anonymous said...

i believe it is a song about how we have moved from religious morals and such to something more like what kanye describes no church in todays wild, the "streets"

Anonymous said...

are all of you retarded? Jay-Z is a DEVIL WORSHIPER! throw up the ROC? hmm looks similar to the triangle huh doesn't it? How about Beyonces run the world? Why don't you stop being so naive and do some actual research about who these artists actually are. You will notice that they actually make a mockery of Jesus Christ. Just look at their jewelry, representing the Illuminati.

adryan said...

it was a cool interpretation of the song, liked the contrasts u made, and the historic comparisons!
well i think the song is really questioning superiority...this is done in an ascending manner, powerful to the most powerful.
i.e 1st human being(single individual) to the mob,obviously the mob is more powerful
the mob compared to a king..a king is ruler of a land and hence is the most powerful.
then a king is compared to a god, god is believe to be divine and above everything else.
and then the most controversial line (to me of course), god being compared to non believer. arguably something that u dont believe in cant be considered superior to you!
so who really is the supreme being? well thats up 2 us to decide

Anonymous said...

Your right, im a christian im not the best bt im starting to realize dat these things are jus wrong u dnt make a mockery out of God cuz u will face his wrath and believe me u will wish u hadnt God is kind n loving bt dont test him he will let u see how powerful he is

Anonymous said...

" what's a mob to a king
what's a king to a God
what's a God to a non-believer"
when I heard this part, my first thought was Anarchy !
my interpretation of this was that if you don't believe in anything, they can't control you.
when you don't believe in god and don't follow any rules of any religion, you the become your own ruler, your own "god" in a way, so they can no longer use religion and your fear of god to control you.
I'm not sure If I made sense.

Anonymous said...

Do you think he was referring to the Olympics and all the conspiracy surrounding the establishment of Zion and the New Jerusalem concept of the NWO.
" Blood stains the coliseum doors " .I mean a Olympic stadium is a coliseum after all .Could this be reference to something that may happen at the London 'Zion " games ? Look up Rik Clay and his research on the subject .