03. Ready Or Not by Fugees Lyrics Meaning – Unveiling the Layers of Social Commentary and Defiance

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Fugees's 03. Ready Or Not at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning


Ready or not, here I come, you can’t hide
Gonna find you and take it slowly
Ready or not, here I come, you can’t hide
Gonna find you and make you want me

Now that I escape, sleepwalker awake
Those who could relate know the world ain’t cake
Jail bars ain’t golden gates
Those who fake, they break
When they meet their 400-pound mate
If I could rule the world
Everyone would have a gun in the ghetto of course
When giddyuping on their horse
I kick a rhyme drinking moonshine
I pour a sip on the concrete, for the deceased
But no don’t weep, Wyclef’s in a state of sleep
Thinking bout the robbery that I did last week
Money in the bag, banker looked like a drag
I want to play with pelicans from here to Baghdad
Gun blast, think fast, I think I’m hit
My girl pinched my hips to see if I still exist
I think not, I’ll send a letter to my friends
A Born Again hooligan only to be king again

Ready or not, here I come, you can’t hide
Gonna find you and take it slowly
Ready or not, here I come, you can’t hide
Gonna find you and make you want me

I play my enemies like a game of chess, where I rest
No stress, if you don’t smoke sess, lest
I must confess, my destiny’s manifest
In some Goretex and sweats I make treks like I’m homeless
Rap orgies with Porgy and Bess
Capture your bounty like Elliot Ness, yes
Bless you if you represent the Fu
But I’ll hex you with some witch’s brew
If you’re doo-doo, voodoo
I can do what you do, easy, believe me
Fronting niggas give me hee-bee-gee-bees
So while you’re imitating Al Capone, I’ll be Nina Simone
And defecating on your microphone

Ready or not, here I come, you can’t hide
Gonna find you and take it slowly

You can’t run away
From these styles I got, oh baby, hey baby
Cause I got a lot, oh yeah
And anywhere you go
My whole crew’s gonna know baby, hey baby
You can’t hide from the block, oh no

Ready or not, refugees taking over
The Buffalo Soldier, dreadlock Rasta
On the twelfth hour, fly by in my bomber
Crews run for cover, now they’re under pushing up flowers
Superfly true lies, do or die
Toss me high ? only puff la
With my crew from lock high
I refugee from Guantanamo Bay
Dance around the border like I’m Cassius Clay

Full Lyrics

At first listen, the Fugees’ ‘Ready or Not’ may unfold as a catchy blend of soulful melodies and rap verses underpinned by an interpolation of Enya’s ‘Boadicea.’ What many may miss, however, is the intricate tapestry of deeper meanings, personal and political statements woven into the lyrics—a treasure trove for those who dare to delve beneath its harmonious surface.

Released as a part of their critically acclaimed album ‘The Score,’ ‘Ready or Not’ serves as a microphone to the marginalised, echoing their journey of survival and resilience against the backing track of Lauryn Hill’s hauntingly smooth chorus. It’s a defiance anthem wrapped in the velvet of musical genius, compelling listeners to stop and contemplate the enduring relevance of its message.

Hide-and-Seek with Destiny: More Than a Game

The hook grabs you—’Ready or Not, here I come, you can’t hide.’ These words lay the groundwork for an audacious pursuit, with an undertone that shifts between playful challenge and grim resolve. The Fugees are coming for their due, unhurried and unstoppable. Within the fun lies a metaphor for the relentless struggle of the underdog, making their presence known within an industry—and a world—that marginalizes them.

This juxtaposition is an artful reminder of the group’s own history, emerging from obscurity to take the charts by storm. It’s a declaration of their readiness to conquer the scene while forcing the conversation on deep-seated societal issues, making the listener an accomplice in their lyrical heist.

A Glimpse Behind the Bars of Injustice

The line ‘Jail bars ain’t golden gates’ paints a stark picture of the struggles faced by those in impoverished communities. Wyclef Jean weaves imagery of incarceration and a desire to break free from a rigged system that perpetuates inequality. The reference to ‘400-pound mate’ serves as a reminder of the harshest realities faced by many within the prison system.

By contrasting such bleak imagery with the fanciful idea of everyone having ‘a gun in the ghetto,’ the song challenges the listener to recognize the absurdity of a world where survival often necessitates such stark realities. It’s a potent commentary on both the street life and the ways in which society handles—or fails to handle—its most disenfranchised.

Chess Moves and Mic-Drops: Lyrics that Cut Deep

There is a swagger to their words—a confidence that comes from overcoming pain and hardship. When Lauryn Hill sings ‘I play my enemies like a game of chess,’ it’s a masterclass in strategy and survival. It’s about thinking several moves ahead, knowing that foresight and cunning outplay brute strength every time.

The Fugees liken themselves to lyrical sovereigns, positioning themselves as the Nina Simone’s of their time—artists unafraid to use their voice as both weapon and shield. In these lines, one hears an echo of the Civil Rights Movement, remixed for a 90’s audience while carrying a timeless message of overcoming and speaking truth to power.

From the Block to the Borders: The Universal Refugee Experience

‘Ready or not, refugees taking over,’ proclaims the global interconnectedness of struggle and defiance. The Fugees are refugees in a figurative sense—musical mavericks who have experienced their fair share of metaphorical borders, and in Wyclef’s case, a literal refugee experience. But there’s also a tie to the larger narrative of refugees worldwide—the dispossessed, the stateless, and the resilient.

Their words here serve as a reminder that resilience is often born from displacement, and artistry from adversity. This song represents defiance against the pressures to conform, reiterating their autonomy and the vibrancy of their cultural roots through the powerful imagery of the ‘Buffalo Soldier, dreadlock Rasta.’

The Echo of ‘Ready or Not’: A Refrain That Still Resounds

Years after its release, the chorus of ‘Ready or Not’ remains a sound that crosses generations. It’s a formidable nod to the evasive art of staying true to one’s self in the shadow of an industry—and a society—that would rather you hide. The Fugees chose to stand in the spotlight, to tackle topics layered with political undertones under the guise of smooth rhythms.

This song, a hallmark of their musical legacy, continues to resonate, reminding us that there’s still a need for voices that push back against the mainstream currents, questioning power structures and championing the stories of those frequently silenced. The refrain isn’t just a hook—it’s a hymn of triumph for the tenacity of the human spirit.

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