Late – The Procrastination Anthem of a Generation


You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Kanye West's Late at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. The Clock Ticks, Kanye Riffs: Procrastination as a Lifestyle
  5. Beyond the Classroom Walls: A Critique of the Education System
  6. Timing is Everything: Lights, Fights, and Late Nights
  7. The Dialectics of Desire and Delay: Unwrapping the Hidden Meaning
  8. Memorable Lines That Resonate with the Hustler’s Spirit

Lyrics

I’ll be late for that, baby I’ll wait for that
If you had a taste of that, you’d probably pay for that
I’m comin in when I feel like
So turn this motherfucker up only if it feels right
I’ll be late for that, I can’t wait for that
I think I was made for that
So I’m comin in when I feel like
So turn this muh’fucker up only if it feels right

Stop all your blood clot cryin, I was flyin’
Made it to school with barely ’nuff time to sign in
Yeah I hear the alarm, yeah I hear ya mom
Yeah yeah I don’t wan’ be broke when I’m 31
They said the best classes go to the fastest
Sorry Mr. West there’s no good classes, and that’s what yo’ ass get
Not even electives? Not even pre-requits?
You mean I missed my major by a couple of seconds?
Now I’m in the shop class or the basket weavin
With all the rest of the muh’fuckers underachievin
Man, this is an insult
I went to junior high with all of them and they been slow
If I can catch the beat then slow down the tempo
Just throw this at the end if I’m too late for the intro
Will I make it from the student loans to a Benz-o?
Like old folks pissin, I guess it all depends, oh, oh
Stop your cryin baby

I’ll be late for that, baby I’ll wait for that
If you had a taste of that, you’d probably pay for that
I’m comin in when I feel like
So turn this motherfucker up only if it feels right
I’ll be late for that, I can’t wait for that
I think I was made for that
So I’m comin in when I feel like
So turn this muh’fucker up only if it feels right

You know when you be late you miss all the lights
That’s right (that’s right) that’s right (that’s right)
And when you get back she gon’ start up a fight
That night (that night) that night
Baby it’s too late for that, lately I’ve been takin it slow
Try and make it to the party ‘fore the guest list close
With the freshest hoes, the professors know
We about to get real unprofessional
Like them eskimos, what would you do for a Klondike?
Or two dykes that look Christina Milian like
Hmmm, I’ll be on time for that
I ain’t thought of no line that could rhyme with that
Yo, I’ll be there in five minutes, five hours later
I’ll be there in five minutes, go ‘head ride with it
I’m so live with it, look how I did it
Been bullshittin but I finally arrived with it
I know it’s late and I took all year but
You can stop complainin cause I’m finally here, yeah

Full Lyrics

In the landscape of modern hip-hop, few songs capture the essence of collegiate ennui and the procrastination culture among millennials as sharply as Kanye West’s ‘Late.’ Tucked away as a hidden track on his sophomore album ‘Late Registration,’ the song is both a witty lament on academic pressures and a braggadocio about West’s nonchalant ascent to stardom.

Peeling back the layers of ‘Late’ reveals a complex interplay of themes, referencing societal expectations, personal ambition, and the double-edged sword of institutional education. West’s lyrics simultaneously critique and indulge in the culture of delayed gratification and the dogged pursuit of success – a narrative many find strikingly relatable.

The Clock Ticks, Kanye Riffs: Procrastination as a Lifestyle

Kanye West’s ‘Late’ serves as more than just a track; it represents an anthem for a generation continually put on hold. In the lines ‘I’ll be late for that, baby I’ll wait for that,’ Kanye converges on the zeitgeist of his audience—those caught in the throes of putting off today what might be done tomorrow, yet with an unshrugable confidence in their own destiny.

By choosing lateness as a motif, Kanye is reversing the stigma. He is not justifying tardiness; rather, he is exalting the autonomy in choosing when to engage, reflective of a deeper societal shift towards valuing personal agency over rigid schedules.

Beyond the Classroom Walls: A Critique of the Education System

‘Sorry Mr. West there’s no good classes, and that’s what yo’ ass get,’ delivers a scathing remark on the state of academia. His verse narrates the experience of scrambling to sign up for classes only to find that the system is set against him—allegorically symbolizing a broader disenfranchisement within societal structures.

Kanye doesn’t merely bemoan his academic struggles; he directs a sardonic sneer at the absurdity of being relegated to less-than-ideal courses, equating them with the delay in his journey from ‘student loans to a Benz-o.’ It’s a microcosm of the greater hustle—where timing is everything, yet everything seems out of sync.

Timing is Everything: Lights, Fights, and Late Nights

In the verse ‘You know when you be late you miss all the lights,’ West illustrates the domino effect lateness can precipitate, setting off a ripple of consequences. Yet, there’s a duality here; the same lateness sparking relational conflict also defines the cool composure of someone in high demand, unbothered by the pressing rush.

The acknowledgment of the ‘fresh hoes’ and ‘professors’ suggests an intersection of personal pursuits and academic endeavours, hinting at the blurred lines between professional, personal, and academic life in one’s late teens and early twenties.

The Dialectics of Desire and Delay: Unwrapping the Hidden Meaning

‘If you had a taste of that, you’d probably pay for that’ conveys more than just the surface-level meaning—it compels the listener to ponder the cost of experiences, opportunities, and ultimately, the cost of running late. The ‘taste’ is the fleeting encounter with success or pleasure, eliciting a yearning that fuels the chase amidst all delay.

Connecting the proverbial and literal meanings of being ‘late,’ Kanye juxtaposes the continuous postponement of dreams with the underlying belief in their inevitability. His personal chronicle serves as a masquerade, under which lies the all-too-common human fear of missing out, whether on education, success, or life’s ephemeral joys.

Memorable Lines That Resonate with the Hustler’s Spirit

Lines like ‘Like old folks pissin, I guess it all depends, oh’ stand out not only for their comedic undertone but for their allegorical depth. The candid picture of aging and uncertainty resonates as a stark metaphor for the unpredictable outcomes of life’s various gambits.

Moreover, when West muses ‘Will I make it from the student loans to a Benz-o?’ he encapsulates a universal ambition shared by many who navigate the trenches of debt and doubt, aiming for a slice of the American dream.

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