Meaning of “Parade on Cleveland” by Young Thug (ft. Drake)
“Parade on Cleveland” is one of the songs found on a surprise album Young Thug came out with on 23 June 2023, titled “Business Is Business”, via 300 Entertainment, Atlantic Records and Thugga’s own YSL Records. The reason this project can be considered as a true surprise is because first of all, it was only announced the day before its release, apparently with no pre-teasing or anything like that.
Secondly and more notably, as some readers undoubtedly already know, Young Thug is currently in jail potentially facing a major bid and has been so for over a year now, since May of 2022.
MANY COLLABORATORS, BUT NO GUNNA
That said, what we are met with here is a full 15-track outing featuring the likes of 21 Savage, Future, Lil Uzi Vert and of course Drake.
Thugga is one of the more collaborative rappers in the game, and as such he has already teamed up with Drizzy, who’s about as A list as a rapper (who isn’t an actor) can get, on a number of previous occasions, dating back to Drake’s 2017 album “More Life”, in which he was featured on two tracks.
Interesting though expected to note is that amongst the many features on “Business Is Business” isn’t one of the Thugga’s most frequent collaborators, that being Gunna.
Gunna, being Young Thug’s labelmate, was actually arrested in the same 2022 sting operation, under charges that their YSL label doubles as a street gang. Since then, he was able to get out of jail by basically admitting to that very fact in a court of law.
And also interesting to note is that since then Gunna has released a studio album, just a week ago actually, through the selfsame YSL Records and 300 Entertainment, which likewise doesn’t feature Young Thug (or any other musicians for that matter). And as to be expected since Gunna has resultantly been labeled a snitch, said album, which is titled A Gift & a Curse, appears as if it is going to completely flop as compared to his previous effort.
THE TEAM BEHIND “PARADE ON CLEVELAND”
The producers of “Parade on Cleveland” are Metro Boomin, Zinobeatz, Kid Masterpiece and a duo known as David x Eli (aka David Ruoff and Elias Klughammer). All are also individually credited as writers of the song, alongside Drake and Young Thug.
THE LYRICS OF “PARADE ON CLEVELAND”
It should be noted that the title of this song does not refer to the city of Cleveland, Ohio, as most viewers are likely to assume upon seeing it. What Drake actually states in the chorus is there being a “parade on Bleveland when I get home”.
“Bleveland” is a nickname for Cleveland Avenue, an important strip in the ATL, i.e. Young Thug’s hometown, which the rapper and YSL in general is heavily associated with. And when Drizzy states ‘when he gets home’, presumably he is speaking on behalf of Thugga, in anticipation that he will be getting out of jail sooner than later, and there will be a grand celebration on Cleveland Avenue once he is set free.
So you would expect that, since Young Thug is concurrently locked up and will go on trial just next month facing charges that can potentially land him in prison for life, an extra effort would be made not to imbue this track with any gangsterism.
But both vocalists can be counted as gangsta rappers, and there’s only so far they can deviate from their set standards and their fandom’s expectations. So for instance, the reason Cleveland Avenue is called “Bleveland” is in recognition of it being a territory of the ubiquitous Bloods’ street gang, whom allegedly YSL are down with.
Parade on Blevеland soon as I get home
I’m comin’ home
I’m comin’ homе
All the dawgs, all the lifers
All the pythons, all the vipers
Parade, parade on Bleveland soon as I get home
You already know, you already know”
Also, again, it does read as if Drizzy conscientiously practiced some lyrical restraint. But the conclusion of his verse does tout the value of loyalty while simultaneously seeming to allude to backstabbers receiving their due street justice. Indeed, in apparently portraying a character who’s “fresh out the box”, i.e. jail, one of the vocalist’s first goals is “to mop up some boys”, a statement that can also be theoretically interpreted as a threat against enemies.
YOUNG THUG IS “PUSHIN’ PETER”
In between Drake and Young Thug’s verses is the chorus, as well as a segue which features a recorded conversation between the two vocalists, i.e. the latter calling the former from jail. The brief convo concludes with Thugga stating, a couple of times, that he’s ‘pushing Peter’.
As far as colloquialisms go, “peter” is an old school slang term for a man’s manhood, but it’s unlikely that’s what he’s referring. Instead, what has been hypothesized by certain a few analysts is said terminology serving as a subtle diss against Gunna, whose signature track is considered by many to be 2022’s “Pushin P“.
As for his actual verse, it does begin by Thugga noting how a certain individual “was ever in the format”, which may be a roundabout way of saying that he misread Gunna, who has officially been down with the YSL label since at least 2016, from the get-go.
But for the most part, Thug gets to bragging about having his way with woman. And there’s only really one line in the verse that may be interpreted as a direct threat, whereas the rapper refers to the addressee as “a bug in the grass” who’s “finna get ate by (his) cow”.
But in the grand scheme of Thugga’s artistry, that definitely doesn’t read like anything serious, as his standard fare is to feature lingo a lot more threatening than what we’re met with here.
And to note, Gunna’s name is never mentioned in “Parade on Cleveland” at all, and the above postulations that certain lines are referring to him are indeed hypothetical. But that said, it’s also safe to conclude that by this point, he’s firmly considered to be a pariah in the game.
Some analysts had predicted that he would survive the snitching allegations since, after all, not all hip-hop fans are from the ‘hood. But rap music is a genre that is heavily imbued with street-based ideologies.
And if it becomes such that the biggest names in the game, such as Drake, are publicly speaking out against him, let’s just say that Gunna is probably looking at a D list musical future at best. But as noted earlier he remains a YSL signee, still putting out music under Thugga’s label. So perhaps by the time all is said and done, he and Young Thug will make peace.