Rainbows – A Lyrical Journey Through Street Survival and Psychedelic Imagery


You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Madvillain's Rainbows at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. Chasing Rainbows: The Elusive Pursuit of Street Credibility
  5. Hollywood to Hood: The Drama of Surveillance
  6. Psychonautical Warfare: Drano and Rainbows
  7. The Bread and Bullets Economy: Survivalist Capitalism
  8. Interstellar Despotism: Rainbow’s Cosmic Closure

Lyrics

You know, you best to watch out (watch your back, nigga)
‘Til you be fresh out of clout (fresh water trout)
Rumors (out of water) that he got a mouth on the street (somebody tell him, yo)
You know you best to watch out (watch your back, nigga)
Who knows, who is watchin in (streets is watchin’ you)

Hope, they don’t know (they don’t know nothin’)
As much he thinks that they know
That what he drinks is Drano
Rat butt, she winks, rainbows

Loser, was twice in the fed (comin’ home, son)
User, whose nice in the head (where that shit at, bitch?)
Choose to entice him with bread (get paid, son)
Air him, they said he was expendable (dead him, dunn)
Air him, there’s no witnesses (tell ’em the B.I.)
Dare him, they said he was expendable (dead ’em, dunn)
Air him, there’s no witnesses (tell ’em the B.I.)
You know, you best to watch out (watch your back, nigga)
Who knows, who is watchin’ in (nosey, yo)

Hope they don’t know (they don’t know nothin’)
As much he thinks they know
That what he drinks is Drano
Rat butt, she winks, rainbows

This Villain was a ruthless mass conquerer
With aspirations to dominate the universe

Full Lyrics

Amidst the layered lexicon of hip-hop’s lyrical labyrinth, Madvillain’s ‘Rainbows’ emerges as a dazzling yet enigmatic piece from the celebrated collaboration between MF DOOM and Madlib. The track, cloaked in cryptic references and biting street vernacular, has roused fans and linguaphiles to explore its deep-seated significance.

But what lies beneath the opaque veneer? ‘Rainbows,’ much like the natural phenomenon it alludes to, changes its colors depending on where you stand. Delving into the metaphors, societal narratives, and the battle-worn psyche of the streets, the song becomes an impressionist painting, stroked with the bold hues of survival, despair, and illusion.

Chasing Rainbows: The Elusive Pursuit of Street Credibility

The recurrence of ‘You know, you best to watch out’ isn’t just a cautionary refrain; it’s a stark reminder of the street’s omnipresent gaze. Here lies the relentless pursuit of ‘clout’—a currency of reputation and power in an ecosystem where one’s worth is perpetually questioned. Madvillain depicts clout as a transient bounty, as perishable as ‘fresh water trout,’ signifying the fickle and fleeting nature of street fame.

The song conveys a Darwinian struggle, where the acknowledgement of being ‘fresh out’ symbolizes a fall from grace akin to a drought, further suggesting the survival-of-the-fittest environment that the streets can be. The repeated warnings serve as an anthem for the heedful, ready to defend against the rustlings of betrayal and the sharp bite of obscurity snapping at their heels.

Hollywood to Hood: The Drama of Surveillance

The line ‘Who knows, who is watching in’ parallels the blurring of private and public life. In the realm of Madvillainy, the streets become a stage where each actor is under constant scrutiny, where ‘streets is watching’ means you’re never alone, never unobserved, thrust into a reality show scripted by suspicion and paranoia.

This surveillance breeds a disquietude akin to being a character in a noir film, where shadows hold unseen eyes and trust is a resource more scarce than daylight in a dungeon. Madvillain captures the essence of a world where every move is recorded, dissected, and often misconstrued, reflecting a society that’s become all too comfortable with the idea of perpetual observation.

Psychonautical Warfare: Drano and Rainbows

What surfaces as a psychedelic paradox, ‘That what he drinks is Drano / Rat butt, she winks, rainbows,’ skews reality into a funhouse mirror. While ‘Drano’ alludes to a corrosive substance, suggesting self-destruction or perhaps society’s toxic nature, the wink and rainbows introduce whimsicality into the bleak landscape.

This duality paints a picture of a psychonaut navigating the cosmos within the confines of the concrete jungle. It hints at the escapism found in altered states, juxtaposing the grime with the sublime. Here, Madvillain uses visceral imagery to articulate the internal discord between the grim truths of existence and the glimmers of beauty in the world’s dark corners.

The Bread and Bullets Economy: Survivalist Capitalism

In ‘Rainbows,’ economic survival is a game of agility and wit. The act of ‘enticing with bread’ represents the timeless method of manipulation through material gain. Bread becomes the bait in a catch-and-release cycle, and Madvillain dons the hat of the cynic commentator on this capitalist charade, where even the beggar might be a king in disguise.

But there’s a looming threat in this marketplace—’Air him, they said he was expendable.’ Here, the currency flows red; it’s not only about money but also about the power dynamics, where life itself is cheap, and ‘expendable’ souls are merely pawns in the hands of higher powers. It boldly proclaims the callousness with which these lives are gambled and discarded.

Interstellar Despotism: Rainbow’s Cosmic Closure

The final lines, ‘This Villain was a ruthless mass conquerer / With aspirations to dominate the universe,’ elevate the narrative to celestial proportions. The persona of the Villain isn’t merely a streetwise tactician but a galactic menace, embodying an ambition that transcends earthly domains. It’s the grandiose self-concept that often propels the marginalized to dream beyond their confines.

Juxtaposed with the gritty reality of the lyrical journey, this cosmic ambition offers a stark finale—a reminder that no matter how high one aims, society’s walls loom large. Yet, Madvillain inserts this expansive vista at the close, daring the listener to imagine if, indeed, the Villain’s reach could eclipse the stars.

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