the ends – A Deep Dive Into the Existential and Street Anthems
Lookin’ but I cannot find
Don’t you fall asleep this time
I been all alone on a long way drive
Only you can stand my mind
Only you can fix inside
So if I make it out tonight
Let’s make it a badass time
Okay, I got it, copy
20/20, but I can’t see nobody
One eye open, Illuminati
This might be the verse that make ’em drop me
Ain’t makin’ friends, we just makin’ hobbies
Know they want my girl, that was just a hobby
Call her 50, tell ’em load up the lobby
Elevate her up, no need to find me
X-ray vision, see through you niggas
Newspaper stand, we press the issue
We ain’t sendin’ shots, we launchin’ missiles
Right up at your hood up north
Checkin’ third ward, I’m goin’ mental
Fuckin’ out my room, I been rackin’ up incidentals
Cookin’ on a tune, I been cheffin’ up instrumentals
Nothin’ else to do when you’re ridin’ in the
When you ridin’ in the, in the back of the back seat
Driver run the miles up like I’m runnin’ a track meet
Gotta watch my back now, ’cause these niggas at me
All black in a Benz when I pull up on you
They don’t want to see me in the end
In the end
Let me catch you creepin’, here past ten, in the ends
From a tribe of check-a-hoe like Indian
Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah
To them I’m a big dick, a cheque and some laughter (hey!)
I guess it’s all survival but please be careful, uh
I gave up on the Bible long time ago
I hope it ain’t give up on me, I don’t know
I came up in the town, they were murderin’ kids
And dumped them in the creek up from where I live
Bodies, bodies, bodies sprinkled around
We runnin’ through the sprinkler looking around
Killer would show up with boxes of pizza
And said he had a label recruitin’ people
Put that on my grandma and everythin’
My homie said he told ’em his name was Wayne
It could’ve been me, it could’ve been you too
But what a memory in me, it may need interludes
What’s gon’ patch up my inner tube
So I could pop a wheelie and walk it too
Oh yeah, the flame with the nappy fro now
In the ends, I’ma kick your door down
Oh yeah, we keep wildin’ out the Mo’ now
(Oh, yeah) keep that 300 Z-Ro when I pull up on ya
Travis Scott’s ‘the ends’ is far more than a sonic assault of mesmerizing beats and autotune craftsmanship; it’s a labyrinthine journey through the psyche of an artist at the crossroads of fame and authenticity. The track opens Scott’s 2016 album ‘Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight’, setting a haunting tone that bridges the narrative of street savviness and existential introspection.
The duality of ‘the ends’ serves as both a cryptic overture and a manifesto for the album. Scott’s lyrics here are layered with meaning, whispering secrets about success, vulnerability, and the grim realities of his upbringing. This track takes listeners on a mysterious ride, spotlighting a man who’s simultaneously wary and weary, hunting for solace in a world that’s relentless and unforgiving.
The Darkness Before Dawn: Unpacking Sleepless Anxiety
In the dead of night, a voice cries out—Scott’s ‘Two AM hollerin’ outside’ is more than just a line, it’s the embodiment of the restless spirit of youth, of the ghosts that haunt success. The chorus pleads with the listener to stay awake, to grasp the gravity of the moment. It’s a call to seize the nocturnal minutes that slip away while we’re not looking, as if acknowledging the fleeting nature of fame and the ever-present danger of falling into oblivion.
The ‘badass time’ isn’t just about hedonism; it’s about making an impact before the sun comes up, before the opportunity fades. It encapsulates the urgency and the fragility of life in the fast lane. The chorus dares to question, what will be left when the party ends and the silence sets in?
Visions of Grandeur: Illuminati and Elevation
One-eye open, Illuminati—Scott taps into the idea of being ‘woke’ in more ways than one. Peering into the abyss of fame, Scott crafts an image of someone who is always watching, always aware. The Illuminati reference invokes a world of secrecy and power, an elite group that Scott might be on the verge of entering, yet remains wary of its implications.
The constant tug-of-war between ascension and paranoia is palpable. The drive to elevate, to escape the lobby of the commonplace, is potent. The ‘X-ray vision’ line serves to puncture the façade of the music industry, seeing through the smoke screens that artists often erect, and Scott acknowledges the battle of authenticity in a world where ‘newspaper stand, we press the issue’.
Combat in the Key of Life: The Misconstrued Aggression
When Scott says, ‘We ain’t sendin’ shots, we launchin’ missiles,’ he’s drawing a line in the sand. This isn’t just about petty feuds or rap battles; it’s a full-fledged war for cultural significance. The conflict extends beyond the typical hip-hop bravado into a struggle for survival and consciousness in a community ravaged by violence and apathy.
The journey from Third Ward to the ‘back of the back seat’ symbolizes the trajectory of Scott’s life, from the roots of his troubled neighborhood in Houston to a future that’s uncertain, yet charged with potential. This line underscores the juxtaposition of Scott’s journey: the self-preservation instinct versus the allure of returning to one’s roots.
Hidden Meaning: The Perils of Success and Innocence Lost
What may seem like relentless hedonism reveals itself as a poignant lament for the state of society. The verse ‘I came up in the town, they were murderin’ kids’ serves as an evocative portrait of the harsh realities that shaped Scott’s worldview. It’s a bleak tableau where the innocence of childhood is corrupted, and trust is misplaced in figures that bring both sustenance and destruction—a chilling commentary on growing up in a perilous environment.
The lyrics transcend personal narrative, delving into the universal theme of vulnerability and disillusionment. The pizza-bearing killer is a metaphor for the deceptive allure of the industry, offering dreams that too often result in nightmares. As Scott toys with themes of lost faith and existential angst, he invites the listener to peer into the abyss and contemplate the price of his soul.
Memorable Lines: The Psychodrama of Existence
The song’s most enduring lines paint Scott as both an observer and a participant in a grand psychodrama. ‘To them I’m a big dick, a cheque and some laughter’ exposes the reduction of human complexity to superficial measurements of worth in the eyes of others, Scott’s disillusionment with superficial value judgments is raw and telling.
‘What’s gon’ patch up my inner tube’ metaphorically poses the question of what will sustain one’s spirit amid a sea of adversity. The song closes with an image ‘the flame with the nappy fro now’—an embodiment of Scott’s fiery spirit and tenacity. This line ties together the profound search for identity, resilience, and meaning in a tumultuous world, encapsulating the very essence of ‘the ends’.