Two Words – An Anthology of Social Commentary and Personal Struggle


You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Kanye West's Two Words at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. The Clash of Titans: America’s Cacophony in Two Words
  5. Street Anthems and Personal Mantras: A Deep Dive into ‘Two Words’
  6. Symphony of Struggle: The Beats Behind The Battle Cry
  7. Unpacking ‘Two Words’: The Hidden Meaning Within
  8. Defining Lines That Resonate Beyond the Bars

Lyrics

We in the streets, playa, get your mail
It’s only two places you end up, either dead or in jail
Still nowhere to go (nowhere to go)
Still nowhere to go (nowhere to go)
Now throw your hands up
Hustlers, busters, boosters, hoes
Everybody, fuck that
Still nowhere to go (nowhere to go)
Still nowhere to go (nowhere to go)

(Listen)
Two words, United States, no love, no breaks
Low brow, high stakes, crack smoke, Black folks
Big Macs, fat folks, ecstasy capsules
Presidential scandals, everybody move
Two words, Mos Def, K West, hot shit
Calm down, get back, ghetto people got this
Game ‘pon lock shit, gun ‘pon cock shit
We won’t stop shit, everybody move
Two words, BK, NY, Bed-Stuy
Two harsh, too hungry, too many, that’s why
These streets know game, can’t ball, don’t play
Heavy traffic, one lane, everybody move
Two words, Mos Def, Black Jack, hot shit
Calm down, get back, ghetto people got this
Game ‘pon lock shit, gun ‘pon cock shit
We won’t stop, everybody move

Now throw your hands up (throw your hands up high)
Hustlers, busters, boosters, hoes
Everybody, fuck that
Still nowhere to go (nowhere to go)
Still nowhere to go (nowhere to go)

And keep your hands up (’til they reach the sky)
Hustlers, busters, boosters, hoes
Everybody, fuck that
Still nowhere to go (nowhere to go)
Still nowhere to go (nowhere to go)

Ayo, two words, Chi-Town, Southside, worldwide
‘Cause I rep that ’til I fuckin’ die
One neck, two chains, one waist, two gats
One wall, twenty plaques, dues paid, gimme that
I am limelight, Blueprint, five Mics
Go-Getters rhyme like, should’ve been signed twice
Most imitated, GRAMMY nominated
Hotel accommodated, cheerleader, prom-dated
Barbershop player-hated, mom and pop bootlegged it
Felt like it rained ’til the roof caved in
Two words, Chi-Town, raised me, crazy
So I live by two words, “Fuck you, pay me”
Screaming, “Jesus, save me”
You know how the game be, I can’t let ’em change me
‘Cause on Judgment Day, you gon’ blame me
Look, God, it’s the same me
And I basically know now, we get racially profiled (throw your hands up high)
Cuffed up and hosed down, pimped up and ho’d down
Plus, I got a whole city to hold down
From the bottom, so the top’s the only place to go now

Now throw your hands up (throw your hands up high)
Hustlers, busters, boosters, hoes
Everybody, fuck that
Still nowhere to go (nowhere to go)
Still nowhere to go (nowhere to go)

Two words, Freeway, two letters, A-R
Turn y’all rap niggas into two words, fast runners
Like Jackie Joyner, you better sleep with your burner
The heat skeet, blow a reef through your car, my God
Two words, no guns, break arms
Break necks, break backs, Steven Seagal
Free, young boss, freshman of the Roc
With the beef in the pot, Jay sent for his dogs to brawl
Forget your squad, better fend for yourself
Have you screamin’ out four words, “Send for the law,” uh
Two words, Freeway, slightly retarded
Fuck around, throw a clip in your artist, leave with his broad

Red, white blue, black (throw your hands up)
Calm down, move back (throw your hands up)
Motherfuckers askin’, “Who is that?” (Throw your hands up)
You know it’s the almighty Black Jack (throw your hands up)
Mos Def, K West (throw your hands up)
Ghetto people, get this shit off your chest (throw your hands up)
North to the south, to the east, to the west (throw your hands up)
Black Jack Johnson, it’s no contest (throw your hands up)
And show it to ’em like

Full Lyrics

At first glance, Kanye West’s ‘Two Words’ reads like a bricolage of American life, sagaciously condensed into potent bursts; it’s a statement, a battle cry, an introspection. Conscious, honest, and hard-hitting, this track from his 2004 debut album, ‘The College Dropout,’ swings between public outrage and personal testimony, navigating the complexities of identity, struggle, and survival amid the kaleidoscopic backdrop of the American dream and its undersides.

Rooted in hip-hop’s rich tradition of storytelling, West goes further, melting genre boundaries and welding sharp social critique with snapshots of personal growth. We explore the sonic canvas he employs, painting a picture that’s as rebellious as it is vulnerable, as public as it is personal. ‘Two Words’ stands not just as a song but as a cultural thesis, speaking volumes in mere syllables.

The Clash of Titans: America’s Cacophony in Two Words

Kanye West, the maestro of metaphor, aptly captures the American experience in ‘Two Words’ with a jarring contrast of ideals and realities. The opening line of the first verse, ‘Two words, United States, no love, no breaks,’ is a jarring indictment of the nation’s harsh truths. It suggests a dim view of the land of opportunity, where love and reprieve are scarce, overshadowed by crime, drug abuse, and ongoing racial injustices.

A land that promises so much yet often yields so little, Kanye’s United States is an arena where high stakes blend with the low brow, and the daily fight for survival overshadows the glossy veneer of the ‘American Dream’. His words serve as a reminder that for many, the grand narrative of hope and prosperity is persistently punctured by the reality of systemic inequality and societal failings.

Street Anthems and Personal Mantras: A Deep Dive into ‘Two Words’

The interplay of ‘Two Words’ is both a reflection of West’s background and a broader social commentary. Hailing from Chicago’s South Side, Kanye West utilizes ‘Chi-Town, Southside, worldwide’ to honor his roots while signaling a relatable struggle beyond his own geography. The verse, ‘So I live by two words, “Fuck you, pay me”‘ is the ultimate defiance—a blend of street wisdom and an artist’s hunger for recognition and due compensation.

This raw survivalist mentality, juxtaposed with a cry to ‘Jesus, save me’, touches on the duality within many struggling to make it against the odds. There’s an implied criticism of materialism and the entertainment industry, suggesting that success comes not only with wealth and acclaim (‘One wall, twenty plaques’) but also with an unnegotiable self-worth and unyielding spirit.

Symphony of Struggle: The Beats Behind The Battle Cry

Much of ‘Two Words’ potency lies in its audacious production. West, alongside Just Blaze, crafts a backdrop that’s as gritty as the street corners it Evokes. Orchestrated strings and a bombastic choir imbue the song with a sense of grandeur, as if these personal battles and societal issues are part of an epic saga—because, in many ways, they are.

This sonic landscape does not just underscore the gravity of the lyrics but amplifies them, creating a space where each ‘Two Words’ feels like a grenade lobbed at the establishment. It’s a reminder that behind every harmony and snare, there’s an urgency and a purpose that’s inextricably tied to the message.

Unpacking ‘Two Words’: The Hidden Meaning Within

On the surface, ‘Two Words’ seems straightforward, a dualistic reflection of life’s triumphs and tribulations. But deeper analysis reveals a maze of cultural fingerprints and allusions. Lines like ‘Red, white blue, black’ are sophisticated in their simplicity, evoking the American flag’s colors to comment on the nation’s racial discourse.

This intentional brevity, laced with polysemous phrases, is a linguistic puzzle. Every couplet is packed with introspection and a biting critique of a system designed to suppress and categorize. Whether referencing the superficiality of society or the inescapable traps of the streets, West’s ‘Two Words’ is a masterclass in coded linguistics.

Defining Lines That Resonate Beyond the Bars

Certain lines in ‘Two Words’ are so vivid and impactful that they transcend music and become embedded in cultural discourse. ‘Game ‘pon lock shit, gun ‘pon cock shit, we won’t stop shit, everybody move’ encapsulates the relentless drive and resilience in the face of adversity that characterizes the track and, by extension, West’s ethos.

The blend of empowerment and entrapment in these words carries a universal weight, speaking to the hustle ingrained in marginalized communities while calling for movement and action. Indeed, it’s not just music; it’s a call to arms in the socio-economic battlefield, a declaration that echoes in the hearts of many long after the track ends.

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