When I Grow Up – Unpacking the Ambition and Grit in Pursuit of Dreams


You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for NF's When I Grow Up at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. A Fusion of Reality and Aspiration – The Dichotomy of NF’s Dreams
  5. The Underdog Mentality – Embracing the Battle Against Odds
  6. Rejecting the Cookie-Cutter Life – NF’s Critique of Conventional Success
  7. Memorable Lines That Echo the Heart of a Dreamer
  8. The Song’s Hidden Meaning: A Battle Cry for Authenticity and Perseverance

Lyrics

Yeah, when I grow up, you know what I wanna be?
Take a seat, let me tell you my ridiculous dreams
I wanna rap, yeah, I know it’s hard to believe
And I can tell you’re already thinkin’ I will never succeed
But I’m okay with it, I admit the lyrics are weak
I been workin’ on ’em, I’ll be good eventually
I understand you gotta crawl before you get to your feet
But I been running for a while, they ain’t ready for me, ah

I know this probably isn’t really realistic
And honestly, I might not ever make a difference
But that don’t make a difference, I’ma have to risk it
I been crunchin’ numbers, you ain’t gotta be a mathematician
And see the odds ain’t rootin’ for me
I can’t lie though, it’s kinda how I like it to be
The underdog, yeah, you probably think you know what I mean
But what I’m saying is they ever push me, I’m gonna swing, yeah

I could go to college, get in debt like everybody else
Graduate and probably get a job that doesn’t pay the bills
That don’t make a lot of sense to me, forget the Happy Meals
I don’t like the dollar menu, I would rather make a meal
Huh? Make a mil’? Nah, I said make a meal
Home-cookin’, get the grill, how you want it? Pretty well?
Everything I see is overdone to me, I’m not Adele
But I’ma get a record deal and say hello to mass appeal

When I grow up, I just want to pay my bills
Rappin’ ’bout the way I feel, oh yeah
I just want to make a couple mil’
Leave it to the fam in the will, oh yeah
I just want to sign a record deal
Maybe buy a house up in the hills, oh yeah
Might not be the best in my field
But I guarantee that I’ma die real
When I grow up

Yeah, ayy
When I grow up
Yeah, yeah, ayy

I’ma make ’em notice me, rhymin’ like it’s poetry
Everything I oversee, I just like to overthink
Mockin’ me, you pay the fee, no return and no receipts
Those of you that don’t believe, quiet, you don’t know a thing
Quiet when I’m tryna sing, quiet when I’m making beats
Quiet when I’m tryna think, sorry, I don’t mean to scream
I just feel like no one really gets me and it’s sad to see
‘Cause someday I’ma grow up and show all of you it’s meant to be, yeah

Anybody wanna hear me rap? (No)
Come on, let me play a couple tracks (no)
Come on, I can spit it really fast (no)
You think I should throw this in the trash? (No)
Tricked you, haters, go away before I hit you
I am not a beggar or a kiss-up
You don’t understand? Well, I forgive you
I am not a quitter, you ain’t really think that, did you?
Maybe someday I could even be up on the radio
Have a tour bus and maybe even play a couple shows
Everybody in the crowd singin’ every word I wrote
Tellin’ me that I am not the only one that feels alone
Huh? You feel alone? Yeah, I kinda feel alone
Wonder if that feelin’ ever goes away when you get old
Will I ever make it as an artist? I don’t really know
Might not make a lot of dough, I’ma have to try it, though

When I grow up, I just want to pay my bills
Rappin’ about the way I feel, oh yeah
I just want to make a couple mil’
Leave it to the fam in the will, oh yeah (yeah)
I just want to sign a record deal
Maybe buy a house up in the hills, oh yeah (okay)
Might not be the best in my field (ayy)
But I guarantee that I’ma die real (ayy, oh)

When I grow up, I just want to pay my bills (woo)
Rappin’ about the way I feel, oh yeah (yeah, the way I feel)
Yeah, I just want to make a couple mil’ (ayy)
Leave it to the fam in the will, oh yeah (to the fam in the will)
I just want to sign a record deal (woo)
Maybe buy a house up in the hills, oh yeah (a house up in the hills)
Yeah, I might not be the best in my field (ayy)
But I guarantee that I’ma die real
When I grow up

(When I grow up)

Full Lyrics

NF’s ‘When I Grow Up’ isn’t simply another track to bob your head to; it’s a lyrical deep-dive into the soul of a dreamer who’s been told his aspirations are far-fetched. It’s a representation of raw ambition and stands as an ode to those who cling to their goals despite the naysayers. NF’s compelling wordplay and emotion-driven delivery etch an unforgettable blueprint for relentless pursuit.

The track goes beyond the surface of a childhood question, morphing into a relentless rebellion against conformity. NF uses his journey as a backdrop to inspire masses who struggle to fit their sized dreams into society’s standardized boxes. It’s time we peel back the layers of this storytelling masterpiece to reveal the hunger for success beating at its core.

A Fusion of Reality and Aspiration – The Dichotomy of NF’s Dreams

Transparently, NF bridges the gap between the hopes of youth and the harsh feedback loop of adulthood. The dreams he describes as ‘ridiculous’ are echoes of innocence, powered by the untainted passion of wanting to be something more. This acknowledgment of how his ambitions might be perceived sets the stage for an underdog’s anthem, laced with both skepticism and gritty determination.

But this isn’t a story of blind optimism; it’s a calculated maneuver through a minefield of practicality. NF isn’t ignorant of the industry’s callous nature—he knows the odds aren’t in his favor. Yet, he doesn’t use this as an excuse to give up, but rather as fuel to his relentlessness. The lyrics serve as his manifesto, one that resonates with anyone who has ever been doubted.

The Underdog Mentality – Embracing the Battle Against Odds

Contained within the pulse of the beat is NF’s comfort in adversity. Against the status quo, he paints himself proudly as an underdog—a position that he believes suits him. He’s acutely aware of how others view his chances, and it’s in this space that his determination is kindled. The song becomes the underdog’s weapon, the sound of the ignored and underestimated fighting back.

NF’s lyrics proclaim a universal truth about resilience—it’s not about the approval of the masses but about personal perseverance. He flips the script on adversity, seeing it not as a deterrent but as the very thing that makes his journey worth it. The heart of ‘When I Grow Up’ beats loudest for those who understand what it means to be an underdog, for those who rise up when they’re pushed down.

Rejecting the Cookie-Cutter Life – NF’s Critique of Conventional Success

In a bold rejection of societal expectations, NF deviates from the typical success route that many are herded into—college, debt, and unfulfilling jobs. He doesn’t just want to ‘make a meal’ but ‘make a mil’,’ flipping the script on what fulfillment means to him. This line serves a dual purpose, contrasting the fast-food nature of fleeting success with the satisfaction of home-cooked triumph.

Through his wordplay, NF dissects the tension between mass-produced dreams and the craving for genuine self-made success. He’s not interested in the mundane or the overdone; he seeks a path that aligns with his values, even if it’s unconventional. This sentiment resonates with anyone feeling the tug-of-war between personal ambition and conventional expectations.

Memorable Lines That Echo the Heart of a Dreamer

‘Might not be the best in my field, But I guarantee that I’ma die real.’ These lyrics encapsulate the essence of NF’s message. It’s an unapologetic declaration of authenticity over recognition. His metrics for success don’t hinge on being ‘the best,’ but rather on upholding an unwavering sense of self amid pursuit.

‘I just want to make a couple mil’, Leave it to the fam in the will.’ Here, NF highlights his altruistic motive entrenched in his success. His dream isn’t rooted in selfish gain but in the legacy he leaves behind. Each syllable is laced with evidence of a drive that is not just about personal wealth, but about the impact and security he wishes to impart to his loved ones.

The Song’s Hidden Meaning: A Battle Cry for Authenticity and Perseverance

Beneath the surface of aspiring to a rap career, ‘When I Grow Up’ carries a deeper resonance as an anthem for staying true to one’s self no matter the obstacle. The ‘ridiculous dreams’ are representative of inner truths that we often ignore for fear of judgment or failure. NF challenges this notion, providing a soundtrack for the brave souls who bet on themselves.

This song speaks volumes to the real human experience of growth and ambition—not as a linear path but as a climb up a rugged mountain, with pitfalls and skeptics at every ledge. It’s the noise of those who dare to chase what seems unreachable, making the hidden message an empowering force to those wrestling with their ambitions and identity.

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