Deciphering a rap song

I have always been intrigued with the lyrics of rap songs. It’s just hard to figure out what the song is all about sometimes. There are so many references that the rappers use (well most of them). So I thought I would give it a shot and try and break down a song from top to bottom.  The song in this case is Niggas in Paris by Jay-Z and Kanye West.

Jay’s verse:

So I ball so hard mothafuckas wanna fine me, first niggas gotta find me
What’s 50 grand to a mothafucka like me, can you please remind me
(Ball so hard) This shit crazy, y’all don’t know that don’t shit faze me
The Nets could go 0 for 82 and I’d look at you like this shit gravy
(Ball so hard) This shit weird, we ain’t even s’posed to be here
(Ball so hard) Since we here, it’s only right that we’d be fair
Psycho: I’m liable to go Michael, take your pick
Jackson, Tyson, Jordan, Game 6
(Ball so hard) Got a broken clock, Rolleys that don’t tick tock
Audemars that’s losing time, hidden behind all these big rocks
(Ball so hard) I’m shocked too, I’m supposed to be locked up too
If you escaped what I’ve escaped, you’d be in Paris getting fucked up too
(Ball so hard) Let’s get faded, Le Meurice for like 6 days
Gold bottles, scold models, spillin’ Ace on my sick J’s
(Ball so hard) Bitch, behave, just might let you meet ‘Ye
Chi town’s D. Rose, I’m moving the Nets to BK


Urban dictionary defines a “baller” as someone who has “made it” to the big time. Originally refered ball players that made it out of the streets to make millions as a pro ball player, but now is used to describe any thug that is living large. He does such crazy stuff and lives life on the edge that it’s unfair for other motherfuckers who want to fine him. Obviously niggas gota find Jay before fining him..duh!

50 grand is not a big deal for Jay which makes sense considering his ownership stake in the NewYork Nets mentioned a couple of times in the verse and the tons of music he produces. I mean he has done so much crazy shit that nothing seems to surprise him and like I mentioned before Jay owns a stake in the Nets but even if they lose 82 games in a season, he won’t be shit fazed. In the next couple of lines Jay says that he didn’t expect he’d make it this far and be the kind of baller he is right now.


In the next 2 lines Jay is referencing this famous Biggie line (from Victory):

I perform like Mike
Anyone — Tyson, Jordan, Jackson


It goes without saying that if someone balls so hard, they might break their watch(es) (Rolex in this case). There are so many diamonds studded in his watch that he can barely even see what time it is. Basically, he’s been through so much shit in the past that he should be dead, but now that he’s fought his way out, he deserves to enjoy life to the fullest.

Getting faded – Getting drunk;Le-Meurice – 5 Star Hotel in France;Ace – Champagne;J’s – Jordan sneakers;Ye – Kanye West(in this case), so these lines should be self explanatory.

In the last line I think he compares “Ye” to Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose who I think is one of the greatest point guards in NBA’s history.


Fun fact – NewYork Nets might become Brooklyn Nets pretty soon courtesy Jay-Z 😛

Okay, this post is getting longer than I intended. I will take some excerpts from Kanye’s verse:

She said, “Ye, can we get married at the mall?”
I said, “Look, you need to crawl ‘fore you ball
Come and meet me in the bathroom stall
And show me why you deserve to have it all.”
(Ball so hard) That shit cray, ain’t it Jay?What she order, fish filet?
Your whip so cold – this old thing?
Act like you’ll ever be around mothafuckas like this again….

….Doctors say I’m the illest, cause I’m suffering from realness
Got my niggas in Paris and they going gorillas, huh


The “Mall” is a street in London, famous for leading up to Buckingham Palace, and for being the place where people gathered to see William and Kate after the Royal Wedding. So if you want to get married to Ye in the Mall, you gotta go to the bathroom and supposedly show him that you deserve it? The crawl/ball line definitely is some kind of a sexual innuendo 😛

This girl’s never been around wealthy dudes so when she’s in a French restaurant, she’s out of her comfort zone. He also asks the girl to take advantage of the fact that she is hanging out with Ye and Jay coz they busy people.

Ya doctors definitely think you are the illest Kanye!


He is implying that he is the sickest rapper in the history of sick rappers and that his homeboys are cheering like crazy for him.

I had a lot of fun digging this song, and I am a big fan of Jay-Z and not that big a fan of Kanye although I wish him all the luck for his new album “Yeezus”.

PS: I am really sorry for the broken English I used in this post but it only seems legit 😛

Sources – Rap Genius, Urban Dictionary, GQ

Speaking of Urban Dictionary, I made a little google chrome extension that let’s you search for definitions of terms quickly on Urban Dictionary.It’s live on the chrome webstore, here’s the link. It uses yql which I think is a great tool. I will be writing a post about getting started with YQL. I’d appreciate if you try it out and review this app. 🙂