I'm on the ocean, I'm in heaven
Yachting, Ocean 11
As Jay-Z basks in the heavenly rays in the ocean, his flow slows down, displaying his awe of the position he’s in.
“I’m In Heaven” could also allude to Jay-Z being in the ocean amongst our ancestors who died in route to America. That bloodshed has mixed with the waters of the ocean, which follows the theme of the song.
He alludes to the 1960 film Ocean’s Eleven which starred Jay-Z’s idol Frank Sinatra. In the film, Danny Ocean gathers a group of his World War II compatriots to pull off the ultimate Las Vegas heist. We all know, of course, how much Jay loves him some Frank Sinatra.
Together, the eleven friends plan to rob five Las Vegas casinos in one night, they eventually succeed and come out of it millionaires. It’s possible Jay-Z is using Danny Ocean’s success story to mirror his own, through sly crime and big business. It was remade in 2001.
During the filming of its sequel (Ocean’s 12), Clooney would regularly host the cast and crew on a yacht docked near his home in Lake Como, Italy. This was viewed by many as the ultimate in celebrity balling.
To connect this with the song’s overall connotation, look no further than Sammy Davis, a civil rights activist who was also a member of the Rat Pack and one of the main stars of Ocean’s 11. As a Jewish African-American, he faced discrimination from society in the racially-charged 1950s and ‘60s, largely due to his interracial marriage to May Britt.
To suggest another meaning to the lyric, this is the last line before the hook from Frank Ocean. A well known phrase from the movie Spinal Tap is “Turn it up to 11.” Normally, the volume dial only goes to 10, so 11 means he’s over the top, 110%, going hard, going ham. The lyric suggests Frank’s got it cranked to 11.
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