What's your life about, enlighten me
Is you gonna live on your knees, or die on your feet
This line, repeated many times throughout, sets the tone of the song. It challenges the listener to take an honest look at his or her life and see how they’ve been living it: passively and on their knees, at the mercy of others, or on their feet taking risks and facing the dangers they entail.
This line paraphrases Mexican Revolution general Emiliano Zapata’s quote, “It’s better to die on your feet than live on your knees.” Jay-Z also used an interpretation of this quote in his song, Lucky Me:
Swear to everything, when I leave this earth
It’s gon' be on both feet, never knees in the dirt
He used the same opening lines on his third verse on his track “Track Two”.
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