Not at all nervous as he dug to the surface
Tarnished gold chain is what he loosened up the earth with
He used his mouth as a shovel to try and hollow it
And when he couldn't dirt-spit, he swallowed it

from Lupe Fiasco – The Cool Lyrics on Rap Genius

Meaning

With more evocative rhetoric, Lupe tells us how our man tried to force his way through the earth with his chain, attempting to speed this process up by using his mouth as a digging utensil. Once his mouth was dry from spitting, he just resorted to consuming the dirt.

Additionally, this could also mean that as Michael became famous (dug to the surface), he started wearing chains to make it seem as if he had gotten far in life. As a rapper, he used his mouth to spit lyrics and when he couldn’t think of anything to write about, he stopped writing real lyrics (swallowed it) and dumbed it down to make his songs more appealing to the masses. All part of the hustle.

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