Sweet king Martin, sweet queen Coretta
Sweet brother Malcolm, sweet queen Betty
Sweet Mother Mary, sweet father Joseph
Sweet Jesus, we made it in America
A hook that sums up many of the concerns of the album on its penultimate song. The two first couples of the civil rights movement (and of black America as a whole), Martin Luther King, Jr. and his wife Coretta Scott King; and Malcolm X and his wife Betty Shabazz are set up as icons. Jay and Kanye position themselves here as inheritors of their legacy, and also thank them for establishing the groundwork that allowed the two rappers to become the new black elite
It is worth noting how diametrically opposed this is to typical Odd Future attitudes, with lines such as Earl Sweatshirt’s and Tyler the Creator’s clarifying the typical aggressively atheist and anti-Christian viewpoint of OFWGKTA members.
This hook also references the religious feeling of the civil rights movement (and of black life in America generally), which was steeped in Christianity. As one author puts it:
[B]lack religion from the period of slavery through the era of segregation provided theological resources that motivated and sustained preachers and parishioners battling racial oppression…Both religious beliefs and the African American church itself were essential in motivating blacks to act individually and collectively to confront their oppressors…throughout the South. [T]he ideology of the black church roused disparate individuals into a community and…the church established a base for many diverse participants in the civil rights movement
It should be noted that there’s a correlation to the album title: by naming them as kings and queens, Jay and Ye are saying that they are “watching” or “guarding” what Martin, Coretta, Malcolm and Betty all fought for.
As a final note, notice the titles used for the two civil rights leaders. While “King Martin” is an obvious pun on his name, “Brother Malcolm” is the usual way of addressing fellow members of the Nation of Islam (and his later splinter groups)
To help improve the meaning of these lyrics, visit "Made in America" by Kanye West (Ft. Frank Ocean & Jay Z) Lyrics and leave a comment on the lyrics box