And what’s a black Beatle anyway, a fucking roach

from Kanye West (Ft. Kid Cudi & Raekwon) – Gorgeous Lyrics on Rap Genius

Meaning

Kanye compares himself with probably the biggest band of al time The Beatles which follows up on the Yesterday in the line above.

Kanye intimates that if the Beatles (or one of them) were black they certainly would be underestimated and they wouldn’t have been done so much success. It’s a very clever line: In the line above there’s a reference to the Beatles (Yesterday), and there’s a play with insects (beetle and roach).

In a real-world twist on this concept, black keyboardist Billy Preston worked with The Beatles extensively and was considered by some to be The Fifth Beatle. He was even sometimes known as The Black Beatle.

A beetle is not a particularly liked bug, but a cockroach is notoriously known as a disgusting one that is associated with dirt, filth, and poverty. Often people have the immediate reaction of killing a cockroach. Interestingly though, cockroaches are known as being extremely resilient and difficult to kill. Urban legend holds that they would be the sole survivors of a nuclear holocaust.

Also, both the Beatles and Kanye have a history of being compared to Jesus. Kanye posed as Jesus on the cover of Rolling Stone and Jay-Z did the comparing on Watch the Throne. In terms of the Beatles, John Lennon famously remarked about the success of the Beatles,

We are more popular than Jesus

To which there is an entire Wikipedia Page dedicated.

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