Life is parallel to Hell but I must maintain

from Nas – N.Y. State of Mind Lyrics on Rap Genius

Meaning

There are different ways to interpret what “parallel” does here, but the best explanation is that Nas is using parallel to mean “roughly analogous” — that is, he must “maintain” even though life on the streets of Queens is so trying and violent as to border on the demonic.

Still from Jacob’s Ladder (1990)

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