Run on for your life or you can dance you can die

from Janelle Monae (Ft. Saul Williams) – Dance or Die Lyrics on Rap Genius

Meaning

The dancing that Monáe speaks of is the dance to the music of war, or, more specifically, the drumbeat of war. This is possibly a reference to the fife and drum music of the American Revolutionary War where soldiers could keep formation and time with the beat of the music playing alongside them. Monáe establishes in this song that if a person can’t “dance” to this beat (follow orders) than it’s likely that person will be ostracized or killed for their lack of obedience. It might be best to run, if you don’t want to end up dead.

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