Discretion

Follow
Discretion's photo

Ishmael/Melville completes a rich, complex series of metaphors with a stirringly simple image.

Throughout the chapter, opposing concepts, viz. good and evil, right and wrong, are complicated by the presence of fire (perhaps a symbol of human desire). Melville suggests that dreams and obsessions, complicate truth, reason, and god, which are enlightening forces.

However, Melville doesn’t want to be forced into saying the truth will always result in a rosy life. In fact, there are times where it may seem that the righteous path is more difficult than the sinful one.

Hence the metaphor. Though shrouded in darkness, the Catskill eagle soars closer to the heavens (because it flies in a mountain) than its brethren on the plain, who possess a merely apparent closeness to the sky.

This video is processing – it'll appear automatically when it's done.

Show other contributors +

MrSands's photo

1,960

March 25th, 2013

The Catskill eagle metaphor can also be Melville honoring his friend, Nathanial Hawthorne who Melville saw as one of the few authors who could plunge the depths of man’s depravity.

Add a suggestion

The “Le Tigre, son you’re too eager” line refers to the (at the time) defunct clothing line called Le Tigre which tried to rival Lacoste in styling and price. However, the brand wasn’t able to keep up and went out of business.

So, Jay’s comparing the “fake rappers” mentioned in the previous line to Le Tigre, which foolishly tried to challenge an established luxury clothing line and failed miserably

This video is processing – it'll appear automatically when it's done.

Show other contributors +

Jay knows individuals that love him from the bottom of their soul even though he has done some dirty deeds. The clever word play with cooked food is soul food. Even though at times he has to move around and hustle much like a crook never stays in one place too long, he’s a Heartbreaker

This video is processing – it'll appear automatically when it's done.

Show other contributors +

At an estimated net worth of $450 million, Hov could have almost anything in the world, but what he asks for above all else is honesty. However, this is often the hardest thing to get out of people.

Ironically, 10 years after the albums’s release, Vibe notes that

Many of the associates and artists that were in Jay-Z’s Roc-A-Fella circle around 2003 are no longer around today. Rap fans were disappointed that Hovito didn’t keep artists like Freeway and Young Chris in the fold and fell out with Beanie Sigel so bad that the two would spend the latter five years trading jabs on record. Yet, he received the most sideeyes when he received full ownership of Roc-A-Fella Records––after he and co-owners Damon “Dame” Dash and Kareem “Biggs” Burke sold it to Def Jam––and exed his partners out.

This video is processing – it'll appear automatically when it's done.

Show other contributors +

Again…

This video is processing – it'll appear automatically when it's done.

Show other contributors +

On the surface, Jay merely comments on a dream that his drug crew is going to rise to the highest echelon of money in America, basically overthrowing the establishment and the stigma that black people don’t amount to anything.

However, when you look deeper, “confederation” alludes to the “Confederacy” in the Civil War, which like Jay’s crew tried to “dead a nation,” i.e. secede from the Union thus breaking up the country (incidentally, the Confederate States of America is a dead nation). But the Confederacy was ultimately beaten by the Union. And what’s more, it stood for a morally disgusting cause simply because it sustained the southern economy.

The Confederacy and Jay’s confederation are thus directly compared, forcing us to ask ourselves how similar or different they really are/were.

“explode!/On detonation” can also apply to the nation Jay’s crew is trying to overthrow, or to Jay’s mind which earlier in the verse is depicted as “infested with sick thoughts” and is “dual levels.”

Also note the world play on the homophonic ‘dead-a-nation’ and ‘detonation’, and also Jay’s masterful use of internal rhyme: ‘confederation’, ‘dead a nation’, ‘detonation’, ‘said patient’.

This video is processing – it'll appear automatically when it's done.

Show other contributors +

Gambino implies multiple meanings to this line.

1) That he’s stupid (a dummy) for pretending to like a girl he has no genuine feelings for.

2) That the girl is foolish for going along with it.

This is also probably a reference to 30 Rock (another NBC show that Glover used to write for) in which Liz Lemon’s boyfriend often calls her dummy. Lemon’s boyfriend was not very kind to her, so this could be him saying he wasn’t very kind to any of these girls.

“so dummy” could also possibly be a double entendre linked with the next line. When Gambino says the “wrong thing” i.e. mispronounces sodomy as “so dummy,” the wrong girl’s cum running.

This video is processing – it'll appear automatically when it's done.

Show other contributors +

Like a true thug, he’s getting high, relaxing and having fun with his friends right after murdering someone.

In a subtle sense, this can also be seen as a coping mechanism. Rather than address the horrors of what he’s done, he refuses to acknowledge it.

This video is processing – it'll appear automatically when it's done.

Show other contributors +

Signals the end of the speaker’s reminiscence and transitions to thoughts about life without someone sitting next to you in the “swing.”

This video is processing – it'll appear automatically when it's done.

Show other contributors +

Even if the sky is grey, a color that is traditionally associated with gloom, it wouldn’t matter without someone to experience it with.

The entire experience of life, both the good and bad, depend upon sharing them with someone you care about.

This video is processing – it'll appear automatically when it's done.

Show other contributors +

"Young Hov, y'all know when the flow is loco" (Beyoncé – Crazy in Love) | accepted

Loco also continues the plays on the word “crazy” throughout the album.

"Peace, God" (Jay Z – Run This Town) | rejected

More like Jay wants to point out that he is a peaceful god as well as saying goodbye to the previous “czars”/gods of rap like Rakim.

Also could be a reference to Amber Rose, who has a shaved head and famously left Kanye quite unceremoniously.

Jay is also infamous for “biting” lines from Biggie songs. Some of Jay’s biggest chart successes make use of the occasional Biggie rhyme.

"So on some Dr. Spock shit, we STARted our TREK" (Jay Z – Do U Wanna Ride) | pending

Also a reference to the pediatrician Benjamin Spock who published a number of books guiding child care. Jigga deftly weaves the image of he and his peers raised on Dr. Spocks books (a now defunct method of child rearing) going out to the streets to pave their own way with drug dealing.

"Carving out my space in this world of fly girls" (Jay Z – Beach Chair) | accepted

The “carving out my space” line relates to the previous line “I never been on Myspace.” For Jay, being a thoughtful, conscientious individual is more important than being overly social. He’d rather get his thoughts and values straight than engage in a bunch of empty relationships.

Jay-Z continues with the dream motif in this line, saying that gun shots are like lullabies to those “other guys” but not for him. He’s moved beyond his hustler past.

"Take me back to Reasonable Doubt time" (Jay Z – Justify My Thug) | rejected

Not sure where you got your evidence, but Jay-Z claims to have ended his drug dealing ways in 1994

The “Le Tigre, son you’re too eager” line refers to the (at the time) defunct clothing line called Le Tigre which tried to rival Lacoste in styling and price. However, the brand wasn’t able to keep up and went out of business. So Jay’s comparing the “fake rappers” mentioned in the previous line to Le Tigre, which foolishly tried to challenge an established luxury clothing line and failed miserably.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Tigre_Clothing

"I'll tell you half the story, the rest you fill it in / L..." (Jay Z – Dead Presidents II) | rejected

This line can only be understood properly when we relate it back to the line from the end of the first verse [I’m still spending money from ‘88] (Dead Presidents).

When we understand that Reasonable Doubt is the story of Jay’s hustler days and that he didn’t turn to rap for money, we can see the other half of the story that he wants us to fill, i.e. the one he has made even more clear in his book Decoded and again on Watch the Throne. That the hustler life wasn’t sustainable. He had to move onto something else.

But when you’re filling the last half of the story in, don’t let the villain lose, because Jay-Z is the villain.

Discretion hasn't added any songs!