Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Closer Look at "Us Placers"

Okay so in general “Us Placers” is about each members experiences with becoming famous and how it has changed their lives. I think the title “Us Placers” refers to placing like placing in a competition (being in the top 3) or like places on the charts and such. So the song is offering each members perspective of where they are in the industry, what it’s like to be in their “place.”

(Lupe Fiasco)
Yeah, Just a lil bit (just a lil bit) And it goes
Lifestyles of the rich and famous
Bought a big house and a whole lot of rangers
A fresh new couch and a whole lot of trainers
A closet full of clothes and some brand new dangers
Some Mexican floral arrangers
A great big TV that'll entertain us
Some colorful commissions for some high paid painters
Someone to take the wrap so that I stay stainless
A new relationship with a banker
Two pinky rings for my manicured fingers
A trained German Shepard that bark when it's angered
To watch my possessions and look out for strangers
A 50 foot yacht with an anchor
Young supermodel that shall remain nameless
Up to this point in his verse, Lupe has pretty much just been listing all the things he has been able to get since becoming famous, mostly things he bought. (Some of these things Lupe might not have actually bought, but he's listing what's typical in "life styles of the rich and famous") Then he ends his verse by concluding that even though all the above changes have been made to his life, he knows money doesn’t solve problems:
Ups and the downs, the sames and the changes
All the money in the world don't make it painless (no)

The chorus is basically just saying that Lupe, Kanye, and Pharrell are here to stay and will not be leaving the music industry despite anyone’s efforts. “And they love it” refers to the fans who are not phased by efforts to “erase” Lu, P, or ‘Ye. The fans continue to love all that the CRS members do.
(But they love it and they love it)
The more you try to erase me
(And they love it and they love it)
The more that I appear, oh
(and they love it and they love it)
The more, the more you try the eraser
The more that you appear

Kanye’s verse is about how he can see people everywhere trying to become known. He can see how MySpace and the internet have created new channels for self-promotion, but many people are still struggling to get their tracks heard or their faces in magazines.
(Kanye West)
(Plain Pat what up?)
Lifestyles of the broke and famous
Let you know how crazy this game is
Look at all the new beautiful faces
At home supermodel, MySpaces
Long for their shot on the TV screens
American Idol never seen these dreams
Just last week they want to see ID
Now they got you in VIP, huh?
Those two lines are talking about how fame can be really sudden for people: one minute no one knows who you are, the next minute you could be the life of the party.
How many people almost famous
You almost remember what they name is
Like “Hey, didn’t you play in..? Nah it couldn’t be, quit playin’”
This line is about how many of those people who become suddenly famous only experience 15 minutes of fame before they are forgotten again. Maybe the person started to really rise and blow up, but suddenly nobody cares anymore and the media has moved on to the next star-of-the-minute.
I try to keep that balance
After MTV that’s a Real World Challenge
I think that Kanye is saying he has to keep it all in perspective because even though he is on top, he has seen tons of people just disappear after they had their moment in the spot light. He references The Real World because that show is a source of many star-of-the-minute people who everyone knows at one point, but they end up on infomercials and bat mitzvahs. Just like that, they’re back to being unknown:
Back on that train
Never to be heard from again…

I already said what I think that’s about.

(Pharrell Williams)
P’s verse is focusing on the chaos of the media and how people can be focused on the drama when really there are other things in the world that are more important.
I, any spelling come on, bitch, that’s me
I bring a burning sensation to the urban eye
Like an eye-drop of Turpentine
That’s a metaphore for how Pharrell sees his effect on people. He considers himself a reality check for many.
You can listen to the serpent, fine
But the earth got gas once it burps its fine
I guess this shows I get a little lost in this part of his verse. I’m gonna try to break down all the metaphors and references, but I can’t be sure of what he was really thinking when he said it.
Someone around me they talk about degrees
Not G.H.G, how to cook a quarter key (like coke, right? Or I guess he could be talking about this, this, or this, but I think he means like cook coke into crack)
Talking all nasal, he ain’t over that cold (coke use causes cold-like symptoms)
No glove scrub, Manny just over that stove (cooking coke into crack)
Perfect paradigm
Wrong place wrong time
Should have been Phizer, GlaxoSmithKline (World's two biggest pharmaceutical. See wiki: GlaxoSmithKline, Phizer)
Number one chemist
Look at him no blemish
Egg shell off white like a DuPont finish
Young, dumb, high strung, who could handle us
After referencing many things that are important to today’s youth and what is portrayed as priorities by the media, Pharrell puts all those material thins into perspective by talking about the beauty of nature:
I wonder how Gods gon’ paint today’s canvasses
Obviously this next part is a reference to the Virginia Tech shooting that occurred last year. P is saying how it was really unexpected and he asserts that the shooter would like to see his face on the cover of Time magazine. I think the last part might also be saying that P things the shooter would now regret his actions upon seeing the aftermath. Maybe, I’m not sure if that is what Pharrell means by the last line. It’s also possible he is saying that the shooter would have liked to get away with what he did with out any consequences.
Cause who knew that day that man would just
Go to VA with a Tec and spray campuses
What a way to see the cover of Time
I know that nigga wish he was standing in line
To see it….As if he didn’t do it.

Then the chorus again and that’s it.

I'm not sure if this thing is complete yet. Let me know what you think and if there are any other songs you wanna see explicated on here. I might do some of the new N*E*R*D. I'm not sure.


Atum said...

You can listen to the serpent(evil/mis-leaders from the truth- Adam and Eve reference), fine
But the earth got gas once it burps its fine
(global warming climate change the fact the after it's reactions, such as volcanic eruptions, things can go back to normal)Someone around me they talk about degrees
Not G.H.G
(Green House Gas), how to cook a quarter key(yes a crack reference, and a reference to the issues of the hood and the mind set some have)...

Ciera said...

Sweet, thanks for your help.

Schoolin4thegoodlife said...

wow i admire what you've done.that must have taken some time but i thank you for it.its cool.caught your link on kanyes blog

husam said...

I see those last few lines of P's verse a little differently. After the Virginia Tech Shooting, Time Magazine published an issue with all the victims' pictures on the cover. So basically, P is saying that that guy probably wishes he was a victim, not the killer, because they are the ones that got the attention and fame that he was seeking but at the same cost: death.

Ciera said...

Yeah that makes sense too. I'm not sure which meaning I think P intended...that's a strong possibility though.

Suzy Q said...

Actually, what I think P meant was that the shooter would have loved to see the aftermath, and actually experience his fame. Obviously you can't if you off yourself, but if his sacrifice wasn't his own death, he'd probably have loved to sit back and watch it all, proud of what he did.

Bahama said...

either way it's a great song..whatever way you interpret it