Music Essay - An Analysis of the Rap Song, Put it On


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An Analysis of the Rap Song, Put it On


While on a recent carefree jaunt throughout Harlem, I was introduced to the lyrical genius of one “Big L.” As is common of all true artists, Mr. L passed before his time, but not without a legacy. You see, it is the will of the Almighty Himself that I elucidate the meaning of Mr. L’s first major work, “Put it On,” in order for it to be made accessible to the common man and the upper crust alike, so that this truly majestic piece may live for eternity in the bosom of humankind. To this end, I have composed a line-for-line translation of the complex, sophisticated diction, which, I expect, will henceforth serve as the standard through which all scholars will study this master of the English language.

Verse One

Ayo you better flee, hops, or get your head thrown three blocks.
L keep rappers’ hearts pumpin’ like Reeboks.
And every year I gain clout and my name sprout.
Some brothers would still be virgins if crack never came out.
I got the wild style, always been a foul child
My guns go boom-boom, and your guns go pow-pow.
I'm known to have a hottie open, I keep the shottie smokin,’
Front and get half the bones in your body broken.
And when it comes to getting’ nookie I'm not a rookie-
I got girls that make that chick Toni Braxton look like Whoopie.
I run with sturdy cliques, I'm never hittin’ dirty chicks,
Got thirty-five bodies, buddy, don't make it thirty-six.
Step to this, you're good as gone. Word is bond.
I leave mics torn when I put it on.



Summary: This verse serves to make a strong impression of Mr. L. We first learn that he is not to be toyed with. Big then threatens his opponents, speaks briefly about his fondness for firearms, and draws attention to his sex appeal. As for a more detailed analysis of the verse:

Ayo you better flee, hops, or get your head thrown three blocks.
L keep rappers’ hearts pumpin’ like Reeboks.

Greetings. You had better take flight, my good man, or else you will receive a wallop - for I am to be feared.

And every year I gain clout and my name sprout.
Some brothers would still be virgins if crack never came out.

I strengthen my fame on an annual basis. Hence, my name becomes increasingly better known with time. Incidentally, a number of black men would still have not had sexual relations with women, had it not been for the advent of crack cocaine.

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I got the wild style, always been a foul child.
My guns go boom-boom, and your guns go pow-pow.

My everyday manner is rather untamed. I have always been a relatively malodorous and immature individual. My (fairly large) firearms unleash a certain masculine sounding blast when they discharge, while those of my opponents sound rather puny.

I'm known to have a hottie open, I keep the shottie smokin,’
Front and get half the bones in your body broken.

I have been known to have steady sexual relations with women, I frequently fire a shotgun, and, should you claim to be someone whom you are not, I will seriously injure you.

And when it comes to getting’ nookie I'm not a rookie-
I got girls that make that chick Toni Braxton look like Whoopie.

The concept of sexual intercourse is not new to me. In fact, I have had sex with women who would commonly be considered to be significantly more beautiful than Toni Braxton.

I run with sturdy cliques, I'm never hittin’ dirty chicks,
Got thirty-five bodies, buddy, don't make it thirty-six.

I only associate myself with powerful and determined individuals, while I never have sexual relations with women who are promiscuous or unscrupulous, who could potentially infect me with a sexually transmitted disease. In addition, I have already killed thirty-five people, my friend. Please do not make me take your life as well.

Step to this, you're good as gone. Word is bond.
I leave mics torn when I put it on.

However, should you challenge me, I will eliminate you. You have my word. I am so good at speaking into a microphone that it is rendered inoperable by the time I am finished.

Verse Two

Nobody can take nothin’ from Big L but a loss, chief.
The last punk who fronted got a mouth full of false teeth.
I'm known to gas a hottie and blast the shottie.
Got more cash than Gotti, (you don't know?) you better ask somebody.
Big L is a crazy brother, and I'm a lady lover,
A smooth kid that'll run up in your baby mother.
I push a slick Benz, I'm known to hit skins
And get ends and commit sins with sick friends.
Cause I'm a money getter, also a honey hitter.
You think you nice as me? Ha ha, you’s a funny nigga.
I flows, so one of my shows, it wouldn't be clever to miss.
I'm leavin’ competitors pissed,
To tell you the truth, it gets no better than this.
I'm catchin’ wreck ‘till the break of dawn,
And it's on. Yo it's a must that I put it on.



Summary: Mr. L continues to threaten his opponents and furthers the discussion of weaponry. This verse is also laden with references to Big’s sexual prowess. Here we learn that Big L is especially financially prosperous. Again, for further explanation:

Nobody can take nothin’ from Big L but a loss, chief.
The last punk who fronted got a mouth full of false teeth.

Indeed, there exists not one individual who would have the ability to purloin any of my possessions, unless you count the loss they will take away from a competition with me. I injured the last dubious fool who presented himself falsely in my presence to the point that he required dental implants.

I'm known to gas a hottie and blast the shottie.
Got more cash than Gotti, (you don't know?) you better ask somebody.

I am known for thoroughly impressing attractive females as well as for my marksmanship with the scattergun. I am wealthier than the infamous and rather well-to-do gangster John Gotti. Oh, you were not informed of this information? Then it would be best if you pursued a line of inquiry in that direction.

Big L is a crazy brother, and I'm a lady lover,
A smooth kid that'll run up in your baby mother.

I am a black man who suffers from the brain fever. I am also well acquainted with the ladies, a dandy bloke who has no compunction whatsoever about fornicating with the mother of your child.

I push a slick Benz, I'm known to hit skins
And get ends and commit sins with sick friends.

I possess a plush motor vehicle produced by the Mercedes-Benz corporation. I am known to have sex with women, to be involved exclusively in financial endeavors that are most successful, and for shaming myself before the Lord with my equally deranged acquaintances.

Cause I'm a money getter, also a honey hitter.
You think you nice as me? Ha ha, you’s a funny nigga.

This is all because I am an individual who is gifted at making money as well as one who often has sex with women. Do you think that you are as talented as I am at these things? Ha! You are an amusing chap!

I flows, so one of my shows it wouldn't be clever to miss.
I'm leavin’ competitors pissed,
To tell you the truth, it gets no better than this.

I speak with flair, consequently only a complete fop would choose not to attend one of my performances. I irritate my competitors. I can confidently state with the utmost veracity that there is nothing better than listening to me speak.

I'm catchin’ wreck ‘till the break of dawn,
And it's on. Yo it's a must that I put it on.

I engage in vile and immature activities during the evening hours. Let these activities now commence, for it is mandatory that I ‘rouse the roost,’ so to speak.

As you can see, Mr. L’s poetic genius is relatively unmatched in contemporary literature. No author can match his expert use of rich, vibrant language to convey feelings on such a wide variety of matters that we face in the modern era.

L, Big. “Put It On.” Lifesylez Ov Da Poor and Dangerous. Columbia, CS 53795, 1995. Ibid.


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