Behind the Lyrics: Run the Jewels - 'Holy Calamafuck'
Updated: May 3
(Photo Credit: Dan Medhurst)
I'm currently finishing up a college course, and as I am sure many of the readers here can relate, it has been such a BORE. The millennial generation is one of the most educated, and I always thought that was such a prideful declaration...but going back to school has taught me a lesson.
Don't get me wrong -- I learned a lot too, but I had to refine my mindset and have fun with what the class was. One of the ways me and my peers did this? We made ridiculous "discussion post titles". They were required writings on the reading, and then, we HAD to reply to each other. So, somewhere down the line, we did just so...snarky and fun.
This song caught my attention because here is a group -- Run The Jewels --- who are fully aware that the world is fucked up. But, they are gonna have fun and get a message out at the same time.
So, without further ado, let's look Behind the Lyrics of Run The Jewels' "Holy Calamafuck".
All them a-talk, them beat back them words
All them a-talk, them beat back them words All them a-talk, them beat back them words All, all, ah, all, all, ah All them a-talk, them beat back them words All them a-talk, them beat back them words (yeah) All them a-talk, them beat back them words (yeah) All, all, all, all
The law defier, the non-complier, the death defier The Mike Myers, m- rapper for hire Do-er of drive byers, the back back clack clack Let it loose m-, all witnesses and survivors That's a job completer, dependable contractor The "backhand wack rap" slapper Mr. Leather Bomber Taker, catch ya getting off the escalator Run the Jewels smooth and don't trigger the undertaker Ayy, as a teen lackin', I woulda ran me a supreme racket I woulda took these lames' Supreme jackets Until you rob a hype beast, you ain't seen sadness "Clockwork Orange" madness, left the scene laughin'
Ayy, we forever-ever, Jaimito y Michael the Render The pyrotechnicrats, the ol' razzle dazzlers The magic bean imbibers (yes) The green giant of the rhyme contrivers (yes) Supreme violence of the time describers (yes) I'm the decider, you evil eyers A pile driver provider for liars, the sleep depriver The nick of time mercy kill denier in prime I'll kill the mood of a Buddhist MacGyver I'll slap a yapper from the acne to the tooth bone fiber, I'm liver Thought crime designer criminal minder And I'm a born and bred in USA who chop and screw truth up Think I got a case of the Mondays, on (fire!)
Ayo, one for mayhem, two for mischief Now aim for the drones in your zoning district Hindenburg 'em, get 'em, burn 'em Can't give the ghost up, no resistance Pass that sh-, Mike, I have to insist it Reality sucks d-, how's that for wisdom? I'll lick a toad's back like, "mmm, delicious" Time elves wave to me off in the distance (hello?) Hey lil' guy, I'm just walkin' through From another timeline where monsters eat truth Physicists say the dough I get's proof The multiverse lives, I'm supposed to just lose The glass bottom tank I drive is all fueled Gotta try to stay cool, honey bunny, don't move F- sh- glows in the hearts of the brutes You hate Run The Jewels, you don't love the troops You miss the point tryna act like sh-'s cool Don't f- tell doom your number's not due Every other g- year I'm brand new It's been 20 plus years, you think that's a clue Maybe this guy kinda kills what he do? He's prolly that dude, he's left enough proof Plenty of these goofs disappeared, poof I'm still the next big thing, gotta hurt, oof, I got
More fire! More fire! (li-li-li-lights, lights!) More fire! More fire! (li-li-li-lights!)
I got extra payback, allow me to state that All that forth back, we don't play that You want beef, bruh, you just state that And we steak that, fry and bake that One time in the big ol' south Lived a lil' chubby kid with a big ol' mouth Lame writers gave him big ol' doubts Now the same lil' boy in a big ol' house Look at him now in the big ol' cars And the same folk hated pay big homage One minute let me be candid Used to stand by the garbage can hand to handin' That dumb trap sh-, no proper planning Seen ignorant sh- like geekers dancing And rappers rap about it like it's so romantic But I still can't seem to escape the panic PTSD, streets did the damage Kept me in hammock, laid back with c- Get me f- up, it be's calamity I'ma come through and leave some damages G- somebody call amberlamps Or ambulances out of chances F- that weak sh-, you be bantering You're a common cold and my flows are cancerous
More fire! More fire! (li-li-li-lights, lights!) More fire! More fire! (li-li-li-lights!) (I got)
Did that title grab your attention? I hope so. Remember, the title is the first thing that a listener gets to introduce your song. Do you want to be bland? Stereotypical and name it after a chorus line? Or, do you want to pull the listener in by their funny bone and keep them there with your artistry?
Next, we get to these lyrics. They cover a ton of ground, and some of it may relate to you and some of it not, but the main idea I wanted to point out here is the use of the English language. Now, before I lose any of you, if rap/hip-hop is not your thing, there is still much to be learned from the mastery of the English lyrics style that can be applied across the board.
You want your lyrics to be memorable. Catchy. You want to be at a concert, hold the mic out, and the audience will fill in the pieces, right? Because music is a group experience. Your music can change lives.
But first, you gotta get those lyrics to stand out. How do you do it? You may hate me saying this, but it is time to polish up on your poetry skills. Listen, many people think -- I'm writing a song; I clearly have to rhyme. Not necessarily. The main goal is for it to be catchy. So here are two tips:
"I got extra payback, allow me to state that All that forth back, we don't play that You want beef, bruh, you just state that And we steak that, fry and bake that"
This segment here is an excellent example of a poetry term called "consonance". This is where your consonants (anything that isn't a vowel) work together to make a sound. Say these lines out loud. Here the harsh "ck" sounds? That is what makes this stand out. It flows with the beat and allows the rapper to emphasize the words he wants heard.
And here is the other tip.
"Get me f- up, it be's calamity I'ma come through and leave some damages G- somebody call amberlamps Or ambulances out of chances F- that weak sh-, you be bantering You're a common cold and my flows are cancerous"
This is an example of "assonance". Yeah, I know. Hilarious. However, it is the repetition of vowel sounds. The long A sound is a hit here in this part, and it gives the track just enough of a change to keep things interesting.
I can't wait to see what you all come up with. Until next time.