Walking on the pavement I chipped my pride and my teeth onIn the first line, "chipped my pride" seems to be a return to memories of how he embarrassed himself on these streets. It could be from hurting his pride to literally chipping his tooth on the pavement. "Wanted me a Nextel / But my momma copped a Razr", is a depiction on how he wanted to have the specific on brand Nextel flip phone, but she gave him a Motorola Razr showing that was what she was able to afford. The line "They kickin' out the blacks and all the houses getting clones" could be an example of gentrification. White families moving in, property tax increasing, black families are no longer able to afford it and therefore kicked out. Cloning of the houses could be new properties being built for white families. Portland, Oregon, or P.O. as Aminé later states in the song, is a major city in America, but it's racial diversity is poor. Over seventy percent of the cities population is white and the black populations were pushed to the outer edges of the city, due to previous historical anti-black laws.
The girl I grew up with lives a couple houses down
The 8 Bus run the same, dogs howl when the train...
Comes like my ex girl and next girl
Used to rock the S curl, wanted me a Nextel
But my momma copped a Razr, that's why I couldn't blame her
Flippin' through my past like I used to flip the phone
They kickin' out the blacks and all the houses getting clones
Friends used to do pills and only eat at Du's Grill
The food was pretty good but the times was better
These are the only days I missed, like the first shawty I kissed
I used to have dreams, now I dream
The chorus of the song seems to be the generalizing statement of how Aminé feels about his former home.
I look around and I see nothing in my neighborhoodLooking around his former home, he seems to be disappointed in what it has come to be. Leaving his home he would be able to pursue his dreams and further expand his success in the music industry. His next verse shows more about his present time back in P.O.
Not satisfied, don't think I'll ever wanna stay for good
Packed up my bags, told Mom and Dad I've gotta go, go
And once I do, they'll finally see the inner me
Everybody wanna be a star, everybody want a nice car
Everybody wanna live great, have a good damn time
Never trip with the law
The popo up in PO dirtier than BO
Bullies from the past act like I'm they fucking hero, uh
Livin' in LA for the weather, I FaceTime mom when I miss her
I got some homies that'll never leave my hometown
When I pull up to the corner, it smell like Miley Cyrus
I told 'em I don't smoke, they say "Boy, you fuckin' wildin'"
Innocent and young, reckless and we dumb
Our heart is like our earth and memories the sun
He says that he's only in LA for the weather, and it could literally be in reference to how Portland is notorious for its rainy temperament. He could just be saying LA for the juxtaposition of "be a star" and "want a nice car" because most people move out to LA to achieve a dream in the music industry or Hollywood franchise. "The popo up in PO dirtier than BO" is saying how the police in Portland are a dirty or corrupt, dirtier than the smell of body odor itself. I love the last line in particular because it shows that our heart, the spiritual aspect, revolves around the sun of memories. The heart could be in a gravitational rotation around our own heads memories, in regards to the whole song, Aminé could be referring to how home is where the heart is and that despite the changes and negative outlook to P.O., it will always hold memories of where his childhood was.
Mentality the same from my folks
Momma wanna see me happy, she don't wanna see me broke
I sip red wine, sauvignon, Rastafar, Babylon
My youth will never die if I live it like a prize (hey!)
Who knows who I am, who knows who I are
Most people pretty sketch like a night at Echo Park
That's why I just keep it cool but my time is in a leisure
Everytime I'm home I catch emotion like a seizure
In many of Aminé's songs in Good for You, ONEPOINTFIVE, and singles like "Baba", he always references his parents. "She don't wanna see me broke", is how Aminé's mother wants to encourage her son to reach for his dreams, but not at the expense of living in poverty. "I catch emotion like a seizure" is a play on words on how when he gets home he quickly gets emotional, but the motion comes quick which would cause an epileptic person to have a seizure.
I slip and slide through the times in my youthThis bridge shows the constant contradiction of aging and knowledge, and how people need to take on a persona of a "grown-up" at a certain age. However, Aminé is at a time, where he's no longer able to act childish, but need to have their whole lives planned out a young age. The final chorus is sung by Charlie Wilson, who was the former lead vocalist of The Gap Band, and it can be shown that he sings it as an "older" version of Aminé as he's looking back again on his hometown of Portland, Oregon.
What's the age? Too young to worry, too old to dream
What's the age? Imagination to me, tragedy to some
What's the age? I guess we'll find out when we're older. Touché