Cartoons & Cereal: a Music Analysis Essay
E.CoyoteandRoadRunnerMusic Analysis Cartoons & Cereal “Now I was raised in a sandbox next to you and her You was holding the handgun, she was giving birth To a baby boy to be just like you, I wonder what that’s worth I-I wonder if you ever knew you were a role model to me first …You told me, ’Don’t be like me, just finish watching cartoons’ Which is funny because all I see is Wile E - Cartoons & Cereal: a Music Analysis Essay introduction. Coyotes in the room (ironic)? ” The bridge is the foundation of the entire song.
It has a way of notifying the listener of the adventure they are about to embark on and that this song is far from the conventional hip-hop and rap music that is often blasted on the local radio airwaves. The listener is teleported back to Kendrick’s childhood to the playground, particularly in the sandbox. The sandbox is a representation of creative freedom; an individual can create anything he or she desires.
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Although it can provide freedom, the sandbox is also the dirtiest place on the playground; it can come with all types of germs and other undesirable objects. Kendrick Lamar mentions his father “…holding the handgun, [while] she was giving birth…” where “she” is being referred to as his mother, this line is an idiom for taking life and giving life. Some teens are forced into parenthood and cannot handle the responsibilities. Fathers leave and mothers neglect, nevertheless a child will find security and guidance wherever it seems to appear.
In the next couple of lines, Kendrick states: “I-I wonder if you ever knew you were a role model to me at first”, most young black men do not have a positive male figure in their lives, so they are forced to look for the next thing. Whether it is their mother or the local dope boy, it will be found and it cannot be said whether it is positive or negative. As an adult, Kendrick is faced with the reality that not everyone may have his personal wellbeing in favor and all he sees “…is Wile E. Coyotes in the room…” He had to be the Roadrunner; be smart and cunning when faced with difficult situations, whereas Wile E.
Coyote was sneaky and a conniving individual. All his parents wanted was for him to keep his innocence and remain a child for as long as possible, and this is showed when it’s implied that his father told him, “… Don’t be like me, just finish watching cartoons…” “This shit make a nigga just wanna write, reminisce when I had a morning appetite Apple Jacks, had nothing that I hit the TV Guide, Animaniacs the only thing that gave me peace of mind I’m a maniac when aiming at the enemy… tell a story that’ll never glory 25…
Ain’t nobody goin tie your shoe, nobody grew up by (by) your rule, Nobody horn your gun, how come, your tongue say killa then kill my mood, …‘til I wreck into a pole, like a right to vote I am from the bottom of the jungle living in the bottom of the food chain, …in the era where we wanna earn soon that’s an error, you can smell it in the air everybody really doomed that’s why I’m backdooring you maa’fuckas all yall can suck my dick, all them days at the county buildings, I’m bout to make my momma rich cartoons and (cereal), I ain’t felt this (good since) Scrooge McDuck (here we go) Elementary hood shit…” Kendrick Lamar started off as a poet and since he was a young child, it was always his way to express himself.
When he was a child, television, particularly cartoons, was his way of escaping reality, note that he said the “Animaniacs, the only thing that gave me peace of mind, I’m a maniac…”, it’s ironic how the AniMANIACS gave him peace of mind. The black male is left to fend for himself a lot in recent society, especially in single parent households. Kendrick expresses his thought that most will not live to “…tell a story that’ll never glory 25” shows that the life expectancy of a black male is well before 25. If one is to live past 25, they are simply lucky. When Kendrick says “…ain’t nobody goin tie your shoe nobody go by (by) your rule…”he means that he had to retain a sense of independence even though he was so young. He learned that someone is not always going to be there.
Furthermore, that he has no restrictions growing up because he was self-sufficient. With his father in jail and his mother constantly working to support him, it was no wonder why cartoons were his scapegoat from reality. When an individual comes from a low income background, and individual is at the bottom and that is exactly what Kendrick means when he says, “I am from the bottom of the jungle living in the bottom of the food chain…” there is nowhere else for him to go but up in the world, and because he is at the bottom of the food chain, he may be considered a weak aspect in society as well as an easy target for those who have no remorse for those individuals who are trying to succeed in this world.
Kendrick believes that we live “in the era where we wanna earn soon…” and the youth no longer want to honestly work for their rewards, they would rather have it instantly and soon it becomes a problem and the youth fail to realize that “everybody really doomed”. Many doubted the fact that Kendrick Lamar was a talented writer and that music would take him far, which is why he chose to sneak up on his competition. Once Kendrick realized that his rapping can take him somewhere in the world, he believed that all those countless hours in the “county buildings” will pay off and now he can provide for his mother. “Salt all in my wounds hear my tears all in my tunes let my life loose in this booth just for you, ma’fucka hope yall amused! I did wrong, karma came crackers gave me ball and chain.
Friends, enemies all the same state, fed both can hang. Nobody can’t mute me, but I never said nobody can’t shoot me, just another stat to the white folks…hunt the money, don’t hunt the ho if you do what you always done, then you get what you always got you dumb buffoons…Hand on my heart, face to the hood I pledge every word you ever heard was honest, yea this me, no mic, no cameras, no lights, just pain mama how much trauma can I sustain…Road to riches got lots of lanes…Just another player with lots of game, never had shit got lots to gain” Gunplay’s first lines of his verse is his way of displaying a sense of openness and raw unguarded emotion to the listener.
Some may take him as a joke and find his openness as a joke. Gunplay realizes that his actions were not reflections of who he is as an individual and has paid his debt to society. His referral to Caucasians as “crackers” shows distain for the race, because to them, black people are nothing but “just another stat to the white folks…” Many black males has heard from either a father, uncle, older cousin, and maybe a mother, that money was the motivation, so they were to “hunt the money, don’t hunt the ho”. Not only for the sake of having money, but to prevent teen pregnancy, or just unplanned pregnancies period, which seemed to be a top issue in the hood.
Gunplay wants people to understand that as a unit, individuals have to change their way of thinking and that “if you do what you always done, then you get what you always got’. It doesn’t make sense to expect a different outcome, if an individual performs the same tasks, things will never improve with this mode of thinking. Gunplay also teaches loyalty in his verse. With his “hand on his heart, face to the hood [he] pledge[s] every word you ever heard honest”. He’s been truthful to himself and others about what he’s been through and has always remained the same through his struggle. It has always been just him, “no mic, no cameras, no lights, just pain”.
He’s aware that the “road to riches comes with lots of lanes”, but it is all about choosing the correct path, and not falling for fast cash and the sly lines used to trap the youth into believing that the fastest route is the best choice. Gunplay simply believes that he is “just another player with lots of game, never had shit, got lots to gain”. Meaning that he is another rapper with raw talent and so much to say, and he never had anything so he has everything to gain. “Cartoons & Cereal” is the unconventional tale of what it is like to grow up black in America. I can personally relate to each of the artists in the aspect of having to retain mental stability and stay on top of my business at the same time.
This song gives the listener a vivid auditory autobiography from both Kendrick and Gunplay, all the while creating a contemporary genre in rap music. The art of storytelling has been long lost in rap music and Kendrick Lamar and Gunplay are two of the few artists who are slowly reviving it. This song is aimed towards black youth to listen to their stories and to stray away from the destructive pathways of the streets. The idea formulated earlier referring to Kendrick Lamar as the Roadrunner was meant to show that his music has surpassed generations ahead of there the rap music industry is right now and he’s simply waiting for everyone else to catch up.