I took a music class where I decided to figure out the symbolism in trap music. I don’t know if they were aware of how they promoted products and structured their lyrics in this song. Here is my full analysis of what I thought they were really saying. Watch the video first.
You can say that if a rap artist comes up from Atlanta, then they are more than likely going to be put in the category of trap music. This is a subgenre of music that sprouted out of the 1990s and started when rappers emerged out of the South, particularly Atlanta. This song was one of the singles off their album “Culture”, that was released back in January and was certified platinum. You can say this definitely falls into the category of popular music. With their first hit, “Versace”, people could already tell that most of their music was going to be about how they came up from nothing to having everything. When you are listening to trap music, you are focused on the beat in the song and how it makes you feel. Rarely people pay attention to the lyrics but it is indeed a chant of the same phrases repeated over and over. You can say that trap music is well known to be music that you would hear in a drug dealers house. That is where the trap music nickname came from. A trap house is a place where you do illegal stuff, but you don’t actually list it as your address. Migos video will typically have a lot of symbolism that relates to money. The song “Deadz” is a new word for money. Christopher Small asks, “what does it mean for a particular song to be performed at a particular place, time and by this artist?” In 2017, Migos are one of the number one rap groups in the United States right now. This has nothing to do with what they rap about but what rhythm they put behind their repetition. They are proof that people don’t always listen to the words of a song but most of the time it is just the beats that follow along with it.
“Deadz” begins with what looks like a full orchestra. The conductor is standing in dark shades and has a slight swag with his instructions. Typically you wouldn’t mix classical music with rap music or even trap music but in the beginning of this song, it works perfectly to set up the chant. This song starts with the line, “you niggas in trouble” 14 times, followed by the ending phrase “niggas in trouble “ as a background sound that repeats over and over. This makes it a total of 28 times that you hear the phrase. At this point, the song becomes a chant. As the music progresses you know that the beat is changing by the way the instruments are being played. Only the bass and trumpets are being played and that sounds like the beat of the song is building up. When the beat drops the violins are then added, then this combination allows the rapper to begin his first lyric. Although we see instruments, this was recorded in a studio and typically trap music is made with a beat machine also known as a TR-808 beat machine. This band is representing the upper-class, which in turns means money. This correlates with the title of the song meaning every scene being some sort of representation of money. When you hear this same beat throughout the rest of the song you know that it is a new lyric coming into play.
The first verse starts a new chant that introduces the first verse. This is late repeated again int he beginning of each new verse. It is like they don’t want you to forget. He repeats the phrase, “Uh Oh fresh out the bed, uh oh count out the deads”, six times. When you hear this new lyric you continue to repeat it just like you did in the being of the song. You are now trained to sing along and it no longer is just words to you but more of a beat. The first verse gets you ready for the actual lyrics which are short and sweet. He briefly is talking about selling drugs if he wasn’t a rapper. He is telling you in the first verse that money is the most important part of this song. In the visual, you see a porcelain floor, glass chandeliers, cash bundles, gold diamond teeth, bracelets, and chains. The product placement represents them selling out. The camera zooms in a perfectly in focus shot of the liquor making sure we see the name of it and he is drinking it. This is where marketing comes into play. “Hey if you see these rappers drinking this then just maybe you will too.” This is another representation of money. As they go into the next verse, the same pattern is repeated throughout the song. The violins stop playing immediately and the bass and trumpet go back into their solo with the repeating verse on top. This time “You niggas in trouble “ is only repeated eight times follow by the same, “Uh Oh fresh out the bed, uh oh count out the deads” another eight times. At this point, you know that the chorus part of this song is a complete chant that is meant for you to dance to and bop your head to repeatedly. Rap music can go in two ways either there is a message or no point at all. This is when people began to judge what real rap is.
The conversation about what real rap consist of is a deep conversation similar to the one about the authentication of country music. If you are rapping about where you grew up and how it was growing up then that is rap. If you are just talking about money and women, then people tend to say that you are not a real wrapper. This is music with a purpose of just to entertain. I would classify this type of rap as entertainment rap. In the video, each verse talks about money in some way. The dead presidents, the expensive clothes, the jewelry and the hand movements to show it off. This video explains that these artists have money and although they may not have had it in the past they have it now. “You niggas in trouble” is the message to everyone listening to their music. They are tossing money up in the air in a funeral home. The people in the casket are dead presidents and so it the cash. Every scene of the video sends the message that this music is all about money. It is. The lyrics, the visuals all show it. In the end, what I think doesn’t matter. The artists should be aware of how their audience observes, interprets and analysis their music.
Being a famous rap artist is all about money. This video proved it. What was observed is money everywhere, things that you can buy with money and how much they have of it. While listening to the song, they repeat to the audience as they constantly counting money. The heavy kick drums sped up at the end along with a fast camera shake to show some seriousness to the video. The interpretation if this video is that they are showing what the rap culture is like now. It is all about showing what you have and making sure you let the world know you have it. It matters because it dates this song and if you heard it in another era then you would know that it belonged in 2017. They rap about products and styles that are popular right now. An analysis of the overall production of the video and song is that there is more than one way to tell the world that you have a lot of money or “dead”
In conclusion, the Migos are a rap group that performs for entertainment purposed only. Much like their music video, they have a creative way of showing off their money. The repetitions in their music are a distraction from the lyrics that are barely there. People love this type of music because of the beat and not because of the realness of the lyrics.