"This Can't Be Life" as written by Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff, Shawn Carter, Dwight Grant, Brad Jordan and Kanye West....
See I was, born in sewage, born to make bomb music
Flow tight like I was born Jewish
Used the streets as a conduit, I kept arms
38 longs inside my mom's buick
At any given moment shawn could lose it, be on the news
Iron cuffs, arms through it, or stuffed with embalmin fluid
Shit, I'm going through it, mom dukes too
Tears streamin down her pretty face, she got her palms to it
My life is gettin too wild
I need to bring some sort kinda calm to it
Bout to lose it voices screaming "don't do it!"
It's like '93, '94, bout the year
That big and mag dropped; and "illmatic" rocked
Outta every rag drop, and the west had it locked
Everybody doing 'em, I'm still scratchin on the block
Like "damn, I'ma be a failure"
Surrounded by thugs, drugs, and drug, paraphernalia
Cops courts, and their thoughts is to derail us
Three time felons in shorts with jealous thoughts
Tryin figure where your mail is, guesstimate the weight you sellin
So they can send shots straight to your melon wait!
It gets worse, baby momma water burst
Baby came out stillborn, still I gotta move on
Though my heart still torn, life gone from her womb
Don't worry, if it was meant to be, it'll be, soon

This can't be life, this can't be love
This can't be right, there's gotta be more, this can't be us
This can't be life, this can't be love
This can't be right, there's gotta be more, this can't be us

Chill dog
Second oldest born, from Michelle brown my mother
Hell bound, grew with two sisters and one brother
Pop wasn't around, so many stories that's another
I'm thinking damn, how my older sister gon' make me tougher
When steel sharpens steel, I'ma keep it real
I'm tired of trying to hide my pain behind the syrups and pills
Dead to the world, stretched out like a corpse for real
Y'all niggaz thinking what y'all reading in the source is real
What my life like, you looking at the source, it's real
What your life like? mine dog, of course it's real
Passin judgment, you niggaz second-guessin beans
Cause you don't eat swine don't make you amin
Dog you know a couple suras, out the qur'an
I guess you all on your deen and I ain't on mine
Stop that akki, 'fore I send shots though your body
Make 'em feel feel hell on earth before allah drop thee
I feel the line's drawn here, nuttin more can stop me
Till them feds pick me up, or them boys pop me
There's only three things that make mac not act like beans
Amatullah tisha, po aldin, samir amin
My seeds dog, gotta teach 'em that before I leave dog
Shit I know that I'ma see 'em when I leave dog
I come back in the afterlife
Like fuck it I done touched hell twice what's the meanin?

This can't be life, this can't be love
This can't be right, there's gotta be more, this can't be us
This can't be life, this can't be love
This can't be right, there's gotta be more, this can't be us

Now as I walk into the studio, to do this with jig'
I got a phone call from one of my nigs
Said my homeboy reek, he just lost one of his kids
And when I heard that I just broke into tears
And see in the second hand you don't really know how this is
But when it hits that close to home you feel the pain at the crib
So I called mine, and saddened my wife with the bad news
Now we both depressed, countin our blessings cause brad's two
Prayin for young souls to laugh at life through the stars
Lovin your kids just like you was ours
And I'm hurtin for you dog, but ain't nobody pain is like yours
I just know that heaven'll open these doors
And ain't no bright side to losin life but you can view it like this
God's got open hands homey, he in the midst, of good company
Who loves all and hates not one
And one day you gon' be wit your son
I could've rapped about my hard times on this song
But heaven knows I woulda been wrong
I wouldn'ta been right, it wouldn'ta been love
It wouldn'ta been life, it wouldn'ta been us
This can't be life

This can't be life, this can't be love
This can't be right, there's gotta be more, this can't be us
This can't be life, this can't be love
This can't be right, there's gotta be more, this can't be us

This can't be life


Lyrics submitted by oofus

"This Can't Be Life" as written by Kenneth Gamble Shawn Carter

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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This Can't Be Life song meanings
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7 Comments

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  • 0
    General Commenti can't believe i'm the first to comment!! i love this song it's absolutely amazing. the chorus gets me evrytime
    jasssson February 12, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti can't believe i'm the first to comment!! i love this song it's absolutely amazing. the chorus gets me evrytime
    jasssson February 12, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti can't believe i'm the first to comment!! i love this song it's absolutely amazing. the chorus gets me evrytime
    jasssson February 12, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm listening to this song right now. It might be the best song I've ever heard. Listening to Jay-z's songs, he comes off as a person that's remorseful for his past life as a drug dealer, sad for the things that he felt that he had to do.

    His verse is him explaining all the things he went through at that time and how he felt trapped, with the lines-- "My life is gettin too wild
    I need to bring some sort kinda calm to it
    Bout to lose it; voices screamin "Don't do it!"
    It's like '93, '94, bout the year
    that Big and Mag dropped; and "Illmatic" rocked
    outta every rag drop, and the West had it locked
    Everybody doin 'em, I'm still scratchin on the block
    like "Damn; I'ma be a failure"
    Surrounded by thugs, drugs, and drug - paraphenalia"

    The lines after that is him looking at his possible future, as in courts and being another black man locked in the system. His verse is very touching and inspiring to know that he went through all of that, including loosing a baby, and he ended up where he is today.

    Beanie's verse is ok, but I think he went into too many diverted roads, from talking about "how my older sister going to make me tougher" to ranting about people misjudging him from things they thing about him.

    Scarface's verse is probably my favorite verse in music. It's so touching. And, and the end he sums it up by saying that he feels that's what life is about--mourning with others, feeling their happiness. He says that he felt it would have been wrong for him to talk about his problems when a friend of his just lost a child.

    I can't imagine what the guy must have felt when he heard Scarface's verse. I think I'd be crying my eyes out. The lines- "Prayin for young souls to laugh atlife through the stars
    Lovin your kids just like you was ours
    And I'm hurtin for you dog; but ain't nobody pain is like yours
    I just know that heaven'll open these doors
    And ain't no bright side to losin lifel; but you can view it like this
    God's got open hands homey, he in the midst.. of good company
    Who loves all and hates not one
    And one day you gon' be wit your son"


    I agree with jasss. Jay-z did a great job with the chorus. He's right. This can't be life.
    graveyard roseson June 22, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti HAD to comment this again. man it's so powerful like really!! kanye's first beat also i believe if you listen to "last call" off college dropout. anyways probably my favorite rap song of ALL time. and i'm the type of girl who has like a million favorite songs but go damn it just hits so close to home for me and i think everyone. i mean seriously sometimes i just sit and think and i feel so stuck in life. like this cant be life theres GOTTA be more. there just has to be, you know? i think thats definitely how beanie, jay and scarface felt.. STUCK. like this is it?? i dont mean to sound redundant but yeah... if you havnt heard it HEAR IT !!
    jasssson July 10, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentman oh man, this is that medicine when you going through tough times.
    NovaDioron August 01, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI just lost my grandpa yesterday. He raised me and this is rough can't sleep. This song is about peoples strugglin but what makes it authentic and real is the last verse. Scarface made me lose it. I stayed up all nite tryin to forget but, man the last verse dealing wit death kills me. Jigga wit the "streets" being "conduit" is what makes him the best alive.... Sick song but wit and upbeat tempo to remind us that life is a cycle. Up's and downs.
    blue5069on August 05, 2010   Link

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