"Rock & Roll Nigger" as written by and Dante/fernandez Smith....
Baby was a black sheep, baby was a whore
Baby got big and baby get bigger
Baby get something, baby get more
Baby, baby, baby was a rock and roll nigga
Oh, look around you, all around you
Riding on a copper wave
Do you like the world around you?
Are you ready to behave?

Outside of society, they're waitin' for me
Outside of society, that's where I want to be

(Lenny!)

Baby was a black sheep, baby was a whore
You know she got big, well, she's gonna get bigger
Baby got a hand, got a finger on the trigger
Baby, baby, baby is a rock and roll nigga

Outside of society, that's where I want to be
Outside of society, they're waitin' for me

(Those who have suffered, understand suffering
And thereby extend their hand
The storm that brings harm
Also makes fertile
Blessed is the grass
And herb and the true thorn and light)

I was lost in a valley of pleasure
I was lost in the infinite sea
I was lost, and measure for measure
Love spewed from the heart of me
I was lost, and the cost
And the cost didn't matter to me
I was lost, and the cost
Was to be outside society

Jimi Hendrix was a nigga
Jesus Christ and grandma, too
Jackson Pollock was a nigga
Nigga, nigga, nigga, nigga
Nigga, nigga, nigga

Outside of society, they're waitin' for me
Outside of society, if you're looking
That's where you'll find me
Outside of society, they're waitin' for me
Outside of society


Lyrics submitted by maggotbrain

"Rock & Roll Nigger" as written by Patti Lee Smith Leonard J Kaye

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Rock & Roll Nigger song meanings
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27 Comments

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  • +4
    General CommentI see this song as being partly autobiographical, although Patti Smith isn't black. I think she's using the word 'nigger' as someone who is, as she says, 'outside of society,' and something of a rebel ('In my heart I am an American artist') and she does what she wants - 'I was lost in a valley of pleasure... and the cost didn't matter to me, the cost was to be outside of society.' Then she references Jimi Hendrix, Jesus Christ, Grandma and Jackson Pollock (an artist) and how they were all 'niggers,' or outcasts. I d/k what the Moslem reference is about unless she was Moslem. I know during that time in the 70s that Islam became more widespread, particularly among African Americans so maybe she is talking about a black woman. Brilliant song.
    alracon January 31, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentIt's a powerful image. Those people who think and feel and speak such radical TRUTH -- found through the suffering and the storm -- that they're out of society, so far out that they're labeled nigger!

    Damn right Jesus Christ was a nigger!

    Outside of society, that's where I want to be.

    -Pie
    EatingPieon October 01, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis song fucking rules.
    maggotbrainon September 21, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBut, what does it mean? Is she trying to use the word "nigger" as a complement or term of endearment?
    the_dza1on January 29, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentim guessing its positive.
    atthedrive-inon January 29, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is mocking the word nigger and using it as a positive thing because the definition of nigger is nothing to do with being black.It just means anyone that is seen as different or a freak.Patti is praising the fact that people are weird and yes she is using it as a compliment
    crazymoominon February 05, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAwesome song, Marilyn Mansons's cover really kicks ass

    Crazymoomin is right that Patti is making fun of the word as well as attacking society because many dumb fuckheads treat Black people like second hand citizens in this day and age. nigger-symbolism for outside in this song, being different is cool cuz the mainstream is boring
    River Wolfon September 19, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentShe's not making fun of the word nigger, and yes the word does mean BLACK. Trace it's roots if you'd like. The song is about sterotypes, individuality and being crazy.
    geoffsaintgeoffon January 08, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's Muslim, i think

    raddddd song
    DADSonACIDon March 09, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentgeoffsaintgeoff... you must be quite the imbicile, because if you would look in a dictionary the word means LAZY. As in: TOO LAZY TO PICK UP A GODDAMN DICTIONARY!
    some1_named_no_1on April 11, 2006   Link

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