"Rock & Roll Nigger" as written by and Dante/fernandez Smith....
Crazy and sleepy
Comanche lies beneath this netting of the skin
I wake up. I am lying peacefully I am lying peacefully and my knees are open to the sun
I desire him, and he is absolutely ready to seize me
In heart I am a Moslem; in heart I am an American
In heart I am Moslem, in heart I'm an American
Artist, and I have no guilt. I seek pleasure
I seek the nerves under your skin
The narrow archway; the layers; the scroll of ancient lettuce
We worship the flaw, the belly
The belly, the mole on the belly of an exquisite whore
He spared the child and spoiled the rod
I have not sold myself to God.

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 nigger.
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.


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 nigger.

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 nigger.
Jesus Christ and Grandma, too.
Jackson Pollock was a nigger.
Nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger,
Nigger, nigger, nigger.

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. (Repeat)

Lyrics submitted by maggotbrain

"Rock & Roll Nigger" as written by Patti 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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  • +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.

    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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