[ Bridge ]
tell the Reverend Harris to pray for me, Lord
I ain't gonna live,
I don't believe I'm gonna live to get much older

[ Verse 1 : Tonedeff]
lights out, so peaceful, stressless
things used to seem so restless
forgive me please, see I need to address this
just haven't been this breathless since I met this
woman who lept into my life when I was reckless
mothered my blessed kid, but was destined to exit early
guess you can say I've been blessed with the best gifts
reminiscing, holding her neckless in my clenched fist huh
it's funny how we move in sudden directions
dedicated my life to the public's protection
never remarried cause love's an investment
besides, I had a baby girl to worry about
that would struggle to blend in
now was I think, a weightlessness is interrupting my senses
a pulsing tension carries my very frame
I rise up in ascension - WAIT!
I try to escape, but I arrive at these gates
I see a figure standing guard who invites me to pray

[ Hook ]
I've tried it all
at the gates of Hell
I'm going to lay
down, down

[ Verse 2 ]
[ Tonedeff ]
I walk towards the figure that's standing, extending its hand
I move to enter past the gates yet I'm met with it's grasp.
[ Deacon ]
Slow down son, there's things to discuss, such as family
but first, let us talk about vanity
[ Tonedeff ]
Vanity?? Man, you're sadly mistaken,
either that, or your sanity's shaken
If you'd examined me patiently,
you'd retract on your statement
I haven't sinned flagrantly, I've acted as faithfully
As any other single father
who raised a baby girl graciously
[ Deacon ]
Nakedly, she was at your door after her mother's death
Ignorant to racial anger and other stress
Later had a mixed baby at her sweet sixteen
How did that fit within your picnic scene?
[ Tonedeff ]
Sometimes it's too late to fix these things
The pristine dream was over,
had to face the fact she split these genes with his sick seed
With skin the darkest pigment seen
And so i kicked and screamed,
until we found the peace that distance brings
[ Deacon ]
a mixed race queen, that was your thoughts bout her mama
up yonder went her soul, your hate growed from ponders
on life, being less trife with a white wife
so any instance of y'all's differences it was slice-slice
[ Tonedeff ]
oh my, it's not her race, my daughter's love flies blind
I couldn't take her making the same mistakes that crushed my life
I'm dumb struck, by these baseless allegations
I've saved too many lives of all creeds
for you to paint me as a racist
I've endangered my own safety to save babies from blazes
black, white, latino, even asian on occasion
[ Deacon ]
but why so?
[ Tonedeff ]
how dare you question my motivation!
[ Deacon ]
no need to second guess, your only aim was to be famous
lord knows, you've left behind scorched souls
black children left chilling, later found burnt whole
so sadly, your glory's to come urgently
sentenced to fight fires for eternity

Lyrics submitted by lostsince1985

The Gates (feat. Tonedeff) song meanings
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  • +1
    Lyric CorrectionThe middle hook is wrong. It's "I've tried it on at the gates of hell", not "I've tried it all at the gates of hell". It's an old traditional American song called "Keep Your Hand on the Plow", perhaps most famously sung by Mahalia Jackson. I cannot tell what version of that song is sampled for this song, but it is not one of the more common versions. I cannot tell with certainty whether it is Mahalia Jackson singing in the sampled version, either, but I think it is her.
    hoopsgzaon January 03, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is fucking epic.
    emerica171on July 21, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentCrazy song
    Awhislyleon September 06, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI feel this song is about a man who is greeted at the gates of heaven and isn't allowed in for his racist beliefs.

    It's more of a metaphor for hypocrisy than anything in my mind.
    Plantmiesteron December 01, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentliterally speaking, it's about a firefighter who had a mixed wife who died, and the firefighter became racist in retrospect, hating the fact that he married into such a hard relationship (himself being white). in the first verse, he's died, and he's ascending towards heaven, and is stopped at the gates by an angel, the angel telling him about his life and how he's not a good person--his racist reactions to his daughter's black boyfriend and her resulting pregnancy... eventually it's revealed that he even leaves black babies in burning fires, purposely not saving them. deacon sends him to an eternity in hell

    jjjonatronon December 10, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentjjjonatron pretty much got it. its a critique on hypocrisy as well as highlighting not just the racism in the protagonist, but that of society as a whole. had society as a whole been more accepting about his "inter-racial" relationship, he may never have developed such antipathy as a result.

    it seems to me, to be a criticism of the cyclical nature of racism in society also in that respect... those who are a victim thereof, then victimise others.
    kayoson January 10, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOverall wonderful song, will never grow sick of it. I really enjoy listening to it in all circumstances, the bass loop is beautiful and the vocal and spanish guitar thrown on top are guaranteed to stimulate. My mate who showed this song to me described what it made him think and the effect it had on his body: "I feel like this big sphere of colored light is growing in my upper chest, obtaining different memories and thoughts i have had since i was a child. As this ball becomes larger and larger my body slowly starts to rise off the ground, flying into the greyish-white sky. As i am about to enter eternal happiness and achievement, I start to think about a mistake i made, something i wish i could change. As this red strip of light is entered in the composition of good things, the ball becomes impossibly weightless and i sink at an unimaginable speed." This song I have found is very mood changing (sometimes for the worst) and almost everyone has something nice to say about it. Something that is hard to do these days, relate lyrical content to sampling. All verses are backed with incredibly powerful imagery, confessions and thoughts about how you act in the first life affects your second life.
    Things like "I walk towards the figure that's standing, extending its hand
    I move to enter past the gates yet I'm met with it's grasp..." impose the imagery of a big, strong, bouncer-like judge-angel jabbing his arm across the entry to heaven as this man tries to fly in. He sits the man down in a cloud chair and questions him with an all-knowing smile. The responses to Deacons lines are so instant and realistic- he gets very defensive when just he word vanity is brought up. Although the man knows that his racist thoughts are wrong, he tries to hide it but gives in and admits his thoughts about his daughter's teenage pregnancy with a black man: "split these genes with his sick seed." Plantmiester, I think you are right in saying that it is a metaphor for all types of hypocrisy.
    Lastly, if the man on the beat on this song, Deacon or Tonedeff ever reads this I invite you to congratulate yourself on creating such a meaningful and beautiful song.
    HelloCon November 17, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI AM THE GOD OF HELLFIRE!!! AND I BRING U.....
    BienPeempininNICEon April 12, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAnyone else notice the symbolism behind the last line from deacon? (Sentenced to fight fires for eternity)

    I JUST realized the relation between him being a fire fighter
    BrokenSmileon October 08, 2011   Link

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