Taken from his debut album Food & Liqour, Lupe Fiasco spins a lyrical tale about a hustler who is shot to death but miraculously comes back to life...
He came back in the same suit that he was buried in
Similar to the one his grandfather was married in
Yes, he was still fresh to death
Bling, two earrings, a chain laying on his chest
He still had it 'cause they couldn't find it
And the bullets from his enemies sat like two inches behind it
Smell the Hennessey from where his niggas got reminded
And poured out liquor in his memory, he didn't mind it
But, he couldn't sip it fast enough
So the liquor was just filling the casket up
Floating down by his feet was the letter from his sister
Second-grade handwriting, simply read, I miss you
Suit-jacket pocket held his baby daughter's picture
Right next to it, one of his men stuck a swisha
He had a notion as he lay there soaking
He saw that the latch was broken, he kicked his casket open and he

This life goes passing you by
It might go fast if you lie
You're born, you live, then you die
Oh, oh, oh, oh
If life goes passing you by
Don't cry
If you're breaking the rules
Making your moves
Paying your dues
Chasing the cool

Not at all nervous as he dug to the surface
Tarnished gold chain is what he loosened up the earth with
He used his mouth as a shovel to try and hollow it
And when he couldn't dirt-spit, he swallowed it, working like a
Hmmm reverse archaeologist
Except, his buried treasure was sunshine
So when some shined through a hole that he had drove
It reflected off the gold and almost made son blind
He grabbed onto some grass and climbed
Pulled himself up out of his own grave, and looked at the time
On the watch that had stopped six months after the shots
That had got him in the box, ringing Henney out his socks
He figured it was hours, because he wasn't older
Used some flowers to brush the dirt up off his shoulder, so
With a right hand that was all bones
And no reason to stay, he decided to walk home, so he?

This life goes passing you by
It might go fast if you lie
You're born, you live, then you die
Oh, oh, oh, oh
If life goes passing you by
Don't cry
If you're breaking the rules
Making your moves
Paying your dues
Chasing the cool

He begged for some change, to get him on the train
Damn that nigga stank, is what they complained
Tried to light the blunt but it burst into flames
Caught the reflection in the window of what he became
A long look, was he shook, was it the shame?
Matter of fact, the only thing on his brain was brains
Yeah, and getting back in his lane, doing his thing
First he had to find something to sling
Next stop was his block, it had the same cops
He walked right past the same spot where he was shot
Shocked, and some little niggas tried to sell him rocks
It just felt weird, being on the opposite
They figured that he wasn't from there so they pulled out
And robbed him with the same gun they shot him with
They put it to his head and said, you're scared, ain't cha?
He said, "hustler for death, no heaven for a gangsta", and

This life goes passing you by
It might go fast if you lie
You're born, you live, then you die
Oh, oh, oh, oh
If life goes passing you by
Don't cry
If you're breaking the rules
Making your moves
Paying your dues
Chasing the cool


Lyrics submitted by vladimir_minch

"The Cool" as written by Dexter G Wansel Lupe Fiasco

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group

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The Cool song meanings
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28 Comments

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  • +1
    My InterpretationI think this song is talking about how in the pursuit of being considered "cool", sometimes people just blindly follow the crowd without thinking for themselves. Just like a zombie.
    Btrstarwolfon March 31, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commentlyrical delivery of a master! A song every hustler should hear. kanye killed the track, the hottest on the new album. Lupe's killin the game!
    walt2891on September 24, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe flow is too sick with it!
    chrisbcream26on October 13, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentso what's this song about? from what I make of it, a man was shot to death(?) and buried. their friends gave him a blunt and poured liquor over him. later, hours(?) pass and he wakes up, is reminded of his family and decides to break out. he digs his way up out of the ground. he hits up a train station but sees his reflection and gets shook. he then hits up his old neighboor and notices the cops are the same so not much time has passed, some little kid tries to sell him coke, and the guy being from this town usually selling rocks to people thought it was weird. apparently, the kids at the neighborhood didnt recognize him and decided to rob him. when the kid asked if he was scared he said there's no heaven for a gangsta.
    it's still pretty ambigious.
    narfoon October 29, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentJust a correction on "was he shook, was it the shame?" should be "wasn't shooked, wasn't ashamed"

    A gangsta dies 6 months ago. Then this story begins. After 6 months of decay this gangsta somehow gains consciousness. He digs his way up through the earth, and he thinks only a few hours passed by. Then he goes to a train station to go to his home, but people are repulsed by his decayed body. Then he sparks up a blunt, the fire shows his reflection, and he sees his corpse self and brains but was somehow unaffected by his appearance and goes to his hometown to sell some crack, but some kids tried to sell him crack instead. Not noticing who it was, the same guy who killed him held a gun to his head and asked him "you scared, ain't ya", and the corpse replied "hustler for death, no heaven for a gansta" which I think means where he went wasn't heaven so when he died he had nowhere to go. If someone could clarify that would be great. Also, what exactly is "the cool"? is it chasing the goal of what is to be considered "cool" among peers? helluva song though.
    yigon October 29, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAgree with all of those also, but also through various details in the song, it's as if the dude accepts everything that he is, and where he will go when he dies, thus why even though he just came from his own grave, he does everything the same over again.
    PistolCityVAon December 15, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYeah, I agree with everyone else on the literal meaning of the song, which is a gangsta comes back to life (more or less, maybe he's like a zombie or something???) and digs himself out of his grave etc., but I think theres a metaphorical meaning as well.

    I think its actually about getting trapped in a cycle and just repeating the same mistakes over again. He'd been given a second chance to do things differently, but had just automatically gone back to what he knew, without really thinking about it, and had ended up with the same result (he died again at the end of the song).

    In fact if you want to get really specific, it might be about someone getting out of prison (getting out of his grave), and even though he was out now, he wasn't really the same cos prison had changed or affected him (seeing his reflection and how he'd decayed), but instead of trying to change, he went back to his old ways and ended up going back to prison (dieing again).

    I'm not real sure about the being in prison stuff cos I just thought of it as I was typing, but it kinda makes sense, though I think the broader idea (getting trapped in a cycle and just doing the same shit over and over again like so many poor people in the ghettos and trailer parks and what not, and they never really do anything different or try to change, and so everything just ends up the same way) works just as well.
    big coopson February 24, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love how Lupe is simply observing and scrutinizing his surroundings as any growing man would do yet makes it so poetic.
    Adored_Pumpkinheadon May 02, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentnote 'hustler for death' instead of 'hustler for life'
    Lm_wfcon June 08, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThere are two sides to this coin:

    1) The literal story of the guy coming back from his grave. He obviously never lived a decent life, ignored his family (the note from his sister) and was involved in drug dealing.

    2) The moral side - The chorus gives it away on this one away - "Life goes passing you by" and "chasing the cool".
    Life is short and you should make what you can of it. If you keep trying to chase the cool (image) then chances are you end up like the guy in the story. Not satisfied with where you are, not living a great life.
    Keep in mind that lupe is also religous. When the guy says "no heaven for a gangsta" it might be lupe's way of saying bad deeds in this life dont allow satisfaction in the next i.e. you're doomed to repeat your mistakes and relive your failures (possible reference to reincarnation?) However, that depends on your personal view, as in whether you're religous or not, but Lupe definitely is.
    lefthandpisceson July 27, 2007   Link

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