[Verse 1]
Back when I first grabbed that pen
I told myself I was gone win
And I ain't know when
But it was gone end
Up happening, I want in
So you can take your top 5 list
Dead or alive and put me after Em

I'm a fucking genius
Gripping my fucking penis living this life
You can't tell me nothing
Still ain't really got no money, fucking right
I'm all about that real, about that real
This ain't no motion picture
I tell you how that feel, how that feel
Even when the odds against you
They wanna see me wearing Polo drawers
Put 2 chains on and that ain't wrong
But that ain't me
I go too damn hard
I don't need clothes or jewelry to stand out
Black lip nigga with his hair wild
Too damn proud
Been killing this since Cam made "Oh Boy"
Oh boy, I'm the man now
TDE, put the money in my hand ain't shit free
This business is quick sand and I won't sink
Put the pistol in my hand and I won't think
Rest in peace, you just made room for the next to be
I never been afraid to say what I wanna say when I wanna say it, okay then
Further more we do this for y'all
Rap is stressin' but it pays great
That is until you lose appeal
And your release date gets date-raped
Stay safe, hold your head
I got two fish and a loaf of bread
Feed the people, food for thought
Because we are equal, who'd have thought

[Chorus]
They wanna share my light

You can have all my shine, I'll give you the light

[Verse 2: Ab-Soul]
I used to wanna rap like Jay-Z
Now I feel I could run laps around Jay-Z
Nas ain't seen nothing this Nasty
B.I.G. & Pac got it coming when I pass too
You got the mic, I ain't the one you wanna pass to
My niggas say my new shit past due
I paid dues, even got that shit tattooed
HiiiPoWeR on another plateau
I know you know we need a few plaques too
The brand new niggas with a attitude
Poppin' Compton or Timbuktu
I might even sell my new shit for 10 bucks too
Too ill when I jot these words
True eel when I shock the world
I know life's a bitch
When you know life's a bitch and that's not your girl
Cold shit, I'm hot though
Like coal get, Ab-Soul
This is a shift in paradigm
I remember when I couldn't spare a dime
Now I step in with a pair of dimes
On P's, y'all know me
Flow like water, Admiralty
The best author ever to breathe
And as we proceed to follow these dreams
I ain't losing no sleep
No, no on them NoDoz
Just know "No" if it's no dough
So high but I'm solo
Two cups and I sip slow
Taking my time
We don't just shine, we illuminate the whole show
Now let's go

[Chorus]
They wanna share my light

You can have all my shine, I'll give you the light

[Verse 3: Kendrick Lamar]
Time and time I drop line for line
But only time will tell
If I ever go Columbine
And cop 30 nines and cock back and kill
See the truth is
They wanna know how close me and Dre and Snoop is
Or how the shoe fits when they choose this to beat 2Pac
But truth I give two shits 'bout
Expectations or critics hating
Shit, I just put moms on vacation
Bitch you never know my new location, it's across nations
Court cases get thrown out
So tell the motherfucking King dethrone now
I am ruler, I am highness
The Prince Zamunda
I am the shit like what the prune does
Black on black tint like Kinta Kunta
Black is back bitch I'm kin to coup de
Black on black crime resent the shooter
Blat, blat, blat, I intend to mute you
Racks on racks, I don't rap on tracks
Without my A-game, so please don't ask
Me about no pressure
Bitch with the grip of my fingertip
I can hold this coast together

[Chorus]
They wanna share my light

You can have all my shine, I'll give you the light


Lyrics submitted by JamzXIV

ILLuminate song meanings
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  • +1
    My InterpretationFirst of all, I chose the song "Illuminate" by Ab-Soul because previously, before I studied its lyrics, I would understand something new about a bar or two that I didn't really catch on to the first time. It's by a creative artists that has a lot of other works that I enjoy listening to as well. This song features a more popular artist, Kendrick Lamar, and really combines everything together. So Ab-Soul's first verse starts out with a mysterious vibe and these lyrics:
    "Back when I first grabbed that pen
    I told myself I was gon' win
    And I ain't know when
    But it was gon' end
    Up happening, I want in
    So you can take your top 5 list
    Dead or alive and put me after Em".
    In a more simplistic viewpoint, he's saying that when he first started rapping, he swore he’d make it famous, and knew it was going down. Although his rhyme scheme is odd, he makes it work. There's some word play involved, he said he "wants in" and "in" can also be the letter "N". And as he refers to being one of the greatest of all time, he brings up Eminem and uses his nickname "em" which can also be the letter "M". The next lines start where the best picks up:
    "I'm a f****** genius
    Gripping my f****** p****, living this life
    You can't tell me nothing
    Still ain't really got no money f****** right
    I'm all about that real, about that reel
    This ain't no motion picture
    I tell you how that feel, how that feel
    Even when the odds against you".
    In the first pretty vulgar section, Ab-soul makes a contradictory statement, saying that he is a genius doing something that a genius probably wouldn't do. Next lines are a reference to Kanye’s hit from “Graduation”, “Can’t Tell Me Nothing". He often respects rappers and gives props to them subliminally through his songs, which is something I find interesting. Next line is a continuation of the Kanye reference. In the song, "Can't tell me Nothing", Kanye's lyrics say "wait till I get my money right" and "you can't tell me nothing". Next we have wordplay on the word real/reel; he’s living a real life, not a fairy tale movie plot. Reeling is also what you do in fishing to catch fish. DreamWorks Animation is a film company whose logo is a fisherman on the moon reeling in something, which ties in with both a film reel and the action itself. Also, since they handle animation their characters aren’t real, unlike Soulo. In the last lines of this section he can tell you how it feels to be the underdog; he even has a song about it. Ab-Soul also uses wordplay to create a juxtaposition with the words “Odd” and “Even”. These are the next lines:
    "They wanna see me wearing Polo drawers
    Put 2 chains on and that ain't wrong
    But that ain't me, I go too damn hard
    I don't need clothes or jewelry to stand out
    Black lip n**** with his hair wild
    Too damn proud
    Been killing this since Cam made Oh Boy
    Oh boy, I'm the man now".
    Some people would love to see Ab-Soul take a similar route as 2 Chainz and tailor himself to that image to increase his sales. He won’t knock that (he’s actually a 2 Chainz fan), but taking the materialistic, Polo-filled route for instance isn’t his cup of tea. He’s fine being himself, and believes that will make him stand-out. In the last two lines here he tells us that he’s literally been rapping since Cam'ron released his famous song back in 2002. As Soul loves to do when referring to other songs, he interpolates the hook, which continues onto the next line. It’s also worth noting the “killing” and “Cam” wordplay, as Cam'Ron is commonly referred to as Killa Cam. Also see the “oh boy, i’m the man now” wordplay with boy/man, how he has now become a man since back then when he was a boy, and now he is also THE man.
    "TDE, put the money in my hand ain't sh** free
    This business is quicksand and I won't sink
    Put the pistol in my hand and I won't think
    Rest in peace, you just made room for the next to be
    I never been afraid to say what I wanna say when I wanna say it, okay then"
    First of all, Top Dawg Entertainment is his label that has other rappers like Kendrick and schoolboy Q as well. Next he basically says he's not doing another show unless he's getting paid cash. In the music industry you can quickly lose popularity and become irrelevant. Similar to sinking in quicksand, it’s a difficult thing to escape. The pistol reference is him basically saying that if you give him the chance to kill competition and he won’t hesitate to make room for newer rappers to come up, leaving his other competition to rest in peace (also can be heard as “piece,” slang for a gun). In the last lines of this section, Ab-soul never bites his tongue. Back in 2001, in the track Renegade by Eminem and Jay-Z, both part of the "top 5 dead or alive", the hook was: "Never been afraid to say what’s on my mind at any given time of day, cause I’m a renegade!" Ab-Soul is a renegade, just like them. This earns him a spot just after Em in the list.
    "Further more we do this for y'all
    Rap is stressin' but it pays great
    That is until you lose appeal
    And your release date gets date raped
    Stay safe, hold your head
    I got two fish and a loaf of bread
    Feed the people, food for thought
    Because we are equal, who'd have thought"
    To end the verse, Soulo's word play is very creative. He does it for the fans, next giving a shout out to Drake he uses a same bar as he used in his song "Free Spirit". It’s all good until you fall out of fashion and your album release date gets pushed back (which Ab compares to date rape). Labels often imprison artists like this, and metaphorically speaking play judge; their artist’s work ends up like a prisoner who appeals to be released but is denied. Note the appeal/a pill wordplay as well- pills are used to spike drinks which can lead to date rape. Next is an interesting reference, a reference to the Biblical story of Jesus feeding a whole crowd of 5,000 with just 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread. It’s interesting that he refers to this as on the album cover, he changed the Jesus fish to contain his rap moniker instead. The people are hungry for what Ab has to say.
    "They wanna share my light [x8]
    You can have all my shine, I'll give you the light [x2]"
    This is the chorus. As seen in part on Kendrick Lamar’s A.D.H.D:
    "You can have all my shine
    I’ll give you the light"
    Ab-Soul’s fans want to share in his knowledge, which Kendrick confirms he has no problems with. Sharing is part of HiiiPoWeR’s search for knowledge. This could also refer to other artists wanting to get put on by Ab-Soul.The song title and reference of light is one of many on Ab-Soul’s Control System. As he said in an interview with Complex Magazine:
    “There’s a lot of irony [that I make songs like ‘Illuminate’] but I’m sensitive to light. I probably have a desire to be able to look directly into the light because I can’t. And then you think about the light and being enlightened, and what that means. I definitely like to do that. So just making all the connections with different words and where you want to see yourself. You’ve got to see it first."
    The irony here is that he, who can only see so much literal light, is fact the most “enlightened” or illuminated, and is being asked to share his light.
    The next verse starts with:
    "I used to wanna rap like Jay-Z
    Now I feel like I'm runnin' laps around Jay-Z
    Nas ain't seen nothing this nasty
    B.I.G. & Pac got it coming when I pass too
    You got the mic, I ain't the one you wanna pass to
    My n***** say my new sh** past due
    I paid dues, even got that shit tattooed
    HiiiPoWeR on another plateau
    I know you know we need a few plaques too"
    So this section of lines is so intricate that it might take a few overviews to really grasp the full meaning. A reference to Jay-Z’s famous line from Moment of Clarity said:
    "Truthfully I wanna rhyme like Common Sense
    But I did 5 mill' — I ain’t been rhyming like Common since"
    These rappers (along with Eminem from the first verse) are often viewed as Hip-Hop’s top five of all time. Ab feels he could be in that league too and will even try to battle The Notorious B.I.G and 2Pac for glory in the afterlife, or at least as holograms. Also, at his best Nasir was called Nasty Nas, and Ab possibly refers to One Mic. Much like what Nas described in that song, one mic is all Soulo needs to kill MC’s. He's paid dues, literally. A tour he went on in 2011 named the "Paid Dues" tour hosted numerous famous artists. He tattooed paid dues 2011 on his arm. TDE HiiiPoWeR movement (see Kendrick Lamar’s song), which is spearheaded by Black Hippy, is on another level from everyone else and they deserve an award for what they’re doing. Of course this is a level above, seeing as plateaus are highlands.
    "The brand new n***** with a attitude
    Poppin' Compton or Timbuktu
    I might even sell my new sh** for 10 bucks too
    Too Ill when I jot these words
    True eel when I shock the world
    I know life's a b****
    When you know life's a b**** and that's not your girl
    Cold sh**, I'm hot though
    Like Coal get, Ab-Soul"
    He's referring him and his crew to the old school Compton bangers, NWA, as the new version of them. Timbuktu is an ancient city in Mali,Africa. Also a reference to his previous HiiiPower line. Timbuktu held all the great knowledge in the world that every region came to learn from. Then Europeans sailed over to destroy this knowledge, so Ab is keeping it going. He says he would even sell his music for a mere ten dollars, supporting his lines in the previous verse that his music is food for thought and he wants to feed it to people (i.e. he writes deep music, not for money, but, like Timbuktu city, to spread knowledge). Referring to eels, since they can release a shock. Soul is also creates some wordplay that began in the previous line “too ill" to "true eel.” He means that life is a woman, and she’s not your girlfriend. Life is difficult sometimes. Cold is used to describe the line before, “when you know life’s a b**** and that’s not your girl”. He then uses the contradiction of hot and cold by saying “I’m hot though”. He uses a simile that says how he's hot like coal gets.
    "This is a shift in paradigm
    I remember when I couldn't spare a dime
    Now I step in with a pair of dimes
    On P's, y'all know me
    Flow like water, admiralty
    The best author ever to breath
    And as we proceed to follow these dreams
    I ain't losing no sleep
    No, no at them no doors
    Just know "No" if it's no dough
    So high but I'm Soulo
    Two cups and I sip slow
    Taking my time
    We don't just shine, we illuminate the whole show
    Now let's go"
    This is Ab's ending to his last verse on the track. Incredible wordplay and rhyme scheme with “paradigm / spare a dime / pair of dimes!” A paradigm shift, according to The Structure of Scientific Revelations, is a change of one way of thinking to another where things not only become different, but better. Things are changing in Soulo’s life: he used to be broke and now he has multiple women at once, or he could possibly have two dimebags (a tiny sack of weed the size of a dime) at his disposal. He could even have 20 cents in his pocket. — “dimes” in the third line has multiple meanings. Assuming that he probably still had weed before he blew up in rap, he definitely is able to afford much higher quality stuff now. An admiral is the highest ranking naval officer, Ab-Soul is on top of the flow. Also, his zodiac sign is Pisces, making his main element water. So this line gives us some more continuity with the whole astrology theme. I mean, this is Ab-Soul after all. Continuing with references to the Jiggaman and other greats, Soulo draws this line from Dead Presidents II. TDE and its affiliates have been shining through their quality, with Ab-Soul using Control System in part to enlighten fans about the ills of society and the government, as well as oft-neglected concepts and ideologies, such as The Ten Sephirot which grace the album’s cover and the pineal gland’s exotic functions. However, unlike Jigga who bought up jewelery thanks his music, Soul just wants to shine through his wisdom and impact. In reference to Ab-Soul’s knowledge of the Third Eye, it’s also known that the Third Eye’s element is light, and when one opens awakens this chakra, he or she is known to see God and illuminates higher knowledge to everyone around them. So for those who have been enlightened and awakened the Third Eye, they are contributing to the whole universe or “show” in this case.
    jordan71on May 28, 2015   Link

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