Gold Coast slave ship bound for cotton fields
Sold in the market down in New Orleans
Scarred old slaver knows he's doin' all right
Hear him whip the women just around midnight

Brown Sugar, how come you taste so good
Brown Sugar, just like a young girl should

Drums beatin' cold, English blood runs hot
Lady of the house wonderin' when it's gonna stop
House boy knows that he's doin' all right
You should have heard him just around midnight

Brown Sugar, how come you taste so good
Brown Sugar, just like a young girl should

Brown Sugar, how come you dance so good
Brown Sugar, just like a black girl should

I bet your mama was a Cajun Queen,
And all her boyfriends were sweet sixteen
I'm no school boy but I know what I like
You should have heard them just around midnight

Brown Sugar, how come you taste so good
Brown Sugar, just like a black girl should

I said, yeah, yeah, yeah, wooo!!
How come you, how come you dance so good
Yeah, yeah, yeah, wooo!!
Just like a, just like a black girl should
Yeah, yeah, yeah, wooo!!



Lyrics submitted by oofus, edited by aiiiiee

"Brown Sugar" as written by Mick Jagger, Keith Richards

Lyrics © ABKCO Music Inc.

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Brown Sugar song meanings
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63 Comments

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  • +2
    General Comment:It seems kinda silly to me that some of the people posting here are wondering if it's about slavery or at least a metaphor using slavery considering the first lines are "Gold coast slave ship bound for cotton fields, sold in a market down in New Orleans."

    Anyway, it's hard to know exactly what Mick is getting at. I'm willing to bet he just got a kick out of writing some bizarre lyrics, here. I mean, ok...we've got a slave ship arriving, slaves being sold, white guy having sex with black slaves, his wife being pissed about it but saying nothing, the "house boy" (black servant) who's also apparently banging somebody in the house, and then at the end, Mick in modern times saying something to the effect of "hey, I like black girls!"

    I think the point is that people have always liked black/white sex. Whether it was the slaver presumably forcing it, or the "house boy" who was banging the housewife voluntarily, or Mick in 1970 liking black women.

    The heroin stuff...I dunno about all that. If Mick said heroin had something to do with it, it's probably because he was thinking about things that are somewhat forbidden that people like, but have an ugly side (addiction/rape).
    z4ckm0rrison November 07, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General Comment:Man, you guys are dense!

    “Gold coast Slave ship”, “Market down in New Orleans”, “Scarred Slave trader is doing all right, you can hear him whip the women, just around midnight”.

    Aint it pretty obvious.

    Probably the Stones most controversial song. Especially for release in America.


    It’s about the practice of slave-rape, that happened a lot in the deep south in America, right up until the 1960s.

    Basically, white slave owners, who raped the young black women they owned.


    The first verse refers to a slave owner raping/abusing a young black women he owns.

    The second verse refers to the white house boy, in an English stately home, getting his sexual gratification from the slaves.

    The last verse is Jagger himself saying, he’s no saint himself, and gets the same gratification from black women, as a white man. Of course, in loving relationships, but as I said, it’s a very very controversial song.

    Basically about white men’s terrible history with black women


    ceej1979on December 03, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:I think killingFloor makes a good point...it reminds me of some other Stones songs like "Jumpin' Jack Flash" or "Rocks Off" which may also be mainly drug-inspired, but are too ambiguous to tell for certain. Also...for what it's worth, I remember reading Entertainment Weekly describe the song as a "paradoxical bondage fantasy", which I can see too.
    lilavation October 13, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:Another point--Don't rely too much on the book "Up and Down With the Rolling Stones". That book is full of falsehoods. For example-Sanchez wrote that Keith Richards and others were lectured and warned by the pastor at Brian Jones' funeral. Keith Richards did not attend Brian Jones' funeral. Mick Jagger was seeing a black girl named Marsha Hunt at the time this song was written. She was probably the main inspiration.
    JumpyJackon May 28, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:"If you'd rather live somewhere like Cuba or North Korea or ----Hell-----please feel free to relocate"

    - Cuba's poor, North Koreas a scary scary place and Hells climate doesnt suit me. Come to think of it I wouldn't wanna live in America either, but thats mainly cos it wouldnt be different enough from Britain to justify moving. To suggest that if you think conditions in a country are unfair the correct responce is to leave rather than sort them out is rediculous. Remember, questioning your government is patriotic.

    That aside, I pretty much agree with your opinion on this song. Deliberate double entendre, but the main focus of the song is on the rape of the slave girl.
    Comrade_Liaron June 07, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:Good grief, there I go again. I shouldn't have put it that way. Sorry about that. I just disagree. I think Jagger is a better lyricist than you give him credit for.
    JumpyJackon August 30, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:Quite simply, this song plays on the white stereotype of the sexual prowess of the black race. The first verse is rather raunchy, to be sure. The second verse's "houseboy" is probably a black servent getting it on with the lady of the house. The third verse is more about Mick himself who is no schoolboy but knows what he likes. I don't know how racist or sexist it is, but I had a black girlfriend once who loved to listen to this song when we were getting it on. A sexy song indeed, always reminds me of her. "Is it true what they say about you people? oh, it's true, it's true, it's true!"
    wildpoeton August 19, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:Seriously? Heroin? Oral sex? The song is about sblack girls. If it's about heroin, what's up with the constant references to African slavery? You could stretch it and say that drug addiction is slavery. But what's the 'house boy' reference? What's with the 'cotton fields'?

    You can dig a mile deep into the song and grasp some outlandish answer if it pleases you to think yourself a musical intepreter, but the meaning of the song is pretty evident. Mick Jagger isn't an extremely deep guy - he's a musical legend and a great frontman, but he's far from a philosopher.

    All that aside, I fucking love this song. It's got a kickin' beat, great guitar pieces, a saxophone solo (wtf?) and awesome lyrics about one of the greatest things in the world: black girls. (I love me some brown sugar!)
    Shinsenon June 19, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:I love the Stones,but I've always thought this song was alittle too "rapey" for me.
    redshiftdazzleron December 10, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:I have really enjoyed all the comments. Generally I think it is about the horrible things that happened to the slaves by the "owners" if you will. like many songs there can be more than one level, hence many have mentioned the heroine/brown sugar. Great song, bit unsettling tale it does tell. With all the 'censor police" out there these days they seem to be thankfully skipping this classic due to no swear words. Great opinions all around.
    roneastmanon June 10, 2013   Link

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