"Tennessee" as written by Todd A Thomas and Aerle Taree Jones....
Lord I've really been real stressed
Down and out, losin ground
Although I am black and proud
Problems got me pessimistic
Brothers and sisters keep messin up
Why does it have to be so damn tuff?
I don't know where I can go
To let these ghosts out of my skull
My grandmas past, my brothers gone
I never at once felt so alone
I know you're supposed to be my steering wheel
Not just my spare tire (home)
But lord I ask you (home)
To be my guiding force and truth (home)
For some strange reason it had to be (home)
He guided me to Tennessee (home)

(Chorus) Take me to another place
Take me to another land
Make me forget all that hurts me
Let me understand your plan

Lord it's obvious we got a relationship
Talkin to each other every night and day
Although you're superior over me
We talk to each other in a friendship way
Then outta nowhere you tell me to break
Outta the country and into more country
Past Dyesburg into Ripley
Where the ghost of childhood haunts me
Walk the roads my forefathers walked
Climbed the trees my forefathers hung from
Ask those trees for all their wisdom
They tell me my ears are so young (home)
Go back to from whence you came (home)
My family tree my family name (home)
For some strange reason it had to be (home)
He guided me to Tennessee (home)


Now I see the importance of history
Why people be in the mess that they be
Many journeys to freedom made in vain
By brothers on the corner playin ghetto games
I ask you lord why you enlightened me
Without the enlightment of all my folks
He said cuz I set myself on a quest for truth
And he was there to quench my thirst
But I am still thirsty...
The lord allowed me to drink some more
He said what I am searchin for are
The answers to all which are in front of me
The ultimate truth started to get blurry
For some strange reason it had to be
It was all a dream about Tennessee


Lyrics submitted by Ice

Tennessee song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentI'm amazed (disappointed) that there are no comments. Potentially the most lyrically signficant hip-hop/rap song ever written. "Tennessee" describes one man's reckoning of his past culture into rationale for the present state of African Americans. The struggle continues, but through enlightenment, ambition and pride, truly equal liberties and justice will prevail. Incredible song that is motivational, spiritual and altogether wonderful.
    K2skiyeron February 28, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentActually Speech is from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The song is about "Tennessee" because when his grandmother and his only brother died (within a week of each other) he started thinking about why his family suffered two tragedies so close together and he realized what kind of a mess African Americans are in... and when he took his troubles to God, he saw where his people came from, and where they are, and how far was left to go.

    He uses "Tennessee" because it's a southern state... much of the imagery in the song is based on slavery and the way black people were treated during colonial days... he speaks of Tennessee both as a rural area full of nature (which Arrested Development loves -- nature) and also a place where so many of his people have suffered and died ("climb the trees my forefathers hung from,") and so the movement of his people out of the rural South into the ghettos of the urban North is not, he decides, much of a step up in the world. And he thinks the problem now is that they're too far from Nature... that nature holds the answers to peace and happiness. So on the one hand. the South was a place of suffering but it is also a place of wonders that he feels his people need to embrace...

    "Now I see the importance of history / why my people be in the mess that we be / many journeys to freedom made in vain / my brothers on the corner playing ghetto games..."
    Keyser Sushion October 18, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentMany have hit the nail on the head regarding the song's meaning. It is pretty self-explanatory. It discusses discovery, finding who you are as a person, and where you are headed in life by searching where you come from. It pretty much highlights the age old saying of "if you seek, you shall find" and "if you ask, it will be given to you." Though the song has a strong religious voice, it can be applied to African-American culture and society in general and how people have forgotten who they are, where they are from, and what their ancestors have been through...so they foolishly stumble backwards repeating history. It certainly captures the point that if you don't know your history you are doomed to repeat it...so get educated...ask questions...and look for the answers!
    khanman03on April 18, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI totally agree with 'K2skiyer'... this is the type of song that needs to be discussed.

    Even though Arrested Development are comprised of African-Americans, I believe this song can apply to anyone of any culture/heritage.

    It's about feeling alone when everyone around you is so similar on the surface... yet so different on the inside. On the surface everyone may seem similar, but an examination quickly shows the differences between people and their spiritual beliefs, or lack there of.

    Like all great things in life, nothing comes easy. The writer actually tries to development a relationship with God... that's why he's been enlightened (unlike other people around him that do not try). And with any project that gives positive results, he/she now has a true interest in the subject ("but I am still thirsty").

    It's our responsibility as humans to share this belief and interest (God) to other people throughout the world. Tennessee, in this instance, is the calm place in your life when you've given yourself up to Jesus Christ... or "home" as the chorus refers to it.
    AquaEkoon March 07, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGreat, great song. If only more rap songs had depth like this song.
    Abq_physon March 14, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song was the reason I bought "3 Years, 5 Months, and 2 Days in the Life Of..." and it's the reason I kept buying all of AD's music.

    Speech is a great lyricist... his songs have unique mix of spirituality, militant preaching, and social conscience. He's an intellectual. AD has always been vastly underrated and underappreciated.

    Hell, I'm a white guy and I make no apologies for it... but I'm also a huge fan of AD. I just shelled out nearly $70 for two new AD albums, "Among the Trees" and "Since the Last Time..." from Amazon.com... import albums released on indie labels... but the good news is, AD is back.

    Southern Fried Funk once again!
    Keyser Sushion September 11, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYay first girl to comment!
    I love this song, it's on my iPod. I'm white but this song touches me because he communicates his pain so well that I can feel it.
    Although I fail to see what Tennessee has to do with it, unless Tennessee is the place he grew up in or the other land he wants to go to.
    she_speakson October 04, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWow. I'm amazed at the lack of comments.
    kmk_natashaon November 24, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Outta the country and into more country
    Past Dyesburg into Ripley"

    Its not Dyesburg... its DYERSBURG.

    I live in this town... and I work in Ripley.
    We love this song around here.
    Even though it kinda paints us in a negative light... sort of.
    halogenkarmaon December 29, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis is a very chill song - i like it a lot .. and i like conscious/thought-provoking rap .. tight chorus too
    lyrical_butterflyon July 27, 2008   Link

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