"Rock & Roll Nigger" as written by and Dante/fernandez Smith....
Baby was a black sheep, baby was a whore
Baby got big and baby get bigger
Baby get something, baby get more
Baby, baby, baby was a rock and roll nigga
Oh, look around you, all around you
Riding on a copper wave
Do you like the world around you?
Are you ready to behave?

Outside of society, they're waitin' for me
Outside of society, that's where I want to be

(Lenny!)

Baby was a black sheep, baby was a whore
You know she got big, well, she's gonna get bigger
Baby got a hand, got a finger on the trigger
Baby, baby, baby is a rock and roll nigga

Outside of society, that's where I want to be
Outside of society, they're waitin' for me

(Those who have suffered, understand suffering
And thereby extend their hand
The storm that brings harm
Also makes fertile
Blessed is the grass
And herb and the true thorn and light)

I was lost in a valley of pleasure
I was lost in the infinite sea
I was lost, and measure for measure
Love spewed from the heart of me
I was lost, and the cost
And the cost didn't matter to me
I was lost, and the cost
Was to be outside society

Jimi Hendrix was a nigga
Jesus Christ and grandma, too
Jackson Pollock was a nigga
Nigga, nigga, nigga, nigga
Nigga, nigga, nigga

Outside of society, they're waitin' for me
Outside of society, if you're looking
That's where you'll find me
Outside of society, they're waitin' for me
Outside of society


Lyrics submitted by maggotbrain

"Rock N Roll Nigger" as written by Patti Lee Smith Leonard J Kaye

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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Rock & Roll Nigger song meanings
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40 Comments

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  • +4
    General CommentI see this song as being partly autobiographical, although Patti Smith isn't black. I think she's using the word 'nigger' as someone who is, as she says, 'outside of society,' and something of a rebel ('In my heart I am an American artist') and she does what she wants - 'I was lost in a valley of pleasure... and the cost didn't matter to me, the cost was to be outside of society.' Then she references Jimi Hendrix, Jesus Christ, Grandma and Jackson Pollock (an artist) and how they were all 'niggers,' or outcasts. I d/k what the Moslem reference is about unless she was Moslem. I know during that time in the 70s that Islam became more widespread, particularly among African Americans so maybe she is talking about a black woman. Brilliant song.
    alracon January 31, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentIt's a powerful image. Those people who think and feel and speak such radical TRUTH -- found through the suffering and the storm -- that they're out of society, so far out that they're labeled nigger!

    Damn right Jesus Christ was a nigger!

    Outside of society, that's where I want to be.

    -Pie
    EatingPieon October 01, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis song fucking rules.
    maggotbrainon September 21, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Commentwho is patti to refer to anybody as a nigger? maybe its time she called herself a nigger.
    sublime_10on April 26, 2019   Link
  • +1
    General Commentwho is patti to refer to anybody as a whore? maybe its time she called herself a whore.
    sublime_10on April 26, 2019   Link
  • +1
    General Commentpatti overdid it with the racist innuendos with this one... : (
    sublime_10on August 20, 2019   Link
  • +1
    General Commentnotice how patti smith calls practically everybody - in the song - a nigger, except for herself.
    sublime_10on August 20, 2019   Link
  • +1
    General Commenteven if patti didn't mean to be racist by calling jimmy hendrix and jackson pollock niggers, she still called an african american and an irish american a nigger.
    sublime_10on August 20, 2019   Link
  • +1
    General Commentit reminds me of john lennon singing ¨woman is the nigger of the world¨. regardless of opinion about what he is saying, he is still calling all ¨non-white¨ women, niggers; including irish women.
    sublime_10on August 20, 2019   Link
  • +1
    General Commentit sounds like patti smith wants the ¨outside of society¨ position of a ¨nigger¨ without actually being one. ps nobody is a nigger or should even be called one, including patti smith the wannabee ¨nigger¨.
    sublime_10on August 20, 2019   Link

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