Run the Jewels is definitely my favorite rap group right now. Killer Mike and El-P are killing it and everything they put out is gold, from RTJ I – RTJ IV and even the new Cyberpunk 2077 joint (No Save Point). When this whole pandemic thing is over and they go on tour, I will definitely go see them this time.
When RTJ IV came out earlier this year, I pre-ordered the vinyl version, even though I could just add the album to my Apple Music library as a subscriber (I did that too). I’ve listened to this album (along with the three others) non-stop. I listen while running, while driving, while doing work and pretty much any other time you could listen to music. They even recently performed the latest album in its entirety on HBO/MAX and YouTube (with Ben & Jerry’s as a sponsor).
This learning isn’t meant to be about my love for RTJ. I have something else to talk about related to them and their new album. It’s about a confusing lyric on RTJ IV. In the song “Out of Sight” 2 Chainz claims that he’s “Got a crib in like four states.”
2 Chainz has a home in “like” four states. So many questions come to mind. What exactly does this mean? Is he not sure how many homes he owns? Is he not sure where his homes are located? Is he unsure of how states and state lines work? Is he not sure which houses he owns and which ones he’s renting or borrowing? Is there some other thing I’m missing here?
2 Chainz sounds like his accountant’s worst nightmare come tax season.
INT. – AFTERNOON – ACCOUNTANT’S OFFICE
So, how much did you pay in property taxes this year, Mr. Chainz?
2 Chainz is fine. I don’t know, “like” four houses worth?
Um, ok Mr. 2 Chainz, and where are these properties located?
I don’t know, in like four states?
You are my nightmare…
Let’s analyze this lyric a bit further and try to figure out what it could truly mean.
2 Chainz isn’t quite sure of the number of houses he owns.
I know that 2 Chainz raps a lot about being high (a whole lot) and I’m sure that can take a toll on the memory, but I think you should still be able to identify how many homes you own. If you own a house you have to have stuff in it. You should be able to identify your houses by some of your favorite items. 2 Chainz loves cars. I’m sure he would know that his red Ferrari is in his Florida house while his yellow Lambo is in his California house (just random examples, I don’t know where any of his homes or cars are actually located).
2 Chainz isn’t sure of which states he owns homes in.
2 Chainz may not be sure if he has multiple homes in the same state. It’s possible that he has a North Dakota home and a South Dakota home, but he gets the two confused (maybe even the Carolinas). Maybe he’s not aware that they are two different states. California. Texas. Those are very large states, maybe two houses are in one large state, but very far apart. SoCal and NorCal are two totally different worlds (I’ve never been to any part of California, but I can guess that that’s true).
2 Chainz may be renting out some property.
Most rappers are also entrepreneurs or business people. 2 Chainz may be renting out some homes to friends or strangers. Maybe he’s not sure which properties are owned vs which are rented. He could be in the act of either selling or buying one home. He may be renting one out to a family. (How awesome would it be to have 2 Chainz as your landlord). This is where the “like” comes into play. Saying, “I have like four cribs,” could translate to: I’m getting rid of one very soon or I own four, but one is occupied by a family of four at the moment.
It’s just one house that sits on the border of four states.
This is my final and favorite theory. 2 Chainz may just own one large square mansion, that has four quadrants, each in a different state. If this is the case, I imagine his house sitting on the border of Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico (and yes I had to look up that little four square area on a map because I don’t know my states very well). This theory makes the most sense with the lyric, GOT A CRIB (Just one house) IN LIKE FOUR STATES (‘like’ as in it’s kind of in each state).
These are all reasonable theories to consider. Another one is that he just added the word like because it would sound better than not using it in the song, but it actually has no meaning at all. I like to think it’s one of these theories though. Mainly the last one of the one giant square mansion, or the one where 2 Chainz is someone’s landlord who shows up monthly to collect rent and check on the pool.
Now, I leave you to enjoy this!
Hannibal Burress analyzing 2 Chainz’s music even further than I just did: