Here's an in-depth analysis of "Victory Lap" by Macklemore.
"And they say, don't forget where you come from
Don't die, holding on to your words
Cause you know, that you got a whole world to change
But understand who you gotta change first"
You can't forget about the place where you grow up. Your life starts there and the people you meet there shape your future. You should always say what ever is on your mind and what you want to say. If you don't say it, you'll always wish you did and will "die holding on to your words." Speak your mind, express yourself, and accept who you are. The last two lines mean that you have the power to change the world, but you need to start smaller. You can't change the world unless you are comfortable with yourself. Once you accept who you are, you can start small and eventually have a big impact on the world. Everything you do in life comes down to yourself and your willpower, dedication, and attitude.
"And I was like fuck that, humility bust back
I remember the days with nothing but a bus pass
I was just a little Shawty just hoping that I could find a bum
to buy a forty for me and have enough for a bud sack"
Mack is saying that he didn't want to start small. He wanted to change the world with his music immediately. I think he's saying when he was starting to rap, he didn't know where to start. As a result, things didn't go his way (he had to move back in with his parents and struggled with addiction) and he was humiliated with himself. He remembers when he was young and stupid and wanted to drink and smoke away his problems instead of facing them.
"Yeah, and I dance in that instrumental
Unorthodox like Basqiat with a pencil
Give me a microphone and a beat box
I can vent to... music the only medium that I can find myself through"
Then he really came into his own with his music. He didn't conform to society's definition of rap music, and innovated rap music. He compares himself to Basqiat, a famous artist who was very unique. Macklemore says that music was how he expressed himself. It was what he needed to do to be himself. Music was how he found himself.
"Recluse, sipping on some lean, I would let loose
Looking in the mirror, watching myself lose
Cleaned up in '08, I got a job making barely minimum wage
To get to that page."
He's talking about his struggle with codeine or lean and how it was ruining his life. He watched as his actions were slowly killing himself and destroying his life. Then he realized how wrong his actions were and became sober in 2008 and got himself a job. He was working hard to make his dreams a reality and get on the front page of magazines. What you get out of life is the effort you put into it. The harder you work, the higher your chances of success. He worked hard and eventually his dreams started to come true as he gained immense popularity and made it on XXL Magazine's Freshmen list in 2012.
"Hit the road with RL; performing in front of eight
People, and that shit will check your ego
I better run that time on watching our EP
go from nothing to getting us booked around the country"
He toured with Ryan Lewis but the crowds were very small and he remained undiscovered. Doing these small shows made him question himself and wonder if he was as good at rapping as he thought he was. This questioning stopped, however, when a short while later he released an EP with Ryan Lewis called the VS. EP, and they toured the US and Europe together. Macklemore's years of hard work were starting to pay off in 2010 and 2011 with all of these shows. He had risen from the underground to great success.
"I know no limits, life can change in an instant
Eight people turn into sold out shows in a minute
Now I'm watching my pops in the back row grinning
With his glass up to my mom, toasting his Guiness"
Life can change in the blink of an eye. The first two lines emphasize how he came from nothing and gave it his all and is now getting lots of well-deserved recognition. He talks about his dad watching his shows in the back. His father is happy for him and proud of him for his success.
No obstacle in your life is too big to overcome. When you put your mind to it, you can do anything. The only person who can limit your success in life is yourself.
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