Whateva Will Be
A Tribe Called Quest Lyrics


Jump to: Overall Meaning ↴  Line by Line Meaning ↴

Say am I 'posed to be dead or doin' life in prison?
Just another dummy caught up in the system
Unruly hooligan who belongs in Spofford
Verse gettin' that degree at Stanford or Harvard
Threatened by my work ethic, the way I speak, yo
Should I be mentally weak, verse being Malik
Yo, should I be trapped in the trap? Would you prefer that?
Fourth grade reading level but he knows how to rap
Are you amused by our struggles?
The English that's broken?
The weed that I'm smokin'?
The guns that I'm totin'?
The drugs that I'm sellin'?
No need for improvement
Fuck you and who you think I should be, forward movement

Melanated shrouded in complexity
Brain charge shocking like 'lectricity
Mouth translate happens organically
The media relates to what it thinks it sees
Judging steps in shoes from a path they never walked
Shot down in a blaze over phrases, how to talk
Dark skinned, walk with a bot, portrayed villain
I'm chillin', felon down to the DNA crime willin'
Subliminate their youth, hyper-sexualize their women
They ain't got the strong enough hold, so they built the prisons
Pumping false religion to all of these niggas' systems
Every voice devoid of the truth
Come on, listen

Man look at this, man look at this
Whatever will be will be
Like a billionaire investin' in a nigga's dreams
Certainly a head scratcher, like Pac and Big's killers' capture
Or a women with the wisdom who's leadin' the way
The rarity is in the rear, but never today
Man, picture a PD lettin' good records play
On the strength of what it is, not the finesse of your biz
And your lady calls you dirty, her dirts under rugs
You'll find out only if she tells you, take her kiss and hug, cuz
In the answer for cancer in a prodigious kid's mind
Yes, the government will fund learning is free for everyone
And from that lie, your leaders will rise in the eyes
Of despair and adversity in some universe this verse will be true

Everybody runnin' when they see the stars comin'
But whatever's gonna be will be
Everybody runnin' when they see the stars comin'
But whatever's gonna be will be
Some will dash to the mountain, some will crawl
And the weakest amongst them, they will fall
But the strongest in faith, they will stand tall
Everybody runnin' when they see the stars comin'
But whatever's gonna be will be

I just wanna feel as liberated as lions in Liberia
'Cause recently my heart turned cold as Siberia
'Cause everywhere I go, bein' cold is the criteria
Let's see how well you know all your Tribe trivia
Green and the white, we servin' that Nigeria
North side of Queens, one-nine-two is the area
This is for my dawgs from Shih Tzus to Terriers



Fuck it, it's showtime
Tip, make sure they hearin' ya

Overall Meaning

The song "Whateva Will Be" by A Tribe Called Quest revolves around the struggles and challenges that black people face in America. The lyrics start with the singer questioning whether they are supposed to be dead or in prison, highlighting the systemic oppression faced by black people in the justice system. The singer goes on to talk about how their work ethic and way of speaking threaten those around them and how they are judged by the media and society.


The lyrics then shift to showcase how black people are represented and portrayed, how their struggles and challenges are turned into entertainment, and how they are dehumanized by the system. The second verse touches upon the hyper-sexualization of black women, the building of prisons for profit, and the false religion forced upon black people. The third and final verse talks about how society treats successful black people, using the metaphor of lions in Liberia to show the desire for freedom and liberation from the constraints placed upon them.


Overall, the song highlights the struggles and oppression faced by black people in America, while also showcasing their resilience and determination to overcome these obstacles.


Line by Line Meaning

Say am I 'posed to be dead or doin' life in prison?
Questioning whether their place in society is predetermined, and their fate already decided


Just another dummy caught up in the system
Feeling trapped and helpless in a society that's designed against them


Unruly hooligan who belongs in Spofford
Being judged and labeled by society based on their appearance and behavior


Verse gettin' that degree at Stanford or Harvard
Dreaming of possibilities outside their current situation, despite societal limitations


Threatened by my work ethic, the way I speak, yo
Feeling discriminated against and judged by society for being successful and intelligent


Should I be mentally weak, verse being Malik
Questioning whether they should conform to societal expectations and stereotypes or be true to themselves


Yo, should I be trapped in the trap? Would you prefer that?
Asking society whether they'd rather see them stuck in a cycle of poverty and crime


Fourth grade reading level but he knows how to rap
Feeling misunderstood and judged based on their outward appearance and interests


Are you amused by our struggles?
Asking society whether they take pleasure in seeing others struggle due to systemic issues


The English that's broken?
Feeling judged and marginalized for their accent or dialect


The weed that I'm smokin'?
Feeling judged for their recreational activities, which are often a result of their environment and upbringing


The guns that I'm totin'?
Feeling judged for carrying a weapon, which is often seen as a necessity for survival in their community


The drugs that I'm sellin'?
Feeling judged for selling drugs, which are often a result of limited economic opportunities in their community


No need for improvement
Feeling like society sees them as hopeless or beyond help


Fuck you and who you think I should be, forward movement
Refusing to conform to societal expectations and choosing to move forward and progress despite the obstacles.


Melanated shrouded in complexity
Acknowledging the depth and complexity of their identity as a person of color


Brain charge shocking like 'lectricity
Using their intellect and creativity as a means of empowerment and resistance


Mouth translate happens organically
Being authentic and true to oneself in all aspects of their life


The media relates to what it thinks it sees
Feeling misrepresented and stereotyped by the media, which perpetuates harmful and inaccurate narratives for profit


Judging steps in shoes from a path they never walked
Feeling like society judges them without truly understanding their struggles and experiences


Shot down in a blaze over phrases, how to talk
Feeling oppressed and threatened for expressing their opinions and thoughts, which often stem from their unique life experiences


Dark skinned, walk with a bot, portrayed villain
Feeling judged and dehumanized based on their physical appearance and perceived demeanor


I'm chillin', felon down to the DNA crime willin'
Feeling like society has labeled them as a criminal or dangerous person based on their past or current actions


Subliminate their youth, hyper-sexualize their women
Feeling like society actively targets and exploits their community, especially young people and women, for profit and control


They ain't got the strong enough hold, so they built the prisons
Feeling like society creates systems of oppression, like the prison-industrial complex, to maintain power over marginalized groups


Pumping false religion to all of these niggas' systems
Feeling like society uses religion as a means of control and manipulation, especially in their community


Every voice devoid of the truth
Believing that the truth is often silenced or ignored in society, especially for marginalized groups


Man look at this, man look at this
Expressing frustration and disbelief at the current state of society


Whatever will be will be
Accepting that despite the odds and obstacles, their future is ultimately out of their control


Like a billionaire investin' in a nigga's dreams
Feeling empowered and uplifted by others who believe in their potential and invest in their success


Certainly a head scratcher, like Pac and Big's killers' capture
Expressing confusion and frustration at the lack of justice or resolution for important social and political issues, such as the murders of Tupac and Biggie


Or a women with the wisdom who's leadin' the way
Acknowledging the power and potential of women leaders and visionaries


The rarity is in the rear, but never today
Believing that progress and change are slow but steady, and will come eventually


Man, picture a PD lettin' good records play
Imagining a world where law enforcement and authority figures are open-minded and compassionate towards their community


On the strength of what it is, not the finesse of your biz
Believing that true success and progress come from authenticity and hard work, rather than manipulation or deceit


And your lady calls you dirty, her dirts under rugs
Feeling betrayed and disappointed by a loved one who hides their own flaws or mistakes while judging others


You'll find out only if she tells you, take her kiss and hug, cuz
Acknowledging the importance of communication and forgiveness in relationships, and the need to practice love and compassion even in difficult situations


In the answer for cancer in a prodigious kid's mind
Believing in the power of innovation and creative thinking to solve important social and scientific problems


Yes, the government will fund learning is free for everyone
Imagining a world where education is accessible and affordable to all, and where the government prioritizes investing in the future


And from that lie, your leaders will rise in the eyes
Believing that truth and justice will ultimately prevail, and leaders who embody those values will be empowered


Of despair and adversity in some universe this verse will be true
Hoping that someday, their struggles and experiences will be acknowledged and valued by society as a whole


Everybody runnin' when they see the stars comin'
Feeling like society is afraid of those who dare to rise above their station and challenge the status quo


But whatever's gonna be will be
Accepting that despite the fear and uncertainty, their fate is out of their hands


Some will dash to the mountain, some will crawl
Acknowledging the different paths people take in life, and that each person's journey is unique


And the weakest amongst them, they will fall
Recognizing that some people face more obstacles and challenges than others, and that not everyone may succeed


But the strongest in faith, they will stand tall
Believing that those who have hope and faith in themselves and their community will persevere and overcome obstacles


I just wanna feel as liberated as lions in Liberia
Longing for freedom and liberation, both personally and for their community as a whole


'Cause recently my heart turned cold as Siberia
Feeling disillusioned and disappointed by the current state of society


'Cause everywhere I go, bein' cold is the criteria
Feeling like society values toughness and detachment over empathy and compassion


Let's see how well you know all your Tribe trivia
Challenging listeners to understand and appreciate the legacy and culture of their community and the wider hip-hop movement


Green and the white, we servin' that Nigeria
Proudly representing and celebrating their African heritage and cultural background


North side of Queens, one-nine-two is the area
Identifying their neighborhood and community in Queens, and expressing pride and solidarity with their neighbors


This is for my dawgs from Shih Tzus to Terriers
Acknowledging the diversity and variety of their community, and celebrating everyone's unique contribution


Fuck it, it's showtime
Embracing the moment and seizing the opportunity to shine and succeed


Tip, make sure they hearin' ya
Encouraging their fellow artists and community members to speak up and be heard, and to never give up on their dreams and aspirations




Lyrics © Ultra Tunes, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.
Written by: Kamaal Ibn John Fareed, Dexter Mills, Jarobi White, Malik Izaak Taylor

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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Comments from YouTube:

Phillip Brown

This Album Was MASTERFULLY produced.

Not TheSame

Amen. This and the Chronic are desert island albums.

Matt T

doesn't get any better. nobody flows like q-tip. thanks Tribe!!!

DECENT PEOPLES

Qtip is a wavey leeeegend

1 More Replies...

French Defence

This is probably my favorite song of this Album.

Blake Animate

Prob my third, space program and ego are so good too

Big LeBAUSki

I love the bass sample, also the vocals that are sampled. It shows that crate digging is still appropriate if you have the cash to clear the samples, lol! Q-Tip seems to have it and I like his singing.

GMANKOOL23

Sony Music cleared the samples

P.

@chupavi89 You're welcome. If you ever find this on vinyl in some garage sale i.e. remember that these go for over $200 in a good condition.

chupavi89

@P. I have been looking for a long time what song is sampled there. Thanks man!

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