Snakes
Ol' Dirty Bastard Lyrics


Jump to: Overall Meaning ↴  Line by Line Meaning ↴

Now number two, practiced the snake style
He was known as the snake spirit
He had the speed of a snake

Niggas is like serpents out there
(Snake style, no one could compete)
Serpents will bite
Lay outside, and then they roll back into they holes
They slither, in the streets of Brooklyn, New York
Slither in the streets, of Manhattan
In the streets of Queens, streets of the Bronx
Streets of Staten Island
Wherever you see 'em they slither
Whoever, yo
Fearsome shit, check it out
Yo, yo

It broke me up when they pat me on my shoulder
Said stay strong 'cause his life is now over
I flash back to the heathens that he roll with
They shot him up and down nobody knows shit
My peers, little ears
Came up to me with a eye full of tears
Last night we was shootin' dice and gettin' nice
Kid rolled us, played us for our merchandise
We were in the hallway all day
Me, Steve, and Little Ray
Probably at first they tried to rob me
Back me in the lobby, pull out the shotty
Then came Scotty, fragile body
My first impression, he returned from a party
He was just stagger, smellin' like Bacardi
The Dragon, braggin', how he was fuckin mad hotties
Pressed on the elevator button, then all of a sudden
He licked off, about a dozen
Slugs from the cannon, that ripped through my cousin
Nobody was standin' when the nigga started bustin'
Blood started to flood the floors, by the elevator doors
That's the last thing that I saw
Damn, we plan to make grands of our home
(Number two)

Jagged edge, rockin' God, hard as Stonehenge
Pledged whoever crossed his path get scrapped with a sledge
Hammer, he didn't give a damn about the manor
And on the block he was called by the momma's and the grandma's
Indecent, heathen, juvenile delinquent
His weekends was frequently, locked inside the precinct
His most recent cape for catchin' papes
Was snatchin' up snakes on a roof butt-naked hang em off like drapes
Then ask what's the combination to the safe, with the brace
And those who didn't reply they fell straight to their face
Razor blade sharp who invades the dark
And raid more spots than Spays and NARCS iron heart like Tony Starks
A fierce lion, who never leave the crib without the iron
And on the block he be slingin' rocks and duckin' from the sirens
Greetin' niggas he loved with a pound, and a bear hug
Those who wanted life, they catch a slug from the snub
A Five Percent, who all knew was one to ten
He loved the Gods with his heart but his brain was filled with sin
And when he came through niggas be lookin' out
Hopin' he gets shot or tooken out, or locked the fuck up in Brooklyn House
In PC, on a liquid diet, but he was louder than a riot
(Number two, the snake)

Do the knowledge to a nigga named Trigga
Bad rude boy from the land of Jamaica
With visions to venture, to the U.S.
To receive the gold that he couldn't achieve
In his country, even though he sold mad weed
For the next man, who was the Don of the clan
Niggas actin' like they got the block locked
Like I can't sling drug raps and eat food
But I be the rudest, bad boy steppin' gun totin'
Shots lash out like a violent explosion
At the nigga, who tries to stop my production
Intervene the scene and slow up the CREAM
None of that black, East New York, gun talk
Niggas I extort from Baltic to Boardwalk
Memories of injuries wounds and burns
Walkin' through the streets of Medina I stand firm
'Cause I know this, which means I can hold mine down
Without a doubt, niggas who front, get snuffed out
Justice must be born there's no escape
'Cause a snake can't be reformed so I wait
Comin' in the name to proclaim your fame for protection
And you don't know no fuckin' lessons?
(Number two, the snake)

Bad, bad, Leroy Brown
Baddest man in the whole damn town
Badder than the deep blue sea
Badder than you and me
Niggas comin' thru the trees, like a salamander, bitin'
Like a piranha, but I'm bitin you back, like a black panther
The style I'm ampin' the, fuck my name, who I be?
Fuck the game, it's all about the money!
Sometimes I get high with the Meth
Then I turn to the Killah Priest
When it comes twelve o'clock
I turn into the demon beast, yo

Yo fuck that shit!
(Number two, the snake)
Yo, show these motherfuckers what time it is
(Number two, the snake)
Who's the bad ass?
Who's the bad ass?
(Now number two)
(He practiced the snake style
He was known as the snake spirit) Yeah

Lyrics, never waitin', twelve days, penetrated
When I come with the ruffness, mad niggas try to rush this
Slip into my killings, then I slays and you're helpless
When I try to stay sick, it's Yakub grafted six
Calm for the kill, knowing the style that's ill
When I drop, lyric skills, brothers say, Buddah chill!

I don't need to rhyme no more, niggas know, yo!
To all the Wu-Tang Clan members
The Ghostface Killer, the GZA, the RZA, the Ol Dirty Bastard



The Method Man, the Chef, Raekwon, Inspector Deck, U-God
Yo

Overall Meaning

The song "Snakes" by Ol' Dirty Bastard depicts the harsh reality of the streets of New York City characterized by violence, betrayal, greed, and destruction. The lyrics present three different stories, each of whom depicts people who practice the ways of the snake. The first scene is of a young man who is quick and agile and practices the snake style of fighting. The next scene tells the story of a teenage boy known as Hamma who was violent, dangerous, and frequently arrested. The last scene revolves around Trigga, a Jamaican drug dealer who seeks to move to the US for more significant gains in his trade while battling with other gangs.


The lyrics offer insight into the life of crime, with each character taking on the persona of a snake, which gradually reveals the various guiles they use to lure their victims before pouncing on them. The snakes' symbolism draws on the common characterizations of these reptiles as crafty, deceptive, and dangerous creatures. The lyrics reflect real-life challenges facing young people in the cities plagued with poverty, drug addiction, and street violence.


The song's lyrics are underpinned by a sinister melody, drums, and additional music that gives the composition a feeling of tense suspense. The tempo of the composition varies to reflect the different plot points for each character. In essence, "Snakes" epitomizes the social chaos that characterizes the inner cities in America.


Line by Line Meaning

Now number two, practiced the snake style
He honed his skills in the art of deception and sneakiness


He was known as the snake spirit
His true nature was cunning and deceitful


He had the speed of a snake
He moved swiftly and unpredictably, like a snake


Niggas is like serpents out there
People are deceitful and treacherous in the world


(Snake style, no one could compete)
His deceptive tactics were unmatched and unbeatable


Serpents will bite
Deceitful people will harm and betray others


Lay outside, and then they roll back into they holes
They lay in wait, observing, and then retreat to safety


They slither, in the streets of Brooklyn, New York
These deceitful individuals move stealthily through the streets of Brooklyn


Slither in the streets, of Manhattan
They move slyly and covertly through the streets of Manhattan


In the streets of Queens, streets of the Bronx
They operate clandestinely in both Queens and the Bronx


Streets of Staten Island
Their deceitful actions extend to the streets of Staten Island as well


Wherever you see 'em they slither
These treacherous individuals can be found wherever you look


Whoever, yo
Anyone and everyone can fall victim to their deceit


Fearsome shit, check it out
Their deceptive actions are something to be feared and taken seriously


It broke me up when they pat me on my shoulder
I was devastated when they comforted me with false sympathy


Said stay strong 'cause his life is now over
They advised me to remain resilient in the face of my loved one's death


I flash back to the heathens that he roll with
I reminisce about the deceitful individuals he associated with


They shot him up and down nobody knows shit
They ruthlessly attacked and killed him, and no one has any information


My peers, little ears
My friends and acquaintances, young and naive


Came up to me with a eye full of tears
They approached me with tear-filled eyes, saddened by the loss


Last night we was shootin' dice and gettin' nice
We were gambling and enjoying ourselves the previous night


Kid rolled us, played us for our merchandise
A young person deceived and took advantage of us, stealing our possessions


We were in the hallway all day
We spent the entire day in the hallway


Me, Steve, and Little Ray
Myself, Steve, and Little Ray were present


Probably at first they tried to rob me
Initially, they likely attempted to commit a robbery against me


Back me in the lobby, pull out the shotty
They cornered me in the lobby and brandished a shotgun


Then came Scotty, fragile body
Then Scotty appeared, physically weak and vulnerable


My first impression, he returned from a party
My initial thought was that he just returned from a party


He was just stagger, smellin' like Bacardi
He was noticeably unsteady on his feet, reeking of alcohol


The Dragon, braggin', how he was fuckin mad hotties
Scotty, also known as the Dragon, boasted about his sexual conquests


Pressed on the elevator button, then all of a sudden
He pushed the elevator button, and suddenly


He licked off, about a dozen
He fired off around twelve shots


Slugs from the cannon, that ripped through my cousin
Bullets from the gun tore through my cousin


Nobody was standin' when the nigga started bustin'
Everyone scattered when the man started shooting


Blood started to flood the floors, by the elevator doors
Blood began pooling on the floor, near the elevator entrance


That's the last thing that I saw
That was the final image imprinted in my mind


Damn, we plan to make grands of our home
We had aspirations to make a significant amount of money in our neighborhood


Jagged edge, rockin' God, hard as Stonehenge
He was rough and rugged, as hard as the ancient Stonehenge monument


Pledged whoever crossed his path get scrapped with a sledge
He promised to confront and harm anyone who crossed his path


Hammer, he didn't give a damn about the manor
He had no concern for manners or proper behavior


And on the block he was called by the momma's and the grandma's
The mothers and grandmothers in the neighborhood referred to him with respect


Indecent, heathen, juvenile delinquent
He was immoral, wild, and a troublemaker


His weekends was frequently, locked inside the precinct
He often spent his weekends locked up in the police station


His most recent cape for catchin' papes
His latest endeavor to make money


Was snatchin' up snakes on a roof butt-naked hang em off like drapes
He would strip naked and hang deceitful people off rooftops, like curtains


Then ask what's the combination to the safe, with the brace
Afterward, he would demand the safe's combination, using physical force


And those who didn't reply they fell straight to their face
Anyone who refused to cooperate would be violently subdued


Razor blade sharp who invades the dark
He was quick and deadly, intruding on the shadows


And raid more spots than Spays and NARCS iron heart like Tony Starks
He would target and rob more locations than the police or undercover agents, showing no mercy


A fierce lion, who never leave the crib without the iron
He was like a ferocious lion, always carrying a firearm


And on the block he be slingin' rocks and duckin' from the sirens
He would sell drugs on the street while evading police sirens


Greetin' niggas he loved with a pound, and a bear hug
He would warmly greet his trusted friends with a fist bump and a tight hug


Those who wanted life, they catch a slug from the snub
Anyone who posed a threat to his livelihood would meet a bullet from his short-barreled gun


A Five Percent, who all knew was one to ten
He identified as a member of the Five Percent Nation, known for their knowledge and wisdom


He loved the Gods with his heart but his brain was filled with sin
He had deep respect for his fellow members of the Five Percent Nation, but his thoughts were corrupted


And when he came through niggas be lookin' out
When he approached, people would be on high alert


Hopin' he gets shot or tooken out, or locked the fuck up in Brooklyn House
They wished for him to be injured, killed, or arrested and imprisoned in a local correctional facility


In PC, on a liquid diet, but he was louder than a riot
If he were to be held in protective custody, consuming only liquids, his rebellious nature would still persist


Do the knowledge to a nigga named Trigga
Here's some insight into a man named Trigga


Bad rude boy from the land of Jamaica
He was a tough, disrespectful individual from Jamaica


With visions to venture, to the U.S.
He had aspirations of moving to the United States


To receive the gold that he couldn't achieve
He sought to attain wealth that he couldn't acquire in his home country


In his country, even though he sold mad weed
Despite his success in selling large quantities of marijuana in his homeland


For the next man, who was the Don of the clan
He would sell drugs for the leader of his criminal organization


Niggas actin' like they got the block locked
Some individuals acted as if they controlled the entire neighborhood


Like I can't sling drug raps and eat food
As if he couldn't both rap about selling drugs and make a living


But I be the rudest, bad boy steppin' gun totin'
He was the most disrespectful, dangerous individual, armed and ready


Shots lash out like a violent explosion
He would fire shots with the force of a powerful explosion


At the nigga, who tries to stop my production
He would target anyone who attempted to impede his drug-selling operation


Intervene the scene and slow up the CREAM
Those who tried to interfere would disrupt his cash flow


None of that black, East New York, gun talk
He dismissed anyone who talked tough about the dangerous streets of East New York


Niggas I extort from Baltic to Boardwalk
He would use intimidation to extract money from individuals in the entire neighborhood, from Baltic to Boardwalk


Memories of injuries wounds and burns
He had vivid recollections of his own sufferings and physical harm


Walkin' through the streets of Medina I stand firm
As he walked through the streets of Medina (a metaphor for his dangerous neighborhood), he stood strong and resolute


'Cause I know this, which means I can hold mine down
He possessed knowledge and awareness, allowing him to defend himself


Without a doubt, niggas who front, get snuffed out
Anyone who falsely pretended to be tough would face serious consequences


Justice must be born there's no escape
Wrongdoers must face the consequences of their actions, with no means of avoiding it


'Cause a snake can't be reformed so I wait
Deceitful individuals cannot change, so he patiently waits for their downfall


Comin' in the name to proclaim your fame for protection
He arrives with the intention of using a respected name to safeguard himself


And you don't know no fuckin' lessons?
And yet, you remain ignorant and unenlightened?


Bad, bad, Leroy Brown
An infamous and dangerous individual named Leroy Brown


Baddest man in the whole damn town
The most feared and ruthless man in the entire town


Badder than the deep blue sea
Even more fierce and dangerous than the vast ocean


Badder than you and me
Far more ruthless and menacing than any of us


Niggas comin' thru the trees, like a salamander, bitin'
Deceitful individuals approach from unexpected places, like stealthy creatures, ready to harm


Like a piranha, but I'm bitin you back, like a black panther
He fights back against those who try to harm him, fierce and retaliatory, like a black panther


The style I'm ampin' the, fuck my name, who I be?
The aggressive and powerful style I possess, disregarding my name, who I am


Fuck the game, it's all about the money!
He has no regard for the rules of the game, only focused on acquiring wealth


Sometimes I get high with the Meth
At times, he indulges in drug use with Method Man


Then I turn to the Killah Priest
Then he changes his focus and mindset to that of Killah Priest


When it comes twelve o'clock
When midnight arrives


I turn into the demon beast, yo
He undergoes a transformation into a fearsome and vicious creature


Yo fuck that shit!
Disregard and reject that nonsense!


(Number two, the snake)
Referring to himself as the snake, as previously established


Yo, show these motherfuckers what time it is
Assert yourself and reveal your true power, demonstrating superiority


(Number two, the snake)
Referring to himself again, reiterating his nature as the snake


Who's the bad ass?
Who is the most dangerous and formidable individual?


Now number two
Referring to himself as the second most powerful


(He practiced the snake style
He trained and perfected his deceptive techniques


He was known as the snake spirit) Yeah
His reputation as a cunning and deceitful individual was widely recognized


Lyrics, never waitin', twelve days, penetrated
His lyrics are constantly flowing, penetrating the minds of listeners without delay


When I come with the ruffness, mad niggas try to rush this
When he delivers his rough and aggressive style, many individuals try to challenge him


Slip into my killings, then I slays and you're helpless
He effortlessly transitions into destructive behavior, overpowering and defeating his opponents


When I try to stay sick, it's Yakub grafted six
When he aims to remain intimidating, he becomes like Yakub, the mythical figure in Nation of Islam theology


Calm for the kill, knowing the style that's ill
He remains composed and focused before delivering a deadly blow, knowing his style is unmatched


When I drop, lyric skills, brothers say, Buddah chill!
When he reveals his intricate and powerful lyrics, others are left astounded and tell him to calm down


I don't need to rhyme no more, niggas know, yo!
He suggests that he has nothing left to prove with his rhymes, as everyone is already aware of his talent


To all the Wu-Tang Clan members
He sends his greetings and acknowledgments to the other members of the Wu-Tang Clan


The Ghostface Killer, the GZA, the RZA, the Ol Dirty Bastard
He specifically mentions Ghostface Killah, GZA, RZA, and himself, Ol' Dirty Bastard


The Method Man, the Chef, Raekwon, Inspector Deck, U-God
He also acknowledges Method Man, Raekwon, Inspectah Deck, and U-God


Yo
An exclamation to grab attention or express agreement




Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Warner Chappell Music, Inc.
Written by: Robert F. Diggs, Russell T. Jones

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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Comments from YouTube:

Marty McFly

THIS ALBUM IS CERTIFIED CLASSIC...10/10..NO QUESTION ABOUT IT... THAT SOUND ISN'T TO BE REPLICATED... ODB WAS A LIVE WIRE AND WITH RZA HARNESSING THE VOLTAGE... THE OUTCOME WAS BEAUTIFUL.

Jay Yarnold

Marty McFly agreed

Scoobert Scooby Doo

@ Marty McFly This has to be one of the most unique rap albums I’ve ever heard..🔥

Dick Dastardly

Walkmandays!

hiden name

Crack was harnessing the voltage lol

18 More Replies...

Hydra11B __

1:56 Rza verse still gives me chills to this day. Wu-Tang forever..

Mia Porche

❤️

Michael Houchen

A fierce lion will never leave the block without an iron

stevenking812

Imagine listening to this with headphones on at full blast, tripping balls on 2 hits of blotter acid, and your sister comes in the room with your best friend's obituary in the newspaper. This happened to me in November of 95. I get emotional every time I hear this!

DoriD TV

so sorry bro, may they rest in peace.

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