MC’s Song Of The Week #11: “Cocaine” by Royce da 5’9″

Hello, I’m MusiCommentator, and for my eleventh installment of Song Of The Week, I will be talking about Royce da 5’9″‘s “Cocaine”.

I mentioned Royce’s album “Book Of Ryan” in my Top 10 BEST Albums Of 2018 list and said I needed more time to listen to it before I made a final verdict on it.  I’ve listened to it more and decided that I was right to make it at least an honorable mention on that list!  One disadvantage the album has on it, though, is that it’s a very conceptual album, so some of the songs on there don’t hold up without the context of the rest of the album.  However, there are plenty of songs on there that don’t need that context to hold up, and “Cocaine” is one of them.

Many of the songs on “Book Of Ryan” show Royce’s expert storytelling skills, and this track is no exception.  Royce talks about his father’s addiction to cocaine, and the audience can feel the struggles he faces as someone who loves an addict.  The first lines enough almost bring tears:

Papa came home from another day of hard
Work and handed me his key, told me “Go look in the car”
So I went out there to look for what he asked me to get
I was checkin’ all the seats but the only thing I saw
Was a bag of cocaine (Say what?)
Uh, Papa was too solid, he ain’t never tell a lie
I went in to tell him ’bout it, he said “Oh, that must be Guy”
He worked with me at the job”, I said “Oh” and walked away
He said “Oh, before you go, make sure you don’t tell your ma’
‘Bout the, cocaine” (Say what?)

The verses give insight into the life of living with an addict in raw detail like the scene depicted above, but he also contemplates on his own decisions, asking in the chorus “I drink a lot of alcohol, problems with the law/Would I have done better or the same/If Daddy never tried cocaine?”  There are not a lot of songs that talk about drug abuse like this, so hearing it in a song is a refreshing breath.  With all the darkness this song conveys, though, it isn’t too depressing, as it comes to a happy ending with the set of bars “Pap’, I love you unconditional and thanks for loving me/More than, cocaine”.

It’s not just the lyrics that make this track great.  Royce pulls off a melodic flow which we almost never see him use, and way he enunciates his words (especially “cocaine”) helps bring home the emotions even more.  There are also the vocals by Nikki Grier, and while I didn’t like them at first, a few listens made them grow on me and it puts another layer on the track that makes it even better.  This is probably one of the longest Song Of The Week posts I’ve made by now, so I’ll stop it here, but this is definitely a song you should all check out!

Thank you for reading my eleventh “Song Of The Week”!  If you liked this post, make sure to follow my website, Twitter, and Instagram, like this post, and be sure to check in soon for future content.  Also, if you have something you want to see me review, tell me in the comments.  Until then, keep on listening to good music! I know I will.

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