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Crooked Smile
J.Cole ft. TLC
[Chorus 1: TLC]
On my way, on my way, on my way down
On my way, on my way, on my way down
You're the one that was tryna ke...
[J. Cole:]
They tell me I should fix my grill cause I got money now
I ain't gon' sit around and front like I ain't thought...
[Chorus 1]
[J. Cole:]
To all the women with the flaws, know it's hard my darling
You wonder why you're lonely and your man...
Crooked smile, we could style on 'em (back 'round)
Crooked smile, we could style on 'em
(You're the one that was tryna kee...
We don't look nothin' like the people on the screen
You know the movie stars, picture perfect beauty queens
But we got dre...
And fuck all of that beef shit, nigga let's make a mil'
Hey officer man, we don't want nobody getting killed
Just open up ...
Ohhhhhhhhhhohoh [4x]
La-la-la, la-la-la, la-la-la-la [4x]
I'm on my way, on my way, on my way down
I'm on my way, on my wa...
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Analysis lyrics

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Analysis lyrics

  1. 1. Crooked Smile J.Cole ft. TLC
  2. 2. [Chorus 1: TLC] On my way, on my way, on my way down On my way, on my way, on my way down You're the one that was tryna keep me way down But like the sun, know you know I found my way back 'round The tone sets off a some what sad but still optimistic voice. This could be because people being very hateful towards TLC’s character. This is to all the people who was trying to oppress her and make her conform to the norm by changing the way she looks, but she is the one who is on top now. Despite all the abuse, she has found love and her way round.
  3. 3. [J. Cole:] They tell me I should fix my grill cause I got money now I ain't gon' sit around and front like I ain't thought about it A perfect smile is more appealing but it's funny how My shit is crooked look at how far I done got without it I keep my twisted grill, just to show the kids it's real We ain't picture perfect but we worth the picture still I got smart, I got rich, and I got bitches still And they all look my eyebrows: thick as hell Love yourself, girl, or nobody will Though you're a woman, I don't know how you deal With all the pressure to look impressive and go out in heels; I feel for you Killing yourself to find a man that'll kill for you You wake up, put makeup on, stare in the mirror But it's clear that you can't face what's wrong; no need to fix What God already put his paint brush on; your roommate yelling "Why you gotta take so long?" What it's like to have a crooked smile This crooked smile In fact, Cole’s teeth are notorious for not being the best. Here, Cole gets to the core of the song. Though he could presumably afford to fix his teeth, he keeps them as they are to remind kids coming up that you can have physical imperfections and still be a star. Maybe Cole is hinting he doesn’t understand the pressures of always looking great. He feels for women because of what they have to go through to impress people. Girls are “killing” themselves by wearing uncomfortable shoes like heels which squish their toes and hurt their feet, and going under the knife for cosmetic surgery — all in order to impress a man that will “kill to have her”, rather than for their own self esteem. When this girl looks in the mirror, all she is seeing is imperfections. J.Cole is saying about the insecurities women have these days in there own bodies. Her friend is frustrated that she is taking so long putting on makeup because she is not trying to reveal her flaws. This is, of course, a losing battle, as beauty standards are notoriously unrealistic. He closes off the verse by stating that he understands the pressure that ladies go through to “look good” because that's exactly what its like to have a crooked smile.
  4. 4. [Chorus 1] [J. Cole:] To all the women with the flaws, know it's hard my darling You wonder why you're lonely and your man's not calling You keep falling victim cause you're insecure And when I tell you that you're beautiful you can't be sure Cause he don't seem to want you back and it's got you asking So all you see is what you lacking, not what you packing Take it from a man that loves what you got And baby girl you're a star, don't let 'em tell you you're not Now is it real? Eyebrows, fingernails, hair Is it real? if it's not, girl you don't care Cause what's real is something that the eyes can't see That the hands can't touch, that them broads can't be, and that's you Never let 'em see you frown And if you need a friend to pick you up, I'll be around And we can ride with the windows down, the music loud I can tell you ain't laughed in a while, but I wanna see that crooked smile He expresses to women that from a male standpoint, he knows it is hard to be elated (happy) when you have flaws. Consequently, women will have lower self-esteem. This line is in reference to the girls that think that their men are out there cheating or interacting with sexier women – purely because these girls are insecure with their looks. Cole is telling women they are infact beautiful and trying to improve self-esteem, but women are ignoring the comments due to the fact that she cant find a man that can take her for who she is. All part of a routine to conform to the norm. Real or not real, it doesn’t matter to Cole and shouldn’t matter to the girl. What matter’s is what’s on the inside. Cole is actually saying that a woman that truly cares about how she looks, doesn’t need to use fake eyebrows, fingernails, and hair because what really matters is their personality and attitude. He is saying stand your ground, stay strong and keep smiling. Cole is saying he will be there for support and cheer the girl up. Self-esteem is low and her mood is low, but Cole is there for her and wants to see the imperfections everyone has; that crooked smile.
  5. 5. Crooked smile, we could style on 'em (back 'round) Crooked smile, we could style on 'em (You're the one that was tryna keep me way down) (But like the sun, I know you know I found my way back round...) J-Cole: It’s me saying that ‘I don’t care about this.’ I understand I don’t have the Colgate. I don’t have braces. I understand, and they definitely remind you. This line is inferring that the victim realises that someone was trying to put them down and destroy their self confidence This is saying that the victim has found a way to overcome their flaws and that the person trying to keep them down now sees this.
  6. 6. We don't look nothin' like the people on the screen You know the movie stars, picture perfect beauty queens But we got dreams and we got the right to chase 'em Look at the nation, that's a crooked smile braces couldn't even straighten Seem like half the race is either on probation Or in jail; wonder why we inhale Cause we in hell already - I ask if my skin pale Would I then sell like Eminem or Adele? But one more time for the 'Ville While most people fantasize about the glamour and fame that comes from show business, Cole is trying to let everyone know that Hollywood is just a facade. Not fixing his teeth is attempt at non-conformity. Cole is saying that everyone, no matter what they look like, has the right to chase their dreams This line is suggesting that America looks good on the outside, but there are a lot of problems such as racism, violence and drug abuse that persist in the country that can not be simply fixed by electing a new president or in this case by ‘braces’ This line is highlighting one of America's perceived flaws which is racism. Cole is questioning why most black people in America are either in jail or on probation? Is it because of discrimination, marginalisation or relative deprivation. The use of ‘inhale’ perhaps is to signify the taking of drugs and also the violent society they are in . As a result, They do not think of the consequences of their actions as they view themselves to be in hell already, so no matter what happens nothing changes. This line signifies that he wonders if racism is holding him and other black artists back from being as successful as the likes of Eminem and Adele This is a reference to his home town Fayetville, this suggests that despite his fame he still remains grounded and never forgets where he came from
  7. 7. And fuck all of that beef shit, nigga let's make a mil' Hey officer man, we don't want nobody getting killed Just open up that cell, let my brother out of jail I got money for the bail now, well now If you asking will I tell now? Hey, hell naw - I ain't snitching cause Man, they get them niggas stitches now If you was around, then you wouldn't need a witness now How you like this crooked smile? Beef is referring to the tension between everyone whether it be people in the music industry or just regular people on the street. Cole is inferring that he wants everyone to stop fighting and arguing and get out there and be successful This can be perceived as Cole directly saying to the police that black people don’t always go out with the intention of killing people, so they should stop watching them, however if you couple it with the line down it could also be perceived as a threat from Cole directed to the police saying if you don’t let my people out then some people may get killed. The term ‘brother’ is referring to the astounding numbers of African Americans incarcerated in this country, and Cole is instructing the police to free his ‘brothers’. This line reinforces his uniqueness and kind heart as most rappers would brag about their cars and mansions, whereas he is suggesting that he is using his money for the good cause of getting his friends out on bail. This shows that he has a strict no snitching rule, and will always stick to his morals whatever the situation. This shows that he has a stern no snitching rule because of the big consequences he knows it could have. This is directed to the police saying if they had been doing their job properly, then no witnesses would be needed and these crimes would not happen as often. This is directed to the police, he’s asking if they like his smile because he just inferred he wouldn’t need to snitch if they were doing their jobs correctly
  8. 8. Ohhhhhhhhhhohoh [4x] La-la-la, la-la-la, la-la-la-la [4x] I'm on my way, on my way, on my way down I'm on my way, on my way, on my way down You're the one that was tryna keep me way down But like the sun, all you know I found my way back 'round, baby, back 'round... You are the one that was tryna keep me way down But like the sun, i know you I found my way back 'round, back 'round... You are the one that was tryna keep me way down But like the sun, i know you I found my way back 'round This represents a change in tone, and suggests that everyone is ready to embrace their imperfections Despite all her imperfections, she has found her ‘way back round’ and is now accepting who she is and what she looks like. The fact that the lyrics are repeated are a sign she is now confident in who she is and is now in control of her emotions.

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