As with most Hip-Hop tracks, “Kno the Meaning” by Future is about struggle and hustling. The song also touches upon the underlying oppression that Afro-Americans face in the form of racism. This is evident in the fact that Future’s DJ, Esco, had to spend 56 nights in jail due to Marijuana possession in Dubai. On a surface level, it might seem justified as the Dubai authorities were just following the law and order of their land. However, for Future, this was an enormous setback. He elaborates on this in his very first verse.
“Kno The Meaning” is a track from the deluxe version of his album DS2. Due to the song’s sudden rise in popularity, Future also released a music video for the same.
The Title: What does it Mean?
The meaning behind the title of this song “Kno the Meaning” is as simple as it gets. In this track, Future talked all about his past and the incident in Dubai. Through this track, Future wants his audience to know the meaning behind everything that has been happening in his life. He wants his fans to know what has been on his mind for some time and how he is bouncing back from everything. Oftentimes, we get bombarded with various problems at the same time and it feels like the end of the world. If you’re feeling like that and love Hip-Hop, then you might want to check this track out. Snatching away someone’s passion and livelihood is akin to killing him, and that’s the most important piece of information that Future reveals in this song.
What does the Intro mean?
“My uncle Ronnie used to wash cars
My uncle Wayne was a kingpin, you know what I’m saying?
My uncle Don, that nigga used to rob banks and shit, rest in peace
My granddaddy was a boss, he was a kingpin, you heard?”
In the intro of the song, Future makes it clear that he is from the streets. He makes it clear that he is no studio gangster chasing clout.
“My Uncle Ronnie used to wash cars.
My Uncle Wayne was a Kingpin, you know what I’m saying?”
Future talks about his family and how they hustled to make a living in a world that oppresses black people. It’s common knowledge among America’s Hip Hop community that life was very hard for those who lived in the ghettos before the 00s and 90s. Even now, things are not completely fine and dandy. There are various issues related to racism that become the subject of many songs time and again. What separates a great Hip-Hop track from an average one is the nuance with which the artist handles the topic. Another factor that contributes to the greatness of the song is how real it is.
The introduction part of this track establishes its realness and the roots of Future.
What does the Chorus mean?
“Got the game from them old niggas
You gotta know where I’m from to get to know a nigga
I skipped class to smoke weed
Hidin’ from the police
I spent time overseas, hangin’ out in England
And I got the squad on my mind and I mean this
Do a little time out the country, I need this
56 nights, gotta know the real meanin’”
Even in the Chorus, Future emphasizes the knowledge or “game” that he got from his ancestors. Here, he’s talking about his family as well as the greats of the Hip-Hop community. It’s no secret that Future’s favorite rapper is Tupac Shakur, who is perhaps the most critically acclaimed legend in the Hip-Hop game.
The chorus is equally important as the verses in terms of lyrics as Future hints towards the revelation that is to come. In 2015, Future dropped a mixtape by the name of “56 Nights”. The tape was inspired by his DJ cum friend’s ghastly experience in the jails of Dubai. Esco was jailed when he was caught with 15 grams of Marijuana. Here, the title of the song becomes important as Future wants the listeners to know the real meaning behind the mixtape.
Interlude 1 – What does it mean?
“Dropped Monster tape and had to go to Europe”
In the first interlude, Future mentions the tour of Europe that eventually led to Esco’s arrest. They were asked to perform an extra show in Abu Dhabi. According to Esco, they were discriminated against and all their bags were hand-checked.
Verse 1 – What does it mean?
“Best thing I ever did was fall out of love
‘Sco came to me, said, “They think you washed up
You need to go back in, show these niggas who the one”
We going back in soon as we get off tour
He had my hard drive on him when he caught the case
When they took him into custody, they took my life away”
The very first line of the first verse serves to shed light on the rumors around Future and his fiancée, Ciara. The couple broke up in 2014. According to rumors, it was due to Future cheating. However, it was because he fell out of love. Moreover, it motivated him to work even harder on his music.
The middle of the verse also implies that it was Esco who nudged him towards doing more shows and making more music.
This is perhaps the most important couplet in the whole track. When Esco was arrested, he also had Future’s hard drive on him. It remained with him in jail. That hard drive had a lot of unreleased and raw music on it that Future was working on. As he mentions again in the song, the drive had two years of hard work on it. As they (Dubai authorities) took the drive as well as his friend away, Future was broken. Because music is his life.
Interlude 2 – What does it mean?
“People didn’t even understand that
My hard drives that I recorded all my music on
For two years straight was on this…
Was on this one hard drive that Esco had
And he was locked up with it
So I had to record new music
That’s when I did Beast Mode”
The second interlude explains that the drive had a lot of stuff on it. Future had been working on it for more than 2 years. Apart from that, Future also tells us in the interlude that he dropped Beast Mode after that. Future accepted the fact that the music on his hard drive was gone and he began working on Beast Mode.
Verse 2 – What does it mean?
“I’m fresh off the plane on them Zaytiggys
I endured so much pain, ain’t got ‘Sco with me
Ain’t got nobody to smoke one or pour with me
Niggas rocked the lean, man, when I was OT
And I’m still dealin’ with the time they gave Doe B
How he gon’ catch an armed robbery around me?
And my lifestyle getting way bigger
I got so much love for my niggas
Brown paper bag, we gettin’ back to the paper
Gettin’ back to the basics
Everything I did, it was premeditated
I just knew there’d come a time when I finally did make it
And some niggas started hatin’
I ain’t never had no problem with these niggas
I’ve been about my guala from the dodo
Got an R&B chick layin’ on me, no photo
Got a combo in the condo doin’ some real life porno”
The second verse of the song is all about Future getting back to his feet and reflecting on the whole situation. He also recalls the time when Doe B was charged with armed robbery. Doe B was another rapper signed to the same label as Future. Now, it was his DJ who caught a case. Yet, Future persevered and stuck to making money. Apart from that, the second verse also mentions the Future’s ever-growing lifestyle and a lack of friends with whom he could pour a drink. He also subliminally mentions OG Maco, an Atlanta-based rapper who called out Future. He clarifies that he’s got no hate towards anyone and they’re just hating.
Bridge – What does it mean?
“And I ain’t worried ’bout nothin’ in the world, keep a badass bitch
These niggas ain’t none of my worries, damn that shit
There’s so much more I gotta endure
I just had my baby, gotta go on tour (fuck that shit)”
The bridge of the track is about the hardships that he is facing and how he will continue to face them.
Verse 3 – What does it mean?
“I ain’t holding this back, I ain’t holding this
The music way ahead of its time and I notice this
Get back in the studio, give ’em what they was missing
They didn’t know I knew the game and I know how to reinvent it
They ain’t know me in the cut, they just know me from rhymin’
My hard work finally catchin’ up with perfect timin’”
The third verse of the track oozes with energy and the confidence that Future brings to the table in most of his tracks. He emphasizes again and again that he knows the game and can survive on the streets. He also knows everything about the game and how to play it.
Interlude 3 – What does it mean?
“You know what I’m saying
I could take a hundred dollar slab
And goddamn make three hundred off that bitch, you dig?”
In the third interlude, Future boasts about his business skills and the ability to hustle.
Outro – What does it mean?
“Everything in the streets
It prepared me for everything that I’m going through right now
The good and the bad, you know what I’m saying?
Can’t let none of this shit get to me
I go harder ’cause I know where I was at
And I know where I wanna go”
And in his outro, he credits the street for making him what he is today. He is only able to endure what he is enduring now because the streets prepared him to do so.
In the rap game, authenticity is above everything. In this track, Future lays everything bare about what happened in Dubai with him and Esco. He also establishes that the streets are at the core of his soul. It’s perhaps one of the hardest tracks to ever have been put out by Future.