No Church in The Wild – Lyrics as Literature

These lyrics can be studied alongside a text such as V for Vendetta which looks at dictatorship, revolution, freedom, and identity. Following the lyrics is a some ideas for getting deeper into the lyrics

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Human beings in a mob
What’s a mob to a king?
What’s a king to a god?
What’s a god to a non-believer?
Who don’t believe in anything?
We make it out alive
All right, all right
No church in the wild

Tears on the mausoleum floor
Blood stains the coliseum doors
Lies on the lips of a priest
Thanksgiving disguised as a feast
Rollin’ in the Rolls-Royce Corniche
Only the doctors got this, I’m hidin’ from police
Cocaine seats
All white like I got the whole thing bleached
Drug dealer chic
I’m wonderin’ if a thug’s prayers reach
Is Pious pious cause God loves pious?
Socrates asks, “Whose bias do y’all seek?”
All for Plato, screech
I’m out here ballin’, I know y’all hear my sneaks
Jesus was a carpenter, Yeezy, laid beats
Hova flow the Holy Ghost, get the hell up out your seats
Preach

Human beings in a mob
What’s a mob to a king?
What’s a king to a god?
What’s a god to a non-believer?
Who don’t believe in anything?
We make it out alive
All right, all right
No church in the wild

I live by you, desire
I stand by you, walk through the fire
Your love is my scripture
Let me into your encryption

Coke on her black skin made a stripe like a zebra
I call that jungle fever
You will not control the threesome
Just roll the weed up until I get me some
We formed a new religion
No sins as long as there’s permission’
And deception is the only felony
So never fuck nobody wit’out tellin’ me
Sunglasses and Advil
Last night was mad real
Sun comin’ up, 5 a.m.
I wonder if they got cabs still
Thinkin’ ’bout the girl in all-leopard
Who was rubbin’ the wood like Kiki Shepard
Two tattoos, one read “No Apologies”
The other said “Love is cursed by monogamy”
That’s somethin’ that the pastor don’t preach
That’s somethin’ that a teacher can’t teach
When we die, the money we can’t keep
But we probably spend it all ’cause the pain ain’t cheap
Preach

Human beings in a mob
What’s a mob to a king?
What’s a king to a god?
What’s a god to a non-believer?
Who don’t believe in anything?

Will he make it out alive
All right, all right
No church in the wild
No church in the wild
No church in the wild
No church in the wild

– Kanye West, Jay-Z, and Frank Ocean

Brainstorm in groups of 4-5 what you think the message of this song is.

Individually read this section of the lyrics:

Tears on the mausoleum floor
Blood stains the coliseum doors
Lies on the lips of a priest
Thanksgiving disguised as a feast

What is a Mausoleum? What is the coliseum? Look them up if you don’t know.

Mausoleum, coliseum, priest, and feast – what do these things represent? They are juxtaposed by the words tears, blood stains, lies, and disguised – what effect does this have?

What effect does the imagery in the lines Tears on the mausoleum floor/Blood stains the coliseum doors have?

Go back to your brainstorm and add any new ideas.

Think about the significance of a mob to a king or the head of state – does a mob have significance? Or will they go unnoticed to the king/state? Do you think that protests and rebellions should be noticed? Do you believe that you have influence?

Do you believe in God or a higher being? Why/why not? Make a brainstorm or list of things that you believe in – e.g. gay marriage, no homework, free education.

Teacher to ask each student to share something they believe in.

Class discussion: in this song, what is the wild? What is the wild in today’s society?

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