Song of the Week
“Roses” by SAINt JHN is a stolid rap song written by SAINt JHN himself that despite a dragging beat has you purely smiling. The song was released in 2018 but a remix by Imanbek released in 2019 reached intense popularity in the fall. The catchy rhythm has peculiar lyrics over it that are less cohesive than my other posts. It appears to be a bibliography of the personality that is SAINt JHN going into topics such as drugs and partying but with a sprinkle of arrogance. Lets see who SAINt JHN is.
The first verse opens up with a scene consisting of SAINt JHN going to the club. “Roses / I walked in the corner with the body screaming dolo / Never sold a bag but look like Pablo in a Photo / This gon’ make ’em feel the way like Tony Killed Manolo.” To start, Dolo is slang for pulling up somewhere solo. A common theme in the rap genre is hyping yourself up and riding on the wave of good vibes that comes with it. The second line is a hype grab for sure but it’s done in a subtle way. The Pablo he refers to is Pablo Escobar who was a drug lord in Columbia and the leader of the infamous medellin Cartel. SAINt JHN is simply trying to compare himself to a real gangster who never got captured and had so much money he didn’t know what to do with it. Now, Most people would not go out of their way to compare themselves to someone who killed 4,000 people but the badass factor means more in the rap game then the morality police. The final line is a reference to the movie “Scarface” comparing that famous scene to this song. I assume appealing to our feeling of shock from both. I think SAINt JHN is trying to say that the track he is about to lay down is going to surprise even the highest expectations.
He ends the first verse with the line “All I need is Roses.” Let’s break down what roses mean and represent. “Roses” is a charming song title and reminds everyone of beauty, grace and style. SAINt JHN wants that suave atmosphere the word roses provides but there has to be more. Red Roses symbolize romance and love. I assume here he’s referring to loving the high. The song is all about that party lifestyle a lot of musicians live. The music video reveals another darker layer of these lethargic lyrics. The video consists of SAINt JHN and a band of bandits beating the living shit out of patients in some sort of facility. The violent undertones give this song a jagged edge around the feel good vibes at its core. Maybe this unrelenting need to party is driven by untouched anger. The ambiguous music video leaves a lot up to speculation.
In the chorus he comes out as a YOLO supporter and invites his fans to live in the moment with him. “Turn up baby, turn up, when I turn it on / You know how I get to lit when I turn it on / … / To fast, never ask, if the life don’t last / Done been through it all / Fuck with a n**** raw, this is who you wanna be / And I know you won’t tell nobody nothing.” The intimidating voice switches between talking to someone and thinking to himself. It is hard to tell who he’s talking to so we can assume it’s a friend or a girl. Raw is another word for awesome in the most vigorous way. This person is someone he has fun with and can fully trust to tell nobody nothing if anything goes down. SAINt JHN is saying that chasing that high is best when you got a few good pals by your side.
In the second verse he hits all the stops keeping the beat flying. “Roses / I might pull up flexing on these n**** like aerobics / I might tell her girl you cute but balling / That shit gorgeous /… / You know who the god is.” When doing aerobics it looks like you are physically flexing the entire time. It’s another way of saying that he is gonna roll-up looking real good. The place he’s in is not looking for a girl and he feels fine letting a few pass him by. Most of his audience is probably in the same boat and relating to listeners is important when writing music.
In the blunt music video he wears a jacket that has GOD Complex written on the back drizzling his arrogance into the theme. This confidence he has is derived from his music and talent. The line between confidence and arrogance is thin so lets hope he is trained in balancing on that tightrope. A synonym for God complex is narcissism which is a terribly toxic trait I hope he doesn’t suffer from. My theory is that since insecurity runs rampant these days in order to share his confidence SAINt JHN has to hyperbolize it since his audience will feel half of the energy he is feeling himself.
Lastly, I want to touch on the religious undertones in the song. His name makes it obvious and he’s even known to say a prayer at the end of his concerts. It is not lyrically mentioned in “Roses” but maybe it is linked to the anger expressed in the music video. A nun is depicted getting set on fire in the video which is an aggressive statement if i’ve ever seen one. Does he disagree with some aspect of the religion he so heavily believes in? Overall, SAINt JHN reminds you to live in the moment and always do what you want to do. I do find myself asking, What is SAINt JHN so angry about?