Bodega Babies: How Swizz Beatz & Pusha-T’s “Cold Blooded” retold the pain and constant struggles of black millennials.
Pusha-T is one of the best talents that the rap world has ever seen. He is special because of his ability to paint lyrical portraits through his detailed drug bravado rhymes. In addition to his rhyme-scheme being lucid, it also reminds us of how we can use our pain as a vehicle to create art. He showed us this earlier this year when he painted vivid pictures of drug culture on Daytona. He does just that on “In Cold Blood” his latest guest appearance on Swizz Beatz’s album Poison by painting the pain of the inner-city youth in our minds. The hypnotizing cadences by Pusha-T are combined with a series of Swizz Beatz hooks that show he has recognized the pain in our communities.
On November 2nd, 2018, Swizz Beatz released Poison, his second album as a lead artist that featured various guest appearances. He said that his goal for his album was to focus on lyricism, and he did just that by selecting some of the most lyrical talents in the industry. The talented list consisted of, Kendrick Lamar, The Lox, Jim Jones, Aine Zion, Nas, 2 Chainz, Pusha-T, Young Thug, all their songs were great, but only one spoke directly to me. Pusha-T’s “Cold-Blooded” is the 7th song on the album, and it is beautiful. Throughout the song, he takes the listener on a journey by describing the all too familiar upbringing of black youth. The phrase that serenades through the song is
You wonder why these kids of the 90s crazy”
The truth is, us 90’s babies have been through hell and back, especially those of us who are raised in the immobilizing grips of the inner city. We are oppressed, by being exposed to lead-paint poisoning, over-policed communities, police brutality, poverty, food deserts, and not to mention the crippling pain of racism, and that is making us “crazy”.
Pusha-T’s coined term “Bodega Babies” is referring to the poverty-stricken youth within food deserts of the inner city, using bodegas and corner stores as two things, the first is a food source, and the second as a place to post up and hustle. I can relate to this culture from growing up in East Baltimore. My neighborhood was poverty-stricken, a combination of used syringes and boarded up houses covered my view of the world. Witnessing similar stories to the one on the song up-close gives me a different perspective on the topic. Here are some notable lyrics from the song that speaks on the health of black youth due to the access food.
“Black child born in the storm
They had to bundle up to stay warm
Strollers in the snow to the candy lady
That sugar made the monsters of the ’90s crazy.”
One difficult topic that he sheds light on is molestation within the African-American community. Let’s take a glance at the epidemic of sexual abuse, not just as a crime to humanity, but how it is magnified within the black community. One of the most paralyzing issues of the black community is the presence of sexual child abuse. In 2014, psychologist Stephanie Hargrove authored What’s hidden in plain sight: A look at child sexual abuse. Throughout the article, she described all the statistics regarding sexual abuse within She provided recent statistics that suggested “60% of African-American girls are sexually abused before the age of 18” according to the Black Women’s Blueprint. Moreover, black boys experience sexual abuse at a lower rate. According to the CSA “Approximately 22 percent to 29 percent of all child abuse victims are male”, the problem is, however, how many males are reluctant to report their incidents. Here are a few lyrics that depict this dilemma
“Little sister doesn’t talk much
’Cause their uncle had the Midas Touch”
This may not be what he intended to do with this song, but that is the beauty of hip-hop. It is beautifully produced and orchestrated, and the audience gets to make the decision if it lives and dies within their heart. This article tells you all that “Cold Blood” highlights some of the most painful aspects of the black community. music piece that will reverberate through the hearts of true Hip-Hop fans.