English Lesson: Macklemore’s Downtown

Today’s English lesson deals with Macklemore’s latest song “Downtown.” If you’ve ever listened to Macklemore, you probably understood – more or less – nothing, as he has a rather unique and speedy delivery. So Scrambled Eggs Scuola di Inglese a Milano has decided to analyze the lyrics for you, with a few exercises on some key vocabulary.

Mopeds, also known as scooters or Vespas to some, are a great way to get around the city, like this beauty here:

Macklemore insegna inglese a Milano

To get acquainted with the video, have a look here:

And now for some vocabulary, as seen in the video:

Macklemore insegna inglese

Check the answers at the bottom of the page.

And now, try to match up the vocab with their associated actions:

Imparare inglese con Macklemore

And now for the first lyric analysis, found at 0:30 into the video:

Imparare inglese con Macklemore

“What up? What’s your budget?”

This line is said by the moped salesman. “What up?” is a simple, very informal way to say “How are you?” abbreviated from “What’s up?” It’s generally said between friends in a very casual manner.

Next up, at the 0:44 second mark:

Imparare inglese con Macklemore

“800 cash, that’s a hell of a deal!”

Macklemore paid 800 in cash, and he thinks it was a great price! We use the word “deal” to describe a great offer/price for a product, for example:

“$100 for a used iPhone? What a deal!”

Additionally, Macklemore introduces the expression “hell of a”, which we use to exaggerate something in an extreme way. A synonym for “hell of a” can be “great.” Here are some examples:

“Sunny and 18 degrees. It’s a hell of a day outside!”

“You drive a Ferrari? That’s a hell of a car!”

“The Godfather is a hell of a movie, you should see it!”

Next up is at 0:56:

Imparare inglese con Macklemore

“Got cash in the bank, and gas in the tank.”

Macklemore provides a very simple mathematical equation for his listeners:

Money is good + moped is good = life is good.

Now for 2:23:

Imparare inglese con Macklemore

“You don’t want no beef, boy.”

Here’s part of the chorus, and beef is not a reference to the meat.

“I have beef with you” is a common expression that means “I have a problem with you.” If you don’t want beef with someone, that person is probably one serious cat.

Moving on to 3:27:

Imparare inglese con Macklemore

“Neighbors yelling at me like ‘You need to slow down!’”

What’s worse than a neighbor that just doesn’t let you do your thing?

Last but not least, 3:33:

Imparare inglese con Macklemore

“If I only had one helmet, I would give it to you.”

Safety first, my friends! Unless you’re a romantic at heart, and you want to express your love via helmet. Then I think it’s acceptable.



  1. Cash

  2. Beef

  3. Helmet

  4. Deal

  5. Gas tank

  6. Budget

  7. Yell

  8. Waist

    I yell to make myself heard.

    I wear a helmet to protect myself.

    I keep a budget to save money.

    I need cash to buy things.

    I fill up the gas tank to use my car.

    I make a deal to conclude a transaction.

    I measure my waist to find my size.

    I eat beef to get my protein.

Word of the day: Kinks

Today’s Word of the Day revolves around the word kinks: a word to describe a problem that a new product or new service is experiencing. We often use the phrase “to sort out” (to resolve) with kinks: The first iPhone had some kinks in it, like suddenly shutting down or having a short battery life, but the next generation sorted them out. Let’s see some examples:

SAT Exam Preparation in Milan

George worked all day from home on Saturday to sort out the urgent kinks of the Mitchell project.

Corsi di inglese a Milano

The prototype keyboard isn’t ready for the market; it has a few kinks.

Scuola di inglese a Milano

Sarah was on the phone for hours trying to understand the kinks that her clients reported.

Scrambled Eggs Scuola di inglese a Milano

This car isn’t ready for the road, it’s got too many kinks we need to sort out.


How about you guys? Have you ever experienced any kinks in products you’ve bought or products you’ve worked on? Were they every sorted out?