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:
To get acquainted with the video, have a look here:
And now for some vocabulary, as seen in the video:
Check the answers at the bottom of the page.
And now, try to match up the vocab with their associated actions:
And now for the first lyric analysis, found at 0:30 into the video:
“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:
“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:
“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:
“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:
“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:
“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.
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.