Macklemore insegna inglese a Milano

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.

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