Daaang! Matter of fact… Double dang!! You know a song is a huge monstrosity when a review starts off like this, right? Okay, honestly, who saw this one coming? Only DJ Khaled’s genius mind could come up with something this masterful. But we’ll get to his album later…too many
other ones. For now, let’s get right into this classic masterpiece of a song! Bon appetit!
The Big Message in the Song
The main message of the song sticks out like a sore thumb from the lyrics on the chorus. You pick it up at the very beginning of the song when James Fauntleroy bellows out his sublime vocals. The song’s title, “Sorry Not Sorry,” screams out that the artists are unapologetic about living “the dream” and living “a dream.” Living “the dream” is doubtlessly a reference to the proverbial American dream. On the other hand,
living a dream denotes that the artists live a life that feels surreal or “dream-like” by their standards –particularly because they came from having nothing.
Fauntleroy finishes off the chorus by crooning out the question,
…whoever thought that we could be living the dream? Well, to answer that… except God and the artists’ belief in themselves, maybe no one –that’s for sure. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that even the devil didn’t have a clue.
Okay! So now that you have effortlessly devoured the hors d’oeuvre, let’s dig into the meat shall we?
Appetizer: Chopping Up Nas’ Verse (King Talk)
Picking up from where he left off with “King’s Disease,” his recent Grammy-award-winning album, Nas continues on his kingly/royal swagger from the very first bar of his verse –
Hear ye! Hear ye! This exclamatory phrase (which in modern-day English means “Listen”) was used in medieval England by “town criers” who were effectually the original newsmen and acted as spokesmen for the King.
The phrase is a common cliché in medieval movies –especially those based on English history. So at the start of his verse, Nas effectively plays his own ‘town crier’ and compelling you to “listen” because the King is now speaking (talk about creative smugness, huh? lol). Nas proceeds to communicate that only fellow Kings stand near him (denoting that he keeps a royal circle –you know…birds of a feather flock together…yadda yadda).
Investment Money Flexing (The Soup)
Nas then proceeds to rap about how he is living large off his Silicon Valley investment money, which he spends sipping Hennessey and wearing Fendi. Just so you know, this bar could also be a double entendre which simultaneously makes reference to Nas’ investments in Silicon Valley startups and Hov’s intermingling with LVMH (which stands for “Moet Hennessey Louis Vuitton”), the company which Hov recently sold his “Ace of Spades” champagne to for a major killing. The deal was valued at approximately US$640 million, according to Forbes. #BigBossMoves
Esco then goes on to intimate that he is nearly 50 years old (“half a century almost”) and that he sliced the green (money/greenback) like a lawnmower, till everybody is “on” (This means that Nas shares his wealth with other people). He also encourages his friends not to fall off or give up until everyone is rich). Nas then raps,
hear a boss talk, you don’t hear me? That’s your loss. Here Esco lets his circle know that he is giving them “boss advice,” –and that if they don’t heed his advice, it’s their loss.
Main Course: King Nas’ Crypto Millionaire Swag
Esco –or rather
Scarface – on this particular song – goes HAM on the verse and spits out arguably his toughest punchline on the song.
Winner in life, f*** a coin tossSORRY NOT SORRY Lyrics
I’m coin-based, basically cryptocurrency Scarface.
by DJ Khaled ft. Nas, James Fauntleroy, Jay-Z
Truth be told, you need some context to understand this bar. Scarface –I mean… Esco effectively states that he has won at life and never left it to chance (
the toss of a coin). He essentially demonstrates that his winning in life is a result of smart moves and investing.
In this particular bar, Nas is referring to the fact that he made an estimated US$100 million when the Coinbase cryptocurrency exchange went public on 14th April 2021. Nas’s venture capital firm, Queensbridge Venture Partners, was an early investor in Coinbase and made a killing the day the company went public. This was a feat that led Nas to tweet,
Long crypto forever…in sickness & in health.
The Salad: Esco Shares the Meals (Mills)
In the next part of the song, Esco goes off on how more people need to get rich and start getting into investment –including people with a ghetto background. Nas uses himself as an example to show it’s possible for anyone to make it in life by emphasizing that he came from some of the worst parts of the ghetto.
He uses the metaphor
two seconds from the devil to describe the “hell” he came from. He then shows how he is now living a heavenly lifestyle and indicates that he is aware that health is wealth.
Nas then takes solace in the fact that he has helped so many people become wealthy and that he has bought cars and given money to his crew. He finishes off strong by demonstrating that he has come a long way. He ultimately establishes the fact that he is now gladly a legitimate businessman after surviving a dangerous past of selling illegal drugs (pitchin) to make a living.
B-ehold: Hov and His 3 B’s (Another Main Course –From a Different Chef)
Quite honestly, the first time you hear Jay-z’s verse, you will either have a “wait… did he just say that!” –or a full-blown “what the heck!” type of moment (-and that’s putting it lightly). But seriously though… WHAT THE HECK?!! Lol! Anyway, this is almost certainly the highlight of Jay’s verse –even though his entire verse is killer and masterfully delivered. Hov raps:
Sorry, that’s another BSORRY NOT SORRY Lyrics
Haters still ain’t recover from the other B
Mmm, that’s a double B
Nah, that’s a triple B, can’t forget ’bout the other Bey (hey)
by DJ Khaled ft. Nas, James Fauntleroy, Jay-Z
Hov pretty much opens it up and shuts everything down in the first 4 bars of his verse. Yup! In case you didn’t get it by now, he is talking about ‘B-illions.’
In essence, King Hov states that he is sorry; he has just made another billion dollars –despite his haters still being mad and not having accepted that he recently made his first one (the one which made him hip-hop’s first billionaire). Hov goes on to immediately declare that he is on his second B. He successively makes a final punchline and pays courtesy to his wife, Bey (Beyonce) – his third “B.” Bey’s unmistakable voice instantly comes on to say “hey” after Jay’s referral line.
The punchline is also a potential triple entendre in that:
- Hov simply makes reference to Beyonce.
- Hov equates Queen Bey to be worth at least a billion dollars to him (he pays her a compliment in this way).
- Hov is intimating that Beyonce is eventually going to be a billionaire in her own right too!
Just so you know, Forbes estimates her net worth at nearly half a billion dollars at the moment –so it’s not a far-fetched thought. Ergo, Hov practically has three “B”-illions.
Project Baby Hov (Second Salad)
In the next bars of the song, Hov goes hard on his haters. Warning them not to touch him while at the same time telling them to get with him because he is the man of the moment. Jay then puts humility (or “being humble”) in its place by opting for “being respectful” instead. Here Hov demonstrates that humility won’t get you anywhere in the hood. So he “respectfully” –not humbly –proclaims that he is “a project baby” and wonders what else people could have expected from him.
Jay then raps,
Merica’s (meaning America) disrespect for me, you killed Christ, you created religion unexpectedly. This line is most possibly a reference to his now distant past, where he got in trouble with the law and came into lots of criticism. In essence, Jay intimates that “killing him” through the criticism unexpectedly created a lot of good (an investment revolution).
Separating the Sheep from GOATs
Jigga then proceeds to describe his outlook on life from a unique vantage point –drinking Japanese whiskey on ice from his mezzanine floor, which overlooks Los Angeles (the City of Angels). He then states that he has had an unprecedented run because of how
the ‘angel’ invested in things. Here he is referring to being an angel investor in many businesses.
Jay then makes light of how most rappers are always talking about getting ‘bands’ (money looped in rubber bands) while Jay and his circle (or rather –him and Nas) are busy dancing to different drums. This is a double entendre which also refers to “bands” –as in –the musical bands which play drums and trumpets. Jay-Z separates himself from the said set of rappers by clarifying he is dancing to different drums.
The Jay-Z Line Which Shook Nas!
As a fun fact, Nas claims Jay-z’s “dancing to different drums” bar had him shook and made him want to go back to rewrite the lines of his verse, lol. See Nas talk about that here. All in all, by the said line, King Hov is simply emphasizing that they are on some higher and different level thinking from most rappers. Hov finally shuts it down by stating that he likes the person he has transformed into.
Jay-z then proceeds by suggesting that he does some intermittent fasting but clarifies that he is not missing lunch when it comes to the mills. This is another double entendre. You must be tired of how many of these there are on this song, huh? Lol. Anyway, just think “meals” on “mills” –and how you skip meals when you are fasting. So Jay-Z is simply stating that even though he may do some fasting when it comes to money, he’s unapologetically not missing a meal (mill) –SORRY!].
Mignardise: The “Honeysweet” Harmonies on the Song
P.S. Let’s not pretend we didn’t hear those amazing harmonies by “The Hive” all over this timeless banger. Come on, they made the whole song immaculate! –especially towards the end. Well, if you ain’t guessed it by now, “The Hive” is doubtlessly an alias or pseudonym for none other than Beyonce Knowles Carter herself –Queen of “The Beyhive.” That’s a real thing, by the way. It’s a moniker for Beyonce’s fandom…and believe it or not, they actually sting hard to defend their Queen, lol! Cross them at your own peril!
“Sorry Not Sorry” is a classic example of ‘two-many’ cooks saved the broth –but blew up the kitchen! (Too much fire!) It is also the perfect depiction of what happens when two GOATs are allowed to cook… Too many bars are dropped –so it gets “baa-ry” (you dig?). Anyway, with that being said, we hope you enjoyed your meal.
And just so it’s crystal clear, this song or its review was not your standard seven-course meal –we had to mess up the arrangement of your order too! Thank you, please call again.
Dessert: The Unnoticeable But Powerful Significance of “Sorry Not Sorry”
If you were here only for the song meaning and song review, we say congratulations! The review is over, so that you can end here. This section explains the unnoticeable –but powerful significance of this historic song to hip-hop culture in general and communities heavily influenced by hip-hop.
This song has the potential to revolutionize the tone, content, and message of hip-hop and rap music as we know it! Something great and unique is always bound to happen when two juggernauts join forces and collaborate to create something special. Well, guess what, something special did happen!
You see, Jay-Z and Nas are legends of the game, and their actions and moves are widely watched and mimicked by the younger generations. So their rapping about venturing into high-level deals, angel investing, start-ups, and other legitimate businesses and wanting ordinary people to do the same could really set the tone for listeners and young rappers.
Undeniably, both legends came from hard times and admitted to having sold illegal drugs in their past. But they are now making it clear that it’s 2021, and nobody really has to do that anymore. Starting businesses and making investments has now become really easy. All you need is a smartphone and some knowledge you can get for free off the internet –and you pretty much could be well on your way to growing a six-figure business.
So, as a result of the underlying message in this revolutionary song, hip-hop could see a significant change in direction, quality, and content of lyrics going forward. Many communities that are heavily influenced by hip-hop music could also see a shift in mindset to one which is less about drugs, objectification, violence, and mindless partying.
Hopefully, the said shift results in a mindset that appreciates true education, investments, building good communities and values. This song provides hope that such a shift could already be upon us, and hopefully, things swing that way for the benefit of the hip-hop community and the world at large. Believe it or not, hip-hop has more influence and power over the world than most people realize –largely because it is also a lifestyle. It will be amazing to have such a powerful force working to educate and improve the quality of the world as we know it. We can only hope.