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The Seed (2.0) by The Roots

Album: PhrenologyReleased: 2002Charted:
  • This is a reworking of an original recording, "The Seed," by Cody Chestnutt, who is a featured vocalist on this track. It appeared on his 2002 debut album Headphone Masterpiece, which he recorded in his bedroom. This version with The Roots is much more polished. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Brian - Edmonton, Canada
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Comments: 18

Agreed, this is about song genres and the music industry. Here is my guess:

They are sneaking an out of genre song in under the music industry radar. This song. And saying in the song that's what they are doing, with sex/plant/religious metaphors. Clever irony.

"Mary", his lover, is the music industry - all about money, controlling artistic freedom, and popularity. Black Thought, in the "knocked up" opening is talking about the industry releasing this song without really knowing what it's about or being able to control it. He talks about the genres/styles the industry wants, based on money. He is going to show the industry what's next. Them working together, getting a little artistic freedom is enough, and getting popular.

2nd Rap is a Black Thought more typical rap lyrics self-promotion verse.

Cody is talking about not whining or begging about the industry control and money. And he is sneaking one in on them. All the seed and baby metaphors are about starting this new style, and watching it grow, without the industry knowing it's happening, against their will. And it will work because they have style and it's clever. They'll be remembered for it. And they'll name it Rock'N'Roll.
Brian - Sacramento, Ca
It is obvious when you analyze the lyrics and context/ do research on the artists that the song is not just about a guy wanting to make love to another girl. It is so much more symbolic than that. If you read the lyrics you would understand that if the song was just about meaningless sex than half of his lines would not make sense...

The title of the song " the seed" has a lot of meaning. A seed is suggestive of a new beginning, and the possibility of growth. "the seed" represents the birth of a new kind of music that transcends the rest- a fusion of rock and hip hop? also displaying hope that this new form of music will be able to grow.

"She want neo-soul, this hip-hop is old
She don't want no rock'n'roll
She want platinum or ice or gold
She want a whole lot of somethin' to fold
If you a obstacle she just drop ya cold"
These lines say that people only want/expect certain kinds of hip hop music, and people and music artists as well are so used to these types of hip hop that they do not want or strive for change

"little mary is bad"
adressing virgin mary- a symbol of innocence and purity suggesting that we should stray from the idea of hip hop as only correct in its pure (original) form... this is kinda a stretch ... but i'm just guessing.

"I only wanna fertilize another behind my lover's back"
the lover= hip hop. they want to make another form of music besides hip hop.

"i push my seed in her bush for life"
here i think he's kind of a parallell to God- who is a creator... similar to god putting a seed in Mary etc... (there are a lot of religious overtones) "for life"- implies the desire of this new form of hip hop to live on forever? It also may mean literally For Life- for all living things , for people.
Shannon - Houston, Tx
I think its not only about transcending genres.
i think when cody originally wrote it(without the roots being directly involved) it might have been about a guy who feels, that the only proof of him ever having existed will be his children by many women.he´s pushing the seed "for life", his own life.

There were places and times, when powerful men HAD to have more than one woman and many children with them.
(Generally, back in the day u were NOTHING if u didnt reproduce your self, if youre not fertile enough)

often You write a song and in the process u discover many many meanings aside of the meaning you THOUGHT it had.That the beauty of inspired writing.
Could have been that this song happened just like that.He wrote and wrote, and at the end it was about freedom of expression, and Rock n Roll.

just an idea
Tito - Berlin, Germany
The meaning, as with almost all great lyrics, depends on the listener's context and experience. There are many archetypes here. The story can be taken as a literal, rather humorous street story-in this version, 2 guys each think they are getting one up on the girl, while she is playing both of them. It's also got qualities of a tragic fable- pride, arrogance, deceit, etc. And making the woman "Mary", apparently an unwed soon-to-be mother, there are additional religious overtones. Throw in the music genre references, and with some knowledge of the music business, I would interpret there being another level of analogy, in which "Mary" is the record company, being fickle and trendy in its demands for a particular sound. Both guys are aspiring artists, thinking they are playing the record company, getting one over, while the record company is really playing both the artists. Who knows if that is what Chessnut had in mind when writing the lyrics? Sometimes I write poetry not even knowing what it's about, something comes out on paper, and later someone asks, is this about "xxxx", and I'll realize, "yes, that's it", even though I didn't know it when I wrote it.Shannon - Seattle, Wa
i agree with both from hearing the song from a listeners point of view without knowing the comments about the album you would think it is about sex and haveing an illegitimate child and i still do think that is what it' s about but also from hearing the feedback from the writer Cody Chesnutt it is also about musical genres and what notRyan - Glassboro, Nj
This song is not about sex, people. It's about transcending musical genres.Tanya - Los Angeles, Ca
I think he is talking about his fans. Change is hard in the music industry. To go from Hip Hop to Rock n Roll you would have to do it behind some fans backs to get them to see the light about different flavors of music.Moni - Los Angeles, Ca
Zen, its obviously not just about getting a girl impregnatedNick - Northbrook, Il
Lovely song! Surely because it has an old-skool sound to it. First I tought it was about cheating and a hostage (You'll be keeping my baby alive) but that confused me, so I'm happy to know what it is really about.T. Michels - Venlo, Netherlands
Wow, you guys are really complicating things when it comes to this song. The Roots are poets sure enough, but... please give them a little credit, o.k.? In other words, it's just like Freud said, "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar!" The song is about cheating on one's girlfriend or wife and getting another woman pregnant behind her back. Nuff said...Zen - Newnan, Ga
I believe that the guy from Toronto has the song right on. You really have to start at the beginning when it comes to the Roots... The Roots is one of the only even slightly popular hip hop BANDs!...key word is band... The Black Eyed Peas hold nothing to the Roots when it comes to the hip hop part (much love to BEP)
The Roots have consistently stuck with the hip hop band format instead of commercializing like the Pea's last joint...

Back to the song... LYRICS ARE IN ALL CAPS
Everything starts with the beginning verses...
and whats she having she dont know...

This is most likely relating to the time in the studio that they spent putting everything together (locked up) Everyone that knows bands know that sometimes the best way to get things done is cohesively with everyone staging "sitins".
Also listening to the entire cd you see the progression of different sounds and tones that they are making. Just going out picking up Cody Chessnut shows the diversity for the ablum that they had in mind...
At the time of this record was being made there was a big movement of Neo sould music also... You had Music Soul Child, Erika Badu (sp), Angie Stone and others but you also had some bad ass neo rock stars Tracy Chapman, Lenny Kravis...
but there was no connection between the rock and hip hop really since Arrow Smith and Run DMC...


To me this throws the "having a baby intrepretation out the window"

This is explaining how the music they created cant be pigeon holed by the industry...most likely the commment that they got from the label when they drop the demo for the disk...
How could the label market the item (Want a whole lot to fold)

we have all witnessed how an inticipated artist marketing campaign is launched but the first single tanks and you never even know when the disk is going to be coming out...

This is why I love the Roots.. This verse is being rapped by Black Thought (hint hint)
Basically telling them that if everyone aint on board they can and will find replacements.

TRYING TO WRAP IT UP.. this is the next entire stanza...
"Little Marys bad
In these streets she done ran
E'er since when the heat began
I told the girl look here
Calm down I'ma hold your hand
To enable you to keep the plan
Cuz you is quick to learn
And we can make money to burn
If you allow me the latest game
I don't ask for much, but enough room to spread my wings
And the world fittin to know my name
Just listen to me"

This to me is them telling the label that we have been doing this for years and we know that we cant be stereotyped but that's what are friends love about us. This is going to work out we have seen it... Just let us do our think and trust us, we are going to make you money (even if we dont make alot for us)

Deanell - Cleveland , Oh
the whole motif of rock and hip-hop integration represents a general disavowal of musical boundaries, but i think the song's lyrics show a similar conflict. A black man with a white woman (if mary dropped my baby girl tonight), love where it is not necessarily always present (i put my seed in her bush *for life*. that's commitment), or even just free spirited sex for free spirited sex's sake (it's gonna work because im pushin it right). one way or another, this is a song about conventional understanding and how misunderstood it all is.Max - Burlingame, Ca
"I lick the opposition cause she don't take no pill"
Hip Hop and R&B are taking birth control pills !!!
Great song.
Nordure - Paris, France
Some look at this as a song about a man having children with a woman who he is not officially involved with. However if you've seen their interviews about this album, you'd see a different meaning.

A good bet is that Seed 2.0 is about genre transadence in music, and a musical celebration of all sorts of jam. The woman at the beginning I think is some sort of representation of what their listeners expect from music, exspecially their view of black music. Some expect their original neo-soul, others want bling bling hip-hop. But they want to do everything, and right now, they're doing rock and roll. References to the industry and music in general support this "We can make money to burn." "Cadillac need space to roam." "World finally know my name." Other things in the interview support this theory as well.

Wow, that was a lot about that song, but I haven't seen any simular theory anywhere, and it seems so obvious. However, yes, it could jsut be a sex song that was recorded in the guy's bedroom one night, but I doubt that.
Abbaabba - Toronto, Canada
I love this song so much. "I push my seed somewhere deep in her chest" what does that mean?Jerrica - N/a, Ga
Hey Barry,
It's "I push my seed in her, I push for life."
- Mercury
Mercury - Oswego, Ny
I believe this song is about the miracle of birth and about how the band loves rock and roll. First off, Cody Chestnutt states "I only wanna fertilize another behind my lover's back" and also "I push my seed in her bush for life, Its gunna work because im pushing it right." Secondly, Cody Chestnut also states out "If Mary drops my baby girl tonight, Im gunna name her rock and roll" meaning if Mary gives birth to Cody's baby, he shall name it Rock And Roll.Barry - San Diego, Ca
what is this song about?...ive been searching foreverMaddie - Miami, Fl
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