J. Cole and his right hand man Ibrahim "IB" Hamad went to LA in February 2012 thinking they were going to finish Born Sinner off. This is one of the tracks that survived that time period.
This song finds Cole rapping about his humble childhood in Fayetteville, North Carolina, where he had to share a bedroom with his brother. He goes on to spit about his move to New York City to jump start his rap career, his trip to the West Coast and the ensuing struggle with temptation there.
The stylization of the song title is a strong hint as to where Cole thinks the "snakes" are. Cole explained to Hartford, Connecticut., radio station Hot 93.7: "The L and the A are capitalized in' Land.' It is roughly about this time I went to LA to record an album and I thought about moving out there. I considered it, but the other side was telling me, 'Don't do it, it's dangerous.' You can lose yourself in Los Angeles, it has a dangerous climate - loosely [the song] is about that. It's just an ill song, [it has] a lot of good flows, and the beat is crazy."
The snake as a symbol of the tempter goes back to the biblical account in Genesis 3 1-6 where the Devil disguised himself as a serpent when he successfully persuaded Eve to rebel against God.
The song samples the descending synths of Outkast's 1998 track "Da Art of Storytellin' (Pt. 1.)" Hammad told Vibe magazine: "(We) Thought Outkast was going to tax us for 100% but they were generous, I'm just glad they cleared the sample."