The Seed (2.0)

Album: Phrenology (2002)
Charted: 33
  • songfacts ®
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • 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 and became the hit. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Brian - Edmonton, Canada
  • The Roots' version of the "Seed 2.0" is a genre-bending song - most critics couldn't figure out exactly what to call it. Alexis Petridis probably found the best descriptor when he wrote in the Guardian he called it "an individual hybrid of distorted rock, hip-hop and psychedelic soul, blessed with a fantastic chorus."

    The lyrics speak from the perspective of a guy trying to get women knocked up behind his wife's or his girlfriend's back (this is never specified). He's shameless about this. He sees it as keeping his legacy alive.

    And I'm left to shine, but the legacy I leave behind
    Be the seed that'll keep the flame
    I don't ask for much but enough room to spread these wings
    And the world gonna know my name


    There are hints of the broader story at play, but it becomes convoluted when you try to pin it down. He appears to have had a baby with his "main" woman already, and she's greedy and demanding.

    She want platinum or ice or gold
    She want a whole lot of somethin' to fold


    After that, the song discusses a woman named Mary and a woman named Cadillac, and the singer identifies himself as the code name The Only One. The chorus declares that if Mary's baby drops that night, he'll name her Rock and Roll. This references back to the song's first verse:

    Knocked up nine months ago
    And what she gonna have she don't know
    She want neo-soul, this hip-hop is old
    She don't want no rock'n'roll


    It's one of those songs that becomes more convoluted the more you try to put together a precise linear narrative. Either way, the general spirit is that the guy wants to get as many women pregnant as possible.
  • The music video, directed by Jesse Peretz, was nominated for the MTV2 Award in 2003. It lost to "Girl's Not Grey" by AFI.
  • Questlove and Cody ChesnuTT produced the song.
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Comments: 18

  • Brian from Sacramento, CaAgreed, 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.
  • Shannon from Houston, TxIt 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.
  • Tito from Berlin, GermanyI 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
  • Shannon from Seattle, WaThe 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.
  • Ryan from Glassboro, Nji 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 not
  • Tanya from Los Angeles, CaThis song is not about sex, people. It's about transcending musical genres.
  • Moni from Los Angeles, CaI 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.
  • Nick from Northbrook, IlZen, its obviously not just about getting a girl impregnated
  • T. Michels from Venlo, NetherlandsLovely 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.
  • Zen from Newnan, GaWow, 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...
  • Deanell from Cleveland , OhI 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...
    KNOCKED UP ABOUT 9 MONTHS AGO...
    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...

    SHE WANT NEO SOUL, CAUSE HIP HOP IS OLD
    SHE DONT WANT NO ROCK AND ROLL...
    SHE WANT PLATINUM, ICE AND GOLD
    SHE WANTS A WHOLE LOTTA SOMETHING TO FOLD...

    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)

    "IF YOU HAVE AN OBSTACLE SHE JUST DROP YA COLD"
    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...

    "CUZ ONE MONKEY AINT STOPPING THE SHOW"
    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)

    MORE TO COME IF INTERESTED... LET ME KNOW
  • Max from Burlingame, Cathe 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.
  • Nordure from Paris, France"I lick the opposition cause she don't take no pill"
    Hip Hop and R&B are taking birth control pills !!!
    Great song.
  • Abbaabba from Toronto, CanadaSome 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.
  • Jerrica from N/a, GaI love this song so much. "I push my seed somewhere deep in her chest" what does that mean?
  • Mercury from Oswego, NyHey Barry,
    It's "I push my seed in her, I push for life."
    - Mercury
  • Barry from San Diego, CaI 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.
  • Maddie from Miami, Flwhat is this song about?...ive been searching forever
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