Lupe Fiasco's Michael Young History - The breakdown of "The Cool" Story

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I was always interested in this whole story. I liked how it went on over the course of different songs & even went on over 2 seperate albums. What sealed the deal to look into the story even more was when I was watching the Superstar video & noticed the right hand of bones & the skull chain. I figuered there was a connection, then searched for the streets & found her with the dollar sign eyes. I was pleasantly surprised by seeing this. I than researched the story in Lupe's lyrics & figuered I'd share it & break it down for your guys. Here it is for some that either know, don't know, or don't know a lot about it.

**Cliffnotes -  Just read the plot

Characters -

Michael Young History (AKA "the Cool") - A young kid with no father, a mother, & a young sister. No father figure in his life has caused him to fall to temptations in life in order to be accpeted & in order to be "cool". He is pictured as having a right hand of all bones, right hand meaning he has lost his righteousness. Michael Young History is 1st recognized in He Say, She Say and ends in The Cool.

The Streets - A woman personified as temptation & deception. The streets is a charector who is married to "The Game". She is represented as having a locket, with the key who she only hands out to a few. This key represents "The key to the streets." AKA - Money, fame, popularity.

The Game - Married to the Streets. The Game is a charector personified as the hustlers game, the pimps game, etc. He is the skill & the brain behind certain "cool success". He is designed as a skull head, with dice eyes, & inhales/exhales crack smoke.

Spoiler [+]
You can see each represented on the album cover The Cool.

Plot -

Michael Young History (aka "The Cool") grows up with a tough life. He is abandoned by his father at a young age & struggles with life & school. The fact he has no father in his life is what hurts the most, despite having a young sister who cares for him & a hard working mother. Fed up with the struggles he is going through in life, he turns to "The Streets" & "The Game." The streets is personified as the lure & deception that is what the streets are, while her husband, the Game, personifies what is a hustle & a job. Such as, a pimps game, a hustlers game, an entrepreneurs game. In this case, The Game is the brain behind drug dealing. Both of these charectors take the place of guidance in Michael Young Historys life & he is now a drug dealer.

Over time, The Cool & The streets begin a love connection. She has a key to her, which is a key to the streets. The fortune, the fame, the glamour... The "Cool". She has given the key to some in the past, but gives it to him now.

Amongst all this success that The Streets & The Game have brought to The Cool, he once again goes through trouble.

The Game & The Cool are coming back from a club one night & stop so The Game can use the bathroom. While The cool is in the car (listening to the song The Cool), He is shot & killed.

It's never reavealed who killed The Cool. But, with the love affair going on between The Cool & The Streets, I wouldn't be surprised if it was The Game. Especially since the song following The Cools death (The Die) is Put You on Game.

Michael Young History then is later buried & breaks free in The Cool. He journeys back (with a right hand of just bones because he has lost all righteousness) & goes back to where he was shot. The reason he is not dead in the 1st place & the reaosn for his quote at the ending of the song The Cool is basically because he was rejected by Heaven & to bad for Hell.

Songs the story is told in -

-Real Recognize Real (Introduces The Game & The Streets)
Spoiler [+]
[Verse 2:]
They say the streets is a demon in a dress
Wit dollar signs in her eyes and semen on her breath (UH!)
Scantly clad, no panties, deep throating in an alley
Aging badly in sunglasses she pretty
Slain boyfriend names is tattooed on her titties
Sprinkling greed ignorance and envy inside of a Philly
Hennessey tears, +**'ll bring ya enemy's here
Flirt wit her flaws till you run up in her raw


[Verse 3:]
They say the game has the belly of a beast
Blunts for fingers and hollow tips for teeth
Wire taps for ears, Nike Airs for feet
Blasphemy for prayers, a system for a heart
Rap music for beats, heroin for a son and its married to the streets
Crack pipes for lungs, and he never sleeps
Just spies, wit dice in his eyes
Loves life cuz he likes when it dies
Wit a baking soda soul, he cough up pleasure
Clothes made out of dollar bills that he sewed together
He knows, he's clever, jealous his house
All the liquor that's poured out, goes right in his mouth
Rides around on a stray bullet;
Wit prostitutes, pimps, dope dealers and killers tied to it to pull it
A TV in his head, stripper slides down his legs
And he's known to ride around wit feds, and he's OUT THERE


-He Say, She Say
Spoiler [+]
I can't, I won't, I can't, I won't
Let you leave
I don't know what you want
You want more from me?

She said to him
"I want you to be a father
He's your little boy and you don't even bother
Like "brother" without the R
And he's starting to harbor
Cool and food for thought
But for you he's a starver
Starting to use red markers on his work
His teacher say they know he's much smarter
But he's hurt
Used to hand his homework in first
Like he was the classroom starter
Burst to tears
Let them know she see us
Now he's fighting in class
Got a note last week that say he might not pass
Ask me if his daddy was sick of us
Cause you ain't never pick him up
You see what his problem is?
He don't know where his poppa is
No positive male role model
To play football and build railroad models
It's making a hole you've been digging it
Cause you ain't been kicking it
Since he was old enough to hold bottles
Wasn't supposed to get introduced to that
He don't deserve to get used to that
Now I ain't asking you for money or to come back to me
Some days it ain't sunny but it ain't so hard
Just breaks my heart
When I try to provide and he say 'Mommy that ain't your job'
To be a man, I try to make him understand
That I'm his number one fan
But its like he born from the stands
You know the world is out to get him, so why don't you give him a chance?"

So he said to him
"I want you to be a father
I'm your little boy and you don't even bother
Like "brother" without the R
And I'm starting to harbor
Cool and food for thought
But for you I'm a starver
Starting to use red markers on my work
My teacher say they know I'm much smarter
But I'm hurt
I used to hand my homework in first
Like I was the classroom starter
Burst to tears
Let them know he see us
Now I'm fighting in class
Got a note last week that say I might not pass
Kids ask me if my daddy is sick of us
Cause you ain't never pick me up
You see what my problem is?
That I don't know where my poppa is
No positive male role model
To play football and build railroad models
It's making a hole you've been digging it
Cause you ain't been kicking it
Since I was old enough to hold bottles
Wasn't supposed to get introduced to that
I don't deserve to get used to that
Now I ain't asking you for money or to come back to me
Some days it ain't sunny but it ain't so hard
Just breaks my heart
When my momma try to provide and I tell her 'That ain't your job'
To be a man, she try to make me understand
That she my number one fan
But its like you born from the stands
You know the world is out to get me, why don't you give me a chance?"

-The Coolest
Spoiler [+]
[Intro]
The coolest !@!$+, what? The coolest !@!$+, what? [4x]

[Chorus:]
The coolest !@!$+, what? The coolest !@!$+, what?
The coolest !@!$+, what? The coolest !@!$+, what?
The coolest !@!$+, what? The coolest !@!$+, what?
The coolest !@!$+, what? The coolest !@!$+, what?
Lord please have sympathy
And forgive my cool young history (Michael Young History)
As...
The coolest !@!$+, what? The coolest !@!$+, what?
The coolest !@!$+, what? The coolest !@!$+, what?

[Verse 1]
I love the lord
But sometimes it's like that I love me more
I love the peace, and I love the war
I love the seas, and I love the shore
No love for no beach, baby that's law
But she doesn't see, therefore I spoil
I trick, I fall, run up in raw
I love her with all my heart
Every vein, every vessel, every bullet lodged
With every flower that I ever took apart
She said, that she would give me greatness, status, placement
Above the others, my face with grace covers of the magazines
Of the hustlers, paper, the likes of which
That I had never seen, her eyes glow green
With the logo of our dreams, the purpose of our scene
A obscene obsession for the bling
She would be my queen, I could be her king, together
She would make me cool, and we would both rule, forever
And I would never feel pain
And never be without pleasure, ever, again
And if the rain stops, and everything's dry
She would cry, just so I could drink the tears from her eyes
She'd teach my how to fly, even cushion my fall
If my engines ever stall, and I plummet from the sky
But she would keep me high, and if I ever die
She would commission my image on her bosom, to him
Or maybe she'd retire as well
A match made in Heaven set the fires in Hell, and I'll be

[Chorus]

[Verse 2]
And so began our reign
The trinity, her and I can
No weather man could ever stand where her and I came
Hella hard, umbrella whatever, put plywood over Pella panes
And pray to God that the flood subside
'cause you're gonna need a sub 'til he does reply
And not one of Jared's, you think it's all arid
And everything's irie, another supply
That means another July inside my endless summer
That was just the eye of the Unger
Felix, 'cause he is the cleanest amongst the younger
Outstanding achieving up-and-comers
The ones that had dead-beat daddies, and well-to-do mamas
But not well enough to keep 'em from us
The ones that were, fighting in class, who might not pass
Rap record pressured to laugh, at a life not fast
Can you feel it? [echo], that's what I got asked
Do I love her? [echo], said I don't know
Streets got my heart, game got my soul
One time missing sunshine will never hurt your soul
Quote: To a crying dishonored baby mama
Who's the mama to a daughter that I had fathered from afar
My new lady gave me a Mercedes and a necklace
With a solid gold key, like the starter of a car
The opener of a door or two pounds of raw
You gave me a baby, but what about lately?
Then ha-ha-ha-ha-haw'ed, right up in her face, G
There's more fish in the sea, I'm on my mission to be, be

[Chorus]

[Outro]
Come, these are the tales of The Cool
Guaranteed to go and make you fail from your school
And seek unholy grails like a fool
And hang with the players of the pool, fast talking on the hustle
No Heaven up above you, no Hell underneath you (Which is why he comes back to life in "[color= rgb(255, 0, 0)]The Cool[/color]")
And nowhere will receive thee, so
Shed no tear, when we're not here
And keep your faith, as we chase
...The Cool

-Put You on Game
Spoiler [+]
Lemme put you on game [gunshot]
Lemme put you on game

Don't you know that I run this place,
And I've begun this race,
Must I rerun this pace?
I'm the reason its become this way
And their love for it is the reason I have become this praised
(lemme put you on game)
They love my darkness,
I make them heartless,
And in return, the have become my martyrs,
I've been in the poem of many a poet,
And I reside in the art of many a artist
(lemme put you on game)
Some of your smartest have tried to artictulate
My whole part in this
But they're fruitless in their harvestin'
The drow grows from my footsteps
I'm the one that they follow,
I am the one that they march with
(lemme put you on game)
Through the back alleys
And the black markets,
The Oval Offices,
Crackhouses and apartments
Through the mazes of the queens,
The pages of the sages
And the Chambers of The Kings
(lemme put you on game)
Through the veins-es of the fiends,
A paper chaser's pager,
Yo, I'm famous on the scene
One of the oldest, most ancient-est of things
Seak every single language on the planet, y'all mean?
(lemme put you on game)
I am the American dream,
The rape of Africa
The undying machine,
The overpriced medicine,
The murderous regime,
The tough guy's front,
And the one behind the scenes
(lemme put you on game)
I am the blood of this city,
It's gas, water, and electricity,
I'm it's gym, and it's math, and it's history,
The gunshots in the class
And you can't pass if you're missin, G.
I taught them better than that
I taught them aim for the head
And hope they never come back
I'm glad your daddy's gone, baby,
Hope he never comes back,
I hope he's with your mother,
With my hustlers high in my trap
(lemme put you on game)
I hope you die in his trash,
I can't help it all I hear when you're crying is laughs
I'm sure somebody find you tied up in this bag,
Behind the hospital little baby,
Crack addicts had
(lemme put you on game)
Then maybe you can grow up to be a stripper,
A welfare-receiving prostitute
And gold digger,
You can watch on TV,
How they should properly depict you,
The rivers should flow with liqour,
Quench your thirst on my elixers,
(lemme put you on game)
I am the safe haven for the rebel runaway and the resistor
Ihe trusted misleader,
The number one defender,
And from a throne of their bones I rule,
These fools are my fuel
So I make them Cool
(lemme put you on game)
Baptize them in the water out of Scarface pool,
And feed 'em from the table that held Corleone's food,
If you die, tell them that you played my game
I hope your bullet holes become mouths that say my name,
'Cause I'm the... [gunshot](Gunshot referenced because of "The Cools" death?

-The Die
Spoiler [+]
(The ending - The Death of "The Cool")
[Lupe] Ay ay hold this right there.
I'll be, i'll be right back i gotta take a piss man hold on.
Fa sho. Ay man, ay don't leave i'll be right back.
Ay don't leave i'll be back.
[Gemstones] Hurry your +** up man. Damn.
Coolest !@!$+ what, coolest !@!$+ what, coolest !@!$+ what.
Hustla for life!!!
Ay man, !@!$+ hurry your +** up. %!**.
Imma cool +** !@!$+ man.
#%#@%* three in tha mornin.
I'm tha coolest mutha****a in tha world man.
@$+*#* ain't #%#@%* with me man.
!@!$+ i'm high, smokin. Fly +** car.
I run these mutha****in streets, and these @$+*#* out here lookin for me.
Man i wish a mutha****a would...
Ay !@!$+ hurry your +** up, !@!$+. Damn
[footsteps and a gun cocking]
[random voice] Whats up now !@!$+?
Ain't to cool now is you !@!$+?
*Shots

-The Cool
Spoiler [+]
He came back
In the same suit that he was buried in
Similar to the one his grand father was married in
Yes... he was still fresh to death
bling, two ear-rings, a chain laying on his chest
He still had it cuz they couldn't find it
And the bullets from his enemies sat like two inches behind it
smelled the Hennesy from when his @$+*#* got reminded
and poured out liquor in his memory, he didn't mind it, But...
He couldn't sip it fast enough
So the liquor was just filling the casket up
floating down by his feet was the letter from his sister
Second Grade hand-writing simply read "I miss ya"
Suit jacket pocket held his baby daughter's picture
Right next to it one of his man's stuck a swisher
He had a notion as he laid there soaking
Saw that the latch was broken, he kicked his casket open
and he...

[Chorus]

This life goes passing you by
It might go fast if you lie
You go and you live then you die...

O-oh-oh-ohh

If life goes passing you by
Don't cry
If you breaking the rules
Making your moves
Paying your dues...
Chasing the cool

Not at all nervous as he dug to the surface
Tarnished gold chain is what he loosened up the earth with
He used his mouth as a shovel to try and hollow it
and when he couldn't dirt spit... swollowed it
Working like a.. hmm.. reverse archaeologist
Except.. his buried treasure was sunshine
So when some shined through a hole that he had drove
it reflected off the gold and almost made son blind
He grabbed on to some grass, he climbed
Pulled himself up out of his own grave and looked at the time
On the watch that had stopped six months after the shots
That had got him in the box wringing Henny out his socks
Figured it was hours because he wasn't older
Used some flowers to brush the dirt up off his shoulders - so..
With a right hand that was all bones and no reason to stay
Decided to walk home
so he..

[Chorus]

He begged for some change to get him on a train
"Damn that !@!$+ stank", is what they complained
Tried to light the blunt but it burst into flames
Caught the reflection in the window of what he became
A long look... Wasn't shook, wasn't ashamed
Matter fact only thing on his brain was brains.. yeah
And getting back in his lane, doing his thang
First he had to find something to slang
Next stop was his block
It had the same cops
Walked right past the same spot where he was shot
Shocked that some lil' @$+*#* tried to sell him rocks
It just felt weird being on the opposite
They figured that he wasn't from there
so they pulled out and robbed him
with the same gun they shot him with
Put it to his head and said "You scared ain't ya?"
He said: "Hustler for death. No heaven for a gangsta."


I basically underlined key points, but most songs tell thr whole story throughout.

Superstar video appearances -
Spoiler [+]
The Cool (Michael Young History) -

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The Game -

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The Streets -
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Wow.....That's all I can say, wow. I never fully peeped food and liquor so I aint catch the story from jump but I remember "The Cool" and all the songs I heard in reference to him. U gotta love Hip Hop to actually notice the pattern and follow it. U gotta be Lupe or a Hip Hop guru to figure out everything OP posted


Sometimes tho, I feel like "The Cool", tho given an image, a body is nothin more than rhetorical symbolism of the game/Hip Hop/the industry/etc.... That's just my 2cents tho
 
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Originally Posted by Dathbgboy

Sometimes tho, I feel like "The Cool", tho given an image, a body is nothin more than rhetorical symbolism of the game/Hip Hop/the industry/etc.... That's just my 2cents tho
thats exactly what it is... dude is a metaphor...
 
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Un. Believable.


I ended up hearing The Cool before hearing Food & Liquor so the story was kind of a (?) when I first heard people talking about it. Recently listened to Food & Liquor and the Leaked version with some of those tracks u mentioned. Excellent job on breaking this down, where the hell did you find all the info on this though?!

Kind of funny, I always LOVED The Coolest & The Die but didn't know about the back story, just thought they were SUPERB tracks. This definitely adds to it now


Brilliance at its finest.
 
7,146
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Joined Aug 23, 2003
Originally Posted by MusicalExcellence

Originally Posted by Dathbgboy

Sometimes tho, I feel like "The Cool", tho given an image, a body is nothin more than rhetorical symbolism of the game/Hip Hop/the industry/etc.... That's just my 2cents tho
thats exactly what it is... dude is a metaphor...
its life and how the world functions in general imo. He touches upon a lot of other stuff besides the industry.

plus isn't Streets on Fire about the streets?
 
26,904
382
Joined Nov 1, 2005
Originally Posted by true 3 blue

Un. Believable.


I ended up hearing The Cool before hearing Food & Liquor so the story was kind of a (?) when I first heard people talking about it. Recently listened to Food & Liquor and the Leaked version with some of those tracks u mentioned. Excellent job on breaking this down, where the hell did you find all the info on this though?!

Kind of funny, I always LOVED The Coolest & The Die but didn't know about the back story, just thought they were SUPERB tracks. This definitely adds to it now


Brilliance at its finest.
It was just breaking down the lyrics & comparing / matching them to the songs that consisted of the whole story. Little bits of info are scattered throughout all of the verses.

I was in the same boat too, I was a fan of certain songs in this story, but didn't know the whole meaning behind it. Once I recognized references in other songs here & there it was a matter of piecing them together & I was
To say the least
 
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plus isn't Streets on Fire about the streets?




Overall, yes. The thing is, it doesn't add info to the story itself. (Atleast in my point of view).

The theme of the song revolves around the streets, but the subject matter in the verses revolves around what I think to be life, society, the rap game & media.
 
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Joined Aug 23, 2003
Originally Posted by AIRJORDAN JB23

plus isn't Streets on Fire about the streets?


Overall, yes. The thing is, it doesn't add info to the story itself. (Atleast in my point of view).

The theme of the song revolves around the streets, but the subject matter in the verses revolves around what I think to be life, society, the rap game & media.

tru tru
 
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holy crap, i just resurrected the og advance F&L copy. I forgot how much better this version is that the retail
 
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Originally Posted by TeamJordan79

Originally Posted by MusicalExcellence

Originally Posted by Dathbgboy

Sometimes tho, I feel like "The Cool", tho given an image, a body is nothin more than rhetorical symbolism of the game/Hip Hop/the industry/etc.... That's just my 2cents tho
thats exactly what it is... dude is a metaphor...
its life and how the world functions in general imo. He touches upon a lot of other stuff besides the industry.

plus isn't Streets on Fire about the streets?
yea its about life in general but it can definitely be applied to rap...

and i dunno... streets on fire just seemed like a story in itself... its essentially about a disease... metaphorically i have no idea...
 
17,270
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Joined Mar 14, 2006
Originally Posted by MusicalExcellence

Originally Posted by TeamJordan79

Originally Posted by MusicalExcellence

Originally Posted by Dathbgboy

Sometimes tho, I feel like "The Cool", tho given an image, a body is nothin more than rhetorical symbolism of the game/Hip Hop/the industry/etc.... That's just my 2cents tho
thats exactly what it is... dude is a metaphor...
its life and how the world functions in general imo. He touches upon a lot of other stuff besides the industry.

plus isn't Streets on Fire about the streets?
yea its about life in general but it can definitely be applied to rap...

and i dunno... streets on fire just seemed like a story in itself... its essentially about a disease... metaphorically i have no idea...
Yea, the disease could be a metaphor/symbolism for the negatives that plague the world. Essentially it's something that we're ignorant to as far as origin, purpose, remedy, etc. Of course I could be lookin too deep into it.
 
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if you wanna hear the breakdown in song format , listen to this. Lupe turned one song into a classic album.
 
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