In 2021, rap artist Baby Keem released his world renowned album The Melodic Blue. The song 16 was featured on the album and quickly became a hot track within the hip-hop community. 16 generated tons of buzz because of its unique way of portraying Keem’s ideals about life and his perspective on mentorship. He offers parental-like advice in a creative and nonjudgmental way – something most of his supports presumably demand.
16 offers an opportunity for one to forgive and forget, while leaving the past behind. The song depicts an individual who has broken the trust of his friends and family, but comes to realize that he can regain their trust by apologizing for his wrongdoing. As the song transitions, we gain a new perspective of the speaker, one that is harnesses the ability to realize that the mistrust experienced by both parties is not very serious from the gecko. This song demonstrates a clear theme that: a person must apologize to regain the trust of their loved one, but in hindsight, our struggles and difficulties are never really that crucial, and life continues to move on. The multidimensional lyrics reiterate this notion.
Drown yourself in expensive fabrics
This quote serves as the first time that Keem offers context into his coping mechanisms for his struggles. He sheds light on the broken friendship with his mother and girlfriend. These coping mechanisms provide the audience with reasoning for as to why Keem first struggle to apologize for his wrongdoings. Instead of apologizing, Keem indulges in luxury goods and material objects. This insight further enhances the meaning of the song and reemphasizes the importance of apologizing. This line correlates to the struggles of initiating an apology to someone you may have hurt, and how at times, our minds can be consumed with distractors.
What’s love? I guess I’ll never understand
In the quoted line, the listener, for the first time, hears Keems acknowledgement of his wrongdoings. This point in the song marks the transition from the denial period to acceptance, in this cast, wrongdoing and moving towards apology. Keem is able to take a look in the mirror and realize that his struggles with his girlfriend are beyond himself. In order to gain her trust, he must acknowledge what he has done wrong. Additionally, this quote builds on the theme of coming to realize that things are truly never that serious and life continues to flow.
Every time I say sorry, I do that shit again
Keem chooses to end the song with this necessary and powerful line. This quote incapsulates the multiple messages of the song, from the importance of apologizing to the significance of messing up again. Furthermore, this end line magnifies the meaning of the song by reinforcing the importance of apologizing, but also realizing that trust might be broken again. Realizing that life continues to move on even with our struggles, goes hand in hand with understanding that wrongdoing *might* occur again.