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TobyMac's Ill-M-I Song Meaning
Ill-M-I is a TobyMac song that makes little sense to the first time listener. After searching the web you will find that there is very little information regarding the meaning of the lyrics. Mac has said in interviews that the song is about the Pharisees, and draws from Jesus’ scathing remarks (in Matthew 23) about people who act like they are righteous, but are actually hypocrites. In this article, I will attempt to explain the meaning of the song line by line. Enjoy! Feel free to add your comments about the meaning of the song below. (The lyrics to the song will be italicized for clarity.)
Other Song Interpretations
- "This Land is Your Land, This Land is my Land" The Communist Side of Woody Guthrie
This land is your land, this land is my land" lyrics that are sung by many Americans today. Little do they know the song has communist roots.
- A Christian Interpretation of Dave Matthews Band's Lie in Our Graves
Are you a Christian who sometimes wishes you could listen to secular songs, but feel bad about doing it? Well here is a song by Dave Matthews that can easily be interpreted with a Christian meaning.
Ill-M-I, Ill-M-I, Ill-M-I, Ill-M-I and you
I’ve got a problem and so do you
Illuminati comin' thru
The Illuminati were a group of people
who referred to themselves as the enlightened ones. Sounds a little snobbish
huh? Mac is warning about self righteousness and pride coming through.
Flow like the Cassius, swing like the Clay
Cassius Clay is the real name of a pretty famous boxer who uttered some very similar words. Mohamed Ali “float like a butterfly sting like a bee” Basically he is saying that this rap is of high quality but it has a message that hits hard.
One day, I'm'a make the whole world pay
The whole world will one day be judged for their sins.
With k.o.'s and okay we bash clots-n-dot-dash
got that right, I'm'a rock the Morse code tonight
Basically, the message is not going to be an easy one to understand. It is going to have to be decoded.
'n throwin' fits 'n paparazzi like zits
Get flipped out and squeezed fresh like juicy sun kissed
The purpose of the song is to “flip out and squeeze fresh” “paparazzi like zits”
And what are paparazzi zits? Toby Mac is referring to those who practice righteousness with the sole purpose of gaining attention. Like the Pharisee’s of his day they are no better than zits.
if I miss with my missles you're still gonna sizzle
If you don’t hear the message, well that’s too bad, there is a punishment.
'Cause I frizzle fry radiation style worldwide
Toby is using a clever cultural reference to say in effect “I’m evangelizing”.
Frizzle Fry is an album on which the number one song was “John the Fisherman”.
Mac is using this analogy to say that he is a “fisher of men”.
You got your pipeline clogged man get that puppy routed
You are missing the point. You don’t have a real relationship with Jesus.
You got the style down and since you don't know about it
You act like you are righteous but you aren’t, you’re just performing.
Who's the loser (I am) because we come in numb love
Who is not righteous? Me! That is the attitude people should have, one of humility, not pride. Because the message is one of love and forgiveness.
And choicer and did I mention looser (no you didn't)
And it is better and easier because we no longer have to follow all of the rules of the old law.
Then I do sir, producer, hit me with the juice
God, give me the Holy Spirit.
Much obliged got the head of a moose
Thanks, I need it, (speaking of himself) I have a huge ego. (My head is as big as Moose’s)
So mount me on the wall of your livin' room
So humble me, use me as an example
Sure to bring the boom
That will make people talk
Speakin' like a zoom deep into your tomb
Speaking like a “zoom” ,as in, “zoom
in”, to your heart. Jesus said in Matthew 23:27 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you
hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside
but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean
And if you feel the vibe glide true it's on you
If this is you, its your
responsibility to change it
And if you need to drive right through it's on you
If its not, good!
And if your screamin' "moi non plus" it's like
Moi non plus, is French for me
What you tryin' to do when you can't fade the true one
You need to check yourself again, and
remember, your glory will never surpass that of Jesus. No matter what you do.
Eruption type volcanics I got the vocal spurtmatic
This is straight from the heart, the message mimics Jesus’ message.
Suction cup hands upside the slammin' daily planet
Got me on this one, I can’t figure it out. Anyone know?
I do windows (on school days) spill Jim Jones (type kool-aid)
I’m cleaning things up, revealing false prophets and pretentious righteousness, (most of us know about the mass suicide created by Jim Jones)
All these primrose (style bouquets) I clip those (for doomsday)
All of these people who think they
have it together, Im knocking them off their pedestal.
succulent flavor, the uprisen Savior
Manifestin' thru these mics, blastin' out your graveyard
This is straight from the word of God,
I’m pointing out your “graveyard”
every bite that TOBYMAC gave ya
Turn and tell your neighbor this ball-o-dirt is goin' into labor
Listen: God could return at any moment.
Matthew 24:7-8 For nation will rise up in armsagainst nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be faminesand earthquakesin various places. Allthese things are the beginning of birth pains.
Ill-M-I is an incredibly artful song, full of metaphors and analogies. I hope my analysis has brought you a little more understanding. If you have any questions, ask them below and I will try to provide a timely answer.