Royce Da 5’9″ Annotates the Lyrics of “Tabernacle” on Genius


Royce Da 5’9″ hits Genius to annotate his own lyrics of “Tabernacle,” first single off his much anticipated album “Layers.” You can read all the annotations below:

The line: “Yeah I wanna share some shit with y’all, All truth, all truth..”
Explanation: This is a story that I’ve been waiting to tell my whole career and I was just waiting on the right time to tell it. This is a story about December 29th: The day that I met Eminem, the day that my grandma died and the day that my son was born. It all happened on the same day. It was a turn of events day.

The line:“Sometime around ’95 I found my calling / And that all coincides with the time that I found my darling”
Explanation: I found my calling when I started getting accepted at the open mic at the Ebony Showcase. I first went to the Hip-Hop Shop when I was 17 and I wasn’t ready. Elzhi, Proof, Marshall, all those dudes were in there just shredding shit. It was too much. This is also around the time I found my wife. I met my wife in Oak Park High School, we had Spanish class together. She was in the 10th grade and I was in the 9th grade. We didn’t become a couple until around 1995, when I was supposed to graduate. I sent my boy Tee to get her number.

The line:“My daddy taught me consistency with his fucking patterns Hallelujah I’m the son of a addict”
Explanation: My father’s addiction was cocaine. It played a real part on his temperament. One minute he’s cool as hell, the next minute he’s beating the shit out of you. We went through the ups and downs of my dad’s temper. Eventually he checked himself into a rehab facility and we had to go with him. It was an in-patient situation. It was a good bonding thing for us and it gave him the opportunity to open up about it to us and shed some light on it. I can distinctly remember him saying, “Don’t ever try to do drugs or drink liquor because you’re not going to be able to do it the same way your friends are because you’re not wired the same way. You’re wired like a Montgomery; we’re addicts by nature.” He told me that at an early age. I didn’t start drinking until I was 21.

The line: “All I would do is go to the studio and The Shelter / Listening to Redman and Heltah Skeltah”
Explanation: I used to tell Sean this and he didn’t believe me, he never believed me. Sean never, ever believed when I’d tell him that I used to rap just like him. He’d be like, “Shut up Royce. When we getting in the studio?”

The line: “Needless to say that December 29th was the day I became a believer in fate”
Explanation: I said this in the song, but I learned this lesson looking back at it in retrospect, as I’m telling you the story. I met all these people for a reason and they all take part in this day. This day is pretty much the first turning point that I’ve ever had in my life. Before that I didn’t take anything serious. When my son, Roycie, was born, it was like this is my turning point— now I have to take this rap shit serious. I didn’t know the lord also put Marshall in my life that same day. With my Granny passing away, I also learned a lesson: God giveth, God taketh away. It just made me pay attention to the universe and respect that there was a God.

The line: “I got a call from my girl’s people saying she’s in labor in the hospital right now, 9th floor. I get on the elevator. Elevator stops on the 5th floor, elevator opens up, my uncle’s standing there crying. Now I’m caught off guard, I’m like, what the fuck?”
Explanation: I didn’t realize the symbolism of having my Granny on the 5th floor and my son being born on the 9th floor and my name being Royce da 5’9” until way after. I didn’t think nothing of it, but then when I started writing the song everything is kind of connecting. It gives me chills.

The line: “They like “Granny’s been in a bad accident, and it ain’t looking good” ”
Explanation: My grandma was headed on her way home from church. And she wasn’t anywhere near the hospital, she was just on her way home and she got into a car accident. They took her to the hospital, which just happened to be the same hospital that then-fiancée was in, having my first-born child.

The line: “Nurses watching, whispering like “that’s the one right there Who got a lady in labor 9 and another lady dying on 5″ ”
Explanation: I didn’t realize the symbolism of having my Granny on the 5th floor and my son being born on the 9th floor and my name being Royce da 5’9” until way after. I didn’t think nothing of it, but then when I started writing the song everything is kind of connecting. It gives me chills.

The line: “By this time I don’t even fuckin’ remember that I got a show. Somebody had to remind me. The doors was already open at the venue.”
Explanation: I ended up having to still go to the show where I met Marshall at because I was under contract to do it.

The line: “Yeah, I hit the stage at 11:50, killed it / I got off at about midnight”
Explanation: I was opening for Usher at the Palladium. The whole crowd was all girls. I had a bulletproof vest on at the time, so I took the vest off and the girls were screaming. I actually performed with my group that I was in at that time, named Wall St. It was like five of us. We had four songs, there was a song called “The Desert” that we did. I can’t remember the names of the other ones. I do remember the line that got Marshall’s attention. I did acapella and said “I’m iller than standing in front of a gorilla holding a banana.” Em thought that line was just crazy. That was like ’97.

The line: “I saw Kino talkin’ to Marshall and then he introduced us / We talked about collaboratin’ and how chasin’ this rap thing is aggravatin’ / But I’ll get back, I got the family waitin’ / I get to skatin’ / As soon as I get to the hospital they tell me that my granny didn’t make it / She just died, I’m feelin’ helpless, it hurt me / On the flip side, my little boy is healthy in the nursery / I picked him up, looked in his eyes for the first time and just cried”
Explanation: When I got to the hospital after the show, they laid everything on me. First they told me my Granny died and then they said I missed the delivery of my son by seconds. I was trying to go into the room and they wheeled my son by in an incubator real fast like, “There goes your baby.” When I picked him up and looked in his face he looked like me. It was the wildest feeling you could feel ever. My emotions overcame me and I broke down for various reasons.

Listen to tabernacle below: