“Pusha Man,” a Snapshot of Life in Chicago Chancelor Jonathan Bennett or Chance the Rapper’s, “Pusha Man/Paranoia,” exudes a more serious side of Chance than most listeners are used to hearing. The song follows Chance back to his childhood home in Chicago and the harsh realities that came along with living in a low-income, unsafe area.
With a clever use of allusions and symbolism, Chance creates an image of life in Chicago.Chance alludes to the Bible by comparing Chicago to the opposite of the promised land.Chance says, “I’ll take you to the land, where the lake made of sand / And the milk don’t pour and the honey don’t dance / And the money ain’t yours.”This is an allusion to the “land flowing with milk and honey,” mentioned in the Bible. It shows that Chance thinks of his home in Chicago not just negatively, but the absolute opposite of a good home or neighborhood.Chance alludes to The Matrix by comparing his drug use to the blue pill given to Neo by Morpheus.Chance says, “Now it’s just the red pill / Got a blue and a hand full of Advils.
“This is an allusion to the red and blue pills in The Matrix. The red pill is what it feels like for Chance to think about his current living situation and the realities of life in a violent, low-income area. The blue pills represent Chance’s drug use. Blue “pills” implies that there are multiple pills and shows Chance’s eagerness to escape from his bleak reality.Chance uses symbolism to detail life in Chicago during Summer.
Chance says, “It just got warm out, this the shit I’ve been warned ’bout / I hope that it storm in the mornin’, I hope that it’s pourin’ out / I hate crowded beaches, I hate the sound of fireworks / And I ponder what’s worse between knowing it’s over and dyin’ first”Rising temperatures, fireworks, and crowded beaches are all symbols of summer. Chicago has notoriously high gun rates all year round, but they raise even higher during the summer. Chance hates everything about summer because of this and wishes the weather were always terrible, so people would not die as much.
The last line is Chance pondering whether it’s better to live a long life knowing that he could die at any moment or to die young. “Knowing it’s over” could also be a metaphor for Chance knowing that he may never rise above mediocrity and his life is effectively “over.” Pusha Man is one of Chance the Rapper’s best songs so far and manages to convey such strong emotions and showcases a side of America that many people do not care for.