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Released: 2021

Features: Central Cee

Strap on your metaphorical headphones, folks, we’re about to dive into the deepend of FKA twigs’ “Measure of a Man (feat. Central Cee).” This song is an introspective journey reflecting on personal strength, resilience, and the pressures from society, set against a landscape of struggles and victories. It’s a lyrical symphony that praises perseverance and asks what truly defines a man’s worth. The song features a mix of FKA twigs’ signature ethereal vocals, soul-bearing lyrics, and Central Cee’s visceral verses, creating a complex pop tapestry.

The song opens with FKA twigs singing, “Nobody feels the pain behind the love you show / Nobody feels the burden that is yours alone.” These lines hit hard, speaking on the emotional weight that one may carry, often hidden behind facades. She talks about a man who resists vulnerability in an attempt to maintain an image of strength, echoing society’s often toxic standards of masculinity. When she sings, “The measure of a hero, is the measure of a man,” she’s critiquing the societal expectation that men must be strong, stoic heroes in order to be worthy.

Moving on to Central Cee’s verse, he brings in some hard-hitting bars. The lines, “It’s the manners that make a man / But the hammers that break a man” add another layer to the theme of masculinity. He’s acknowledging the paradox of being a gentleman and surviving in an environment requiring toughness and resilience. When he says, “Damn, they wanted to see me broke / But I flipped the script and I broke the pen,” he’s proudly stating how he defied expectations, symbolizing his resilience and determination.

The song also reflects upon the struggles faced by many in a system that is often unjust. Central Cee raps, “Nothin’, the system failed me / I still bounced back”, hinting at the societal barriers he has faced and overcome. The line, “Me and the game, like Harry and Meghan” is a clever reference to the British royal couple’s issues with the monarchy, drawing a parallel to his own battles in the music industry.

Throughout the chorus, when FKA twigs sings “I wanna kiss it better, the measure of a man,” she is expressing her empathetic desire to alleviate the pain and pressures placed on men by society. It’s a poignant acknowledgement that everyone, regardless of gender, needs emotional nurturing and support.

“Measure of a Man” serves as a powerful critique of societal definitions of masculinity, while also shedding light on the unseen burdens individuals carry. It provides a compelling commentary on resilience in the face of adversity, the pursuit of success, and the power of vulnerability. Simply put, it’s a pop masterclass, and an anthem for anyone who’s had to fight their own battles.