This song is clearly about how rough it is to be an athlete outclassing your teammates and being held back by them. Drake is a veteran baseball player who has returned to his home city’s loosing team. His teammates (Rick Ross and ‘lil Wayne) perform so poorly that he is perpetually stuck on first base.
The intro is clear:
(I get ’em up!) I’m on one
(I get ’em up!) Fuck it, I’m ‘on one
(I get ’em up!) I said I’m on one
‘I get ’em up!’ is a reference to the fact that the audience comes only to see him play, and are quite excited (standing up). While the repetition of ‘I’m on one’ is both a sad and angry declaration that he has made it to first base. He is there due to his spectacular playing, but cannot leave due to lack of help from his teammates.
” I’m getting so throwed, I ain’t went this hard since I was 18″
He is being ‘thrown for a loop’ because he has not had to put so much effort in since the start of his career, and yet he gets nothing out of it.
“Apologize if I say anything I don’t mean
Like what’s up with your best friend?
We could all have some fun, believe me”
He has tried, and failed, to encourage his teammates to put some effort into playing. ‘We could all have some fun’, but they are content with their own poor performance due to a sense of job security, being paid enough, and a sense of comfort with futility.
“And what’s up with these new niggas?
And why they think it all comes so easy?”
Even the new players on the team, not hardened by defeat, think that victory can come without hard work and thus fail as well.
“But get it while you here boy
Cause all that hype don’t feel the same next year boy
Yeah and I’ll be right here in my spot with a little more cash
Than I already got trippin off you cause you had your shot”
Despite their failings, he’s going to continue playing as well as he can, working as hard as he can. He has the admiration of his fans, and notoriety and he will not let anyone keep him from that. The rest have had their chance and he’s not going to end up like them.
“Hate the rumours, hate your bullshit, hate these fucking allegations
I’m just feeling like the throne is for the taking, watch me take it!”
With his ambitious character, his teammates have slandered him quite fiercely, but he’s still going to strive for excellence.
And now with a burst of owning his situation and flaunting it we arrive at the hook:
“All I care ’bout is money and the city that I’m from
I’ma sip until I feel it, I’mma smoke it ’til it’s done ”
He has his money from his previous successes, and now he’s focusing on caring about the city he loves. Sipping on fame and ‘smoking’ the competition.
“Two white cups and I got that drink
Could be purple, it could be pink
Depending on how you mix that shit”
Purple and pink drink are clear references to various flavors of sports drinks.
The following verses has his teammates simply extolling the ‘large’ life they live. Exaggerating their grandiose living and skills. After each one he comes back in repeating the hook, making clear that while they are absorbed in their lives of faux stardom, he is concerned about his hometown. And despite their supposed excellence, he is still on one.