"Otis" (CD Single)

Music review by
Stephanie Bruzzese, Common Sense Media
"Otis" (CD Single) Music Poster Image
Parents recommend
Rap moguls' semi-explicit track has tons of swagger.

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 4 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

Tons of bravado about having lots of money and fame, and violent metaphors refer to "killing" the competition.

Positive Role Models & Representations

 Lyrics about bragging, drinking, buying expensive items, violent behavior.


Some allusions to shooting and killing: "Arm out the window through the city, I maneuver slow / Cock back, snap back, see my cut through the holes" and "What more can I say? We killing 'em / Hold up before we end this campaign / As you can see we done bodied the damn lames."


A few "N" words; "damn."


Lots of car references (Mercedes, Rolls Royce, Maybach).

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Mentions drinking and smoking cigars.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that "Otis" includes the kind of swagger- and bravado-laced lyrics that are typical of many rap tracks. Aside from a few "N" words, there's not a lot of profanity, though drinking, violent metaphors, and car brand names crop up throughout. In the end, this song is best for older teens.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byGxgginc October 11, 2020

Love the song

N***as, damn, hell for swearing. Good old timey mixed with aggressive rap masterpiece
Adult Written byAlexandre M. February 23, 2018
It is okay but not to good
Teen, 14 years old Written byspeyan727 September 11, 2018
Teen, 13 years old Written byhahahalol97 August 16, 2012

Otis has swag, not swagger

The fact that this said "swagger" makes me not trust this review

What's the story?

Rap juggernauts Jay-Z and Kanye West team up for "OTIS," their shared ode to how great they are. In addition to tons of swagger and posturing, the song's lyrics include some double entendres about shooting people, a few "N" words, references to drinking and smoking cigars, and lots of car brand-name dropping. Though it's certainly not the most explicit rap song ever released, it's still a squarely adult track that's too mature for kids and tweens.

Is it any good?

Both artists have had some killer hooks in their day, so it's no surprise that they'd come up with another one -- a remix of Otis Redding's classic "Try a Little Tenderness" -- for this track. The hook alone would make the tune a standout, but powerful performances from each rapper add to its appeal.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about bragging. Why is boasting such a big part of many rap songs?

  • Does bragging truly help rappers get to the top of their game? Why or why not?

  • What else can help a music artist advance his or her career besides bragging about money and material goods?

Music details

  • Artists: Jay-Z, Kanye West
  • Release date: July 20, 2011
  • Type: Single
  • Label: RCA
  • Genre: Rap
  • Parental advisory: Yes
  • Edited version available: Yes
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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