We just wanna party
Party just for you
We just want the money
Money just for you

This is one line in the lyrics of "This is America"
So I don't understand why "the" is used before "money".
Why is "the money" used, not just "money"?

  • 1
    Welcome to ELL.SE. Do note that song lyrics do not necessarily follow normal conventions of grammar or usage, as creators are granted considerable artistic license. A lyricist may choose particular phrasings to match rhythm or rhyme, to make a reference or homage, to evoke a certain emotion or memory, or indeed to be deliberately unconventional. In fact, the words may be uter nonsense and simply used because they sound interesting. – choster May 14 '18 at 22:41

The definite article is used when the speaker is in the belief that their audience know what the speaker is referring to and the thing(s) that the speaker refers to is unique in the context of the conversation.

So here the money refers to some money the narrator of the song (the point of view from which the lyrics are written) has in mind.

The lyrics are pretty clear in this regard.

We want the money

Money just for you (this specifies the money that is under discussion)

For example, say an employee has been fired and comes to her manager disgruntled.

Employee: That is so unfair! Where is my severance check? I want the money!

Here the employee is talking about some specific money that she thinks the company owes her.

  • 1
    That’s a good example with the employee. “I want money” would not be incorrect, but it would have a different meaning. “I want the money” means “I want the amount of money I am entitled to receive,” while “I want money” means “I want some unspecified amount of money.” The latter sounds like a child whining. – J.R. May 15 '18 at 0:07

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