The following is a part of a verse from the song Baby by Justin Bieber.

When I was 13, I had my first love,
There was nobody that compared to my baby
And nobody came between us or could ever come above
She had me going crazy, oh, I was star-struck,
She woke me up daily, don’t need no Starbucks.

In line three, what does come above mean? I was able to find the meaning of the phrasal verb come between, but I wasn't able to find the meaning of come above. The phrase seems non-existent as there are come across, come upon, come under, come around, come over, come down, or go above and beyond that I encountered which I already know the meanings of some, but not come above. So what does the phrase mean in this context?

Edit: There are actually three versions of this lyric that I found. One wrote "And nobody came between us who could ever come above". The second wrote "And nobody came between us no-one could ever come above", and there's this one "And nobody came between us or could ever come above". I'm not sure which one is the real one and not sure whether that'll affect the meaning of the phrase. This is a rapping part and it was too fast for me to distinguish the actual version.

  • 1
    I don't think song lyric interpretation is on-topic for this site. You can't take everything you hear in a song literally. The meaning might be nothing else was as important to me as our relationship or no other relationship was better/more perfect than ours or any number of other meanings; art is open to interpretation. I suggest this question be closed as off-topic; I'll monitor as the community weighs in.
    – WendiKidd
    May 26, 2013 at 23:42
  • I agree that it's Off Topic, but not because it's a lyric (lyrics are not inherently non-Standard) but because it's dialect. Which is not to say that it's going to remain dialect! May 26, 2013 at 23:49
  • @StoneyB: The ELL FAQ doesn't explicitly debar "lyric interpretation", but I'd be more than happy if it did. If the only citation for a usage that the OP can find is a song lyric, the chances are I won't think it should be asked about here. It'll be Too Localised, Off Topic Lit Crit, or otherwise unsuitable - as your own answer effectively acknowledges. May 27, 2013 at 1:29
  • @FumbleFingers I'd be just as quick to close it (after answering it at least in a comment, because I think every question that can't be looked up in a dictionary deserves an answer) if OP had asked about the UK football-fan version of come above, meaning to achieve a higher rank in the standings - slang's just another kind of dialect. Some lyrics are dialect, some newspapers are dialect (just ask Yoishi-san!), some (most?) formal academic prose is dialect. We shouldn't close because of the form but because of the content. May 27, 2013 at 1:37
  • @StoneyB Lyrics are particular about grammar. Explaining the lyrics of a song is not the purpose of EL&U, and it should not be the purpose of ELL, which is for people who is learning English.
    – apaderno
    May 27, 2013 at 7:52

1 Answer 1


I find come above all over Google in hip-hop and AAVE contexts meaning either achieve a higher status or be of more importance. I think the latter is meant: "Nobody was more important to us than each other."

This is not Standard English (as you might expect, since it seems this verse was composed and performed by the rapper Ludacris). The closest equivalent in SE would be come before; but that's rather literary.

In any case, it's not a locution you're likely to have much use for over the next few years.

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