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But if you have a full closet and someone sees something they like, if you give it to them, the world is a better place." The act was something that affected Kiedis significantly because he had never before experienced such an enlightening ideology on life.Growing up in Los Angeles, he had always thought differently from Hagen.Every time you empty your vessel of that energy, fresh new energy comes flooding in." During the verses, Kiedis departs from the idea of unselfishness and sings about a variety of topics including long-time friend River Phoenix, musician Bob Marley and various sexual themes including fertility and lust."Give It Away" makes use of far drier production than previous Red Hot Chili Peppers material by removing reverb and guitar layering.Producer Rick Rubin disavowed walls of sound and layering for simpler, more concise guitar and bass progressions.I also went to Hong Kong last summer, and it really opened my eyes to my Chinese heritage.
I felt proud that I was more white-washed than all my other Asian friends. Although we grew up with some very different traditions (my Chinese/Vietnamese heritage and his Canadian/Jewish heritage), we pretty much went through the same circumstances as Canadian children.Hagen was several years Kiedis' senior and became a role-model during his drug addiction to heroin: "she realized how young and inexperienced I was then, so she was always passing on gems to me, not in a preachy way, just by seizing on opportunities." Upon expressing this, Hagen immediately told him to keep it.Her reasoning behind this selflessness was due to an attempt to constantly make her life more enjoyable, and explained to Kiedis that "if you have a closet full of clothes and you try to keep them all, your life will get very small.Steve Huey of Allmusic noted that while the single "didn't achieve the massive pop success of its follow-up, 'Under the Bridge' [...] it did become one of the band's most instantly recognizable songs." Following the Chili Peppers' tour in support of Mother's Milk (1989), the duo spent time in a side project called H. The band then reconvened at a later time and chose the most appropriate inclusion.
With "Give It Away", a chorus and verse had already been written but a bridge was lacking, so thus they partook in a "face-off".
Vocalist Anthony Kiedis wrote the song's most prevalent lyrical refrain in response to an experience he shared with former girlfriend Nina Hagen regarding altruistic behavior and the value of selflessness. performances shortly thereafter, but when the side project disbanded Frusciante and Flea believed the track would be appropriate for the Chili Peppers' upcoming record.