Empire State of Mind

Jay-Z, Alicia Keys

About Empire State of Mind

"Empire State of Mind" is a song performed by American rapper Jay-Z featuring vocals by American singer Alicia Keys, from Jay-Z's 11th studio album, The Blueprint 3 (2009). Produced by Al Shux, the song features a music sample of "Love on a Two-Way Street" performed by The Moments. It was originally written by Angela Hunte and Janet Sewell-Ulepic as a tribute to their hometown, New York City. The following month, they submitted it to Jay-Z's label Roc Nation, whose reviews were a discouragement. They later took the suggestion of an associate of EMI Music Publishing and resubmitted it to Jay-Z, who kept the "New York" singing part on the hook, changed the verses, and recorded it. The song originally featured Hunte on the hook, but when Hunte and Sewell-Ulepic were asked if they thought anyone else would be more appropriate for the chorus, Hunte suggested Keys. Mary J. Blige was also considered for the part, but Keys was chosen after Jay-Z heard the song's piano loop. "Empire State of Mind" contains songwriting contributions from Keys and Shux. The song was described by critics as an "orchestral rap ballad" with "crashing piano chords" and a "soaring" hook. It contains references to various locations in New York and its famous residents, while describing the city's essence. Profanity is present throughout the song and, although it is usually included during live performances, it was omitted during the performance at Game 2 of the 2009 World Series. 


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Yea, yea I'm out that Brooklyn, now I'm down in Tribeca
Right next to DeNiro, but I'll be hood forever
I'm the new Sinatra, and, since I made it here
I can make it anywhere, yea, they love me everywhere I used to cop in Harlem,
All of my Dominicano's right there up on Broadway,
Pull me back to that McDonald's, took it to my stashbox, 560 State St.
Catch me in the kitchen like a Simmons wippin' pastry's
Cruisin' down 8th St., off white Lexus
Drivin' so slow, but BK is from Texas
Me, I'm out that Bed-Stuy, home of that boy Biggie
Now I live on Billboard and I brought my boys with me
Say whattup to Ty-Ty, still sippin' Mai Tai's
Sittin' courtside, Knicks and Nets give me high five
Nigga I be Spike'd out, I could trip a referee
Tell by my attitude that I'm most definitely from

In New York,
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There's nothin' you can't do
Now you're in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Let's hear it for New York, New York, New York

Catch me at the X with OG at a Yankee game
Shit, I made the Yankee hat more famous then a Yankee can
You should know I bleed blue, but I ain't a Crip though
But I got a gang of niggas walkin' with my clique though
Welcome to the melting pot, corners where we sellin' rock
Afrika Bambataa shit, home of the hip-hop
Yellow cab, gypsy cab, dollar cab, holla back
For foreigners it ain't for, they act like they forgot how to act
Eight million stories, out there in it naked
City is a pity, half of y'all won't make it
Me, I got a plug, Special Ed "I Got It Made"
If Jesus payin' Lebron, I'm payin' Dwyane Wade
Three dice cee-lo, three card monte
Labor Day Parade, rest in peace Bob Marley
Statue of Liberty, long live the World Trade
Long live the King yo, I'm from the Empire St. that's

In New York,
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There's nothin' you can't do
Now you're in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Let's hear it for New York, New York, New York

Lights is blinding, girls need blinders
So they can step out of bounds quick, the sidelines is
Lined with casualties, who sip to life casually
Then gradually become worse, don't bite the apple, Eve
Caught up in the in-crowd, now you're in style
End of the winter gets cold, en vogue, with your skin out
City of sin, it's a pity on the whim
Good girls gone bad, the city's filled with them
Mommy took a bus trip, now she got her bust out
Everybody ride her, just like a bus route
Hail Mary to the city, you're a virgin
And Jesus can't save you, life starts when the church end
Came here for school, graduated to the high life
Ball players, rap stars, addicted to the limelight
MDMA got you feelin' like a champion
The city never sleeps, better slip you an Ambien

In New York,
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There's nothin' you can't do
Now you're in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Let's hear it for New York, New York, New York

One hand in the air for the big city
Street lights, big dreams, all lookin' pretty
No place in the world that could compare
Put your lighters in the air everybody say yeah, yeah,
Yea, yea

In New York,
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There's nothin' you can't do
Now you're in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Let's hear it for New York, New York, New York

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Shawn Corey Carter (born December 4, 1969), better known by his stage name Jay-Z, is an American rapper, record producer, entrepreneur, and occasional actor. He is one of the most financially successful hip hop artists and entrepreneurs in America. In 2012, Forbes estimated Carter's net worth at nearly $500 million. He has sold approximately 50 million albums worldwide, while receiving fourteen Grammy Awards for his musical work, and numerous additional nominations. He is consistently ranked as one of the greatest rappers of all-time. He was ranked #1 by MTV in their list of The Greatest MCs of All-Time in 2006. Two of his albums, Reasonable Doubt (1996) and The Blueprint (2001) are considered landmarks in the genre with both of them being ranked in Rolling S… more »

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Written by: Alexander William Shuckburgh, Alicia J Augello-Cook, Shawn C Carter, Angela Hunte, Bert Keyes, Sylvia Robinson, Janette Sewell

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind

13 facts about this song

"Empire State of Mind" is a duet between American musicians Jay-Z and Alicia Keys.
Release Date
The song was released as the third single from Jay-Z's 11th studio album, "The Blueprint 3", on October 20, 2009.
It's a hip-hop song with influences of pop and includes vocals from the R&B genre, courtesy of Alicia Keys.
Chart Performance
"Empire State of Mind" reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, the first No. 1 hit for both Jay-Z and Alicia Keys in the United States.
Song Inspiration
The song is a love letter to New York City, with lyrics talking about aspects of the city, including the Yankees, Brooklyn, Times Square, and Broadway.
Grammy Awards
"Empire State of Mind" won two Grammy Awards in 2011. It won Best Rap Song and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.
Platinum Certification
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has certified it 5x Platinum for sales of over 5 million copies.
Music Video
The music video shows both musicians in various locations in New York City, including Times Square, Yankee Stadium, and in front of a graffiti-covered fence.
Alicia Keys' Solo Version
Alicia Keys released a solo piano version of the song, "Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down," on her album "The Element of Freedom."
Cultural Impact
"Empire State of Mind" has been covered by many artists and used in numerous media contexts. It's seen as an anthemic and inspiring ode to New York City.
World Series Performance
Jay-Z and Alicia Keys performed the song during the opening of the 2009 World Series in Yankee Stadium.
Live Performances
Since its release, the song has been performed live by both artists in various events, including at the MTV awards, Brit awards, and the American Music Awards.
Critical Acclaim
Recognized as one of the greatest songs of the decade, Rolling Stone and Pitchfork placed it on their lists of best songs of the 2000s.

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    Empire State of Mind

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    Top Hot 100 Songs 2009

    Billboard #1

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