Song Lyric Sunday #43

This week’s prompt for Jim Adams’ Song Lyric Sunday Challenge is City/County/Country/State/Town. Places like New York and California feature prominently, so what do I have in my archives that fits the bill? How about New York: Empire State of Mind by Alicia Keys?

Alicia Keys is an American singer-songwriter, actress and classically-trained pianist. Keys released her debut album, Songs in A Minor in 2001. The album was critically and commercially successful, producing her first Billboard Hot 100 number-one single and selling over 12 million copies worldwide. The album earned Keys five Grammy Awards in 2002.

Her second album, The Diary of Alicia Keys (2003), was also a critical and commercial success, spawning successful singles and selling eight million copies worldwide. The album garnered her an additional four Grammy Awards. Her duet My Boo with Usher became her second number-one single in 2004. Keys released her first live album, Unplugged (2005), and became the first woman to have an MTV Unplugged album debut at number one. Her third album, As I Am (2007), sold 7 million copies worldwide and earned her an additional three Grammy Awards.

Her fourth album, The Element of Freedom (2009), became her first chart-topping album in the UK, and sold 4 million copies worldwide. In 2009, Keys also collaborated with Jay Z on “Empire State of Mind”, which became her fourth number-one single and won the Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.

Empire State of Mind is recognized as a modern-day anthem for New York City.  Both Jay-Z (Brooklyn) and Alicia Keys (Harlem) are New York City natives, and they teamed up on this track to represent their hometown. Accordingly the titular “Empire State” has been a popular nickname of New York since 19th century.  The song deals with topics as diverse as recognising celebrities who live in the city to chronicling the tale of a female runaway who got caught in the snares therein.

This song was originally conceived by a pair of NYC writers named Janet Sewell and Angela Hunte who came up with the tune while visiting London in 2009 and suffering from homesickness. The song came to the attention of Jay-Z after the two writers submitted the tune (twice) to his label Roc Nation. Sewell and Hunte received both writing and production credit for the song, as did Al Shux. And the track’s other co-writers are as follows:

  • Sylvia Robinson
  • Jay-Z
  • Alicia Keys

Robinson is an old school performer who is actually one of the pioneers of hip-hop. And the reason she is credited as a co-writer is because “Empire State of Mind” samples a track she wrote that came out in 1970 entitled “Love on a Two-Way Street”, by the Moments.

Keys has received numerous accolades in her career, including 15 competitive Grammy Awards, 17 and an award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame and National Music Publishers Association. She has sold over 50 million albums and 40 million singles worldwide making her one of the world’s best-selling music artists and was named by Billboard the top R&B artist of the 2000s decade.

Lyrics: Empire State of Mind

Yeah
Yeah 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, yeah, they love me everywhere
I used to cop in Harlem, all of my Dominicanos
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 what up to Ty-Ty, still sippin’ Mai Tais
Sittin’ courtside, Knicks and Nets give me high five
Nigga I be Spike’d out, I could trip a referee (come on, come on, come on)
Tell by my attitude that I’m most definitely from

In New York (ayy, ah-ha) (uh, yeah)
Concrete jungle (yeah) where dreams are made of
There’s nothin’ you can’t do (yeah) (okay)
Now you’re in New York (ah-ha, ah-ha, ah-ha) (uh, yeah)
These streets will make you feel brand new (new)
Big lights will inspire you (come on) (okay)
Let’s hear it for New York (you’re welcome, OG) (come on)
New York (yeah), New York (uh) (I made you hot)
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 fair, they act like they forgot how to act
Eight million stories, out there in the 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 (come on, come on, come on)
Long live the King yo, I’m from the Empire State that’s
In New York (ayy, ah-ha) (uh, yeah)
Concrete jungle (yeah) where dreams are made of
There’s nothin’ you can’t do (that boy good) (okay)
Now you’re in New York (uh, yeah)
(Welcome to the bright lights, baby)
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you (okay)
Let’s hear it for New York (come on)
New York (yeah), New York (uh)
Lights is blinding, girls need blinders
So they can step out of bounds quick, the sidelines is
Lined with casualties, who sip the 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 (come on, come on, come on)
The city never sleeps, better slip you an Ambien
In New York (ayy, ah-ha) (uh, yeah)
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There’s nothin’ you can’t do (okay)
Now you’re in New York (uh, yeah)
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you (okay)
Let’s hear it for New York (come on)
New York (yeah), New York (uh)
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” (come on, come on, come on)
“Yeah, yeah”
In New York (uh, yeah)
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There’s nothin’ you can’t do (okay)
Now you’re in New York (uh, yeah)
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Let’s hear it for New York (come on)
New York (yeah), New York (uh)

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Alexander William Shuckburgh / Alicia J Augello-Cook / Shawn C Carter / Angela Hunte / Bert Keyes / Sylvia Robinson / Janet Sewell
Empire State Of Mind lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group

Challenge Rules

  • Post the lyrics to the song of your choice, whether it fits the theme or not. If it does not fit, then please explain why you chose this song.
  • Please try to include the songwriter(s) – it’s a good idea to give credit where credit is due.
  • Make sure you also credit the singer/band and if you desire you can provide a link to where you found the lyrics.
  • Link to the YouTube video, or pull it into your post so others can listen to the song.
  • Ping back to Jim’s post or place your link in his comments section.
  • Read at least one other person’s blog, so we can all share new and fantastic music and create amazing new blogging friends in the process.
  • Feel free to suggest future prompts.
  • Most of all, have fun and enjoy the music.

8 Comments on “Song Lyric Sunday #43

  1. New York State of Mind is a 1970s song from Billy Joel, and while outdated is still a favorite of mine, being a NYC native.

    Liked by 1 person

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