Baseball related songs: “Empire State of Mind” by Jay-Z

In this episode of baseball-related songs, we pay attention to “Empire State of Mind” performed by Jay-Z. In this song, Alicia Keys is featured as she does the singing of the chorus.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor Empire state of mind Jay z"
Empire State of Mind was released on October 20, 2009, about a week before the World Series that was played by the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Phillies.
The song was played throughout Yankee Stadium and served as Derek Jeter’s walk-up song during the 2009 playoffs.

The song became the unofficial 2009 theme song of the Yankees.

The song was such a hit that the Yankees invited Jay-Z and Alicia Keys to perform the song at Yankee Stadium before the start of the second game of the 2009 World Series.  During the performance, cameras caught players from both dugouts bobbing their heads and enjoying the show, and the Yankees seemed unperturbed by Jay-Z’s somewhat controversial lyric, “I made the Yankee hat more famous than a Yankee can.”


Of course, the song is a homage to New York City but also to the Yankees as they are mentioned in the song as well and because New York and the Yankees are inseparable.

The song was taken off Jay-Z’s eleventh studio album, The Blueprint 3. Alicia Keys’ role in the song is not only limited to the singing part as she also wrote a part of the lyrics.
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.

Growing up and being raised in Brooklyn, one would think, Jay-Z would be a Mets fan but instead of being a Mets fan, he has been a Yankee fan for most of his life. In many of his clips he wears the navy hat with the intersecting N and Y.

The lyrics of the song are as follows:

[Intro: JAY-Z]
Yeah

[Verse 1: Jay-Z]
Yeah, I’m out that Brooklyn, now I’m down in Tribeca
Right next to De Niro, 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 – hola, my Dominicanos
Right there up on Broadway, brought me back to that McDonald’s
Took it to my stash spot, 560 State Street
Catch me in the kitchen, like a Simmons whippin’ pastry
Cruisin’ down 8th street, 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 fives
Nigga, I be spiked out, I could trip a referee
Tell by my attitude that I’m most definitely from…

[Chorus: Alicia Keys & Jay-Z]
In New York (ayy, aha) (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 (aha, aha, aha) (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, nigga)

Catch me at the X with OG at a Yankee game
Shit, I made the Yankee hat more famous than 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 meltin’ pot, corners where we sellin’ rocks
Afrika Bambaataa 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 add
Eight million stories out there in the naked
City, it’s a pity half of y’all won’t make it
Me? I gotta plug Special Ed “I Got It Made”
If Jeezy’s 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 State, that’s…

[Chorus: Alicia Keys & Jay-Z]
In New York (ayy) (uh, yeah)
Concrete jungle 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 light, 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)

[Verse 3: Jay-Z]
Lights is blinding, girls need blinders
So they can step out of bounds quick, the side lines 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
And when winter gets cold, en vogue with your skin out
The city of sin is a pity on a whim
Good girls gone bad, the city’s filled with them
Mami 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 ends
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 a Ambien

[Chorus: Alicia Keys & Jay-Z]
In New York (ayy, ah) (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

[Bridge: Alicia Keys]
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” (come on)
(Come on) Yeah (come on)

[Chorus: Alicia Keys]
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 (okay)
Let’s hear it for New York (come on)
New York (yeah), New York (uh)

Here is the official video of the song:

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