Back in 2008, if you asked a ‘regular’ person on the street who Jay-Z was, you’d get one of three reactions:
1) Hova, my inspiration and guide in life.
2) He’s a rapper or something, uses too many swear words.
3) Jay who?
Now ask the same question in 2010 and the one reaction you will get:
“Jay-Z! I love that New York song”
Empire State of Mind wasn’t just a breakout hit, okay to like even if you hate rap music, but a step in the right direction for the music industry. An incredible song in its own right, from Jay’s near perfect ode to his home town to a chorus so big it could easily be the decade’s best, everything that accompanied the release-that incredible VMAs closing performance-made it a legendary record. Outside of the US, Jay-Z and Alicia Keys had found fans, but hadn’t fully broke into the mainstream. As amazing as it is that they achieved so much with just one release, the longevity of said record is the real prize for the pair.
For me, it was when asked to put the song on my Mum’s iPod that the song’s effect had really shown. Next thing I know, my mum listens to the whole album, never mind the song, much more than me. Certain lyrics may still be a bit too explicit to accept, but the fact that Empire State of Mind and Jay-Z have breached this vast gap is great to see.
Jay-Z said it was his favourite track from The Blueprint 3, but for most it’s the defining moment of his career.
Buy Jay-Z-Empire State of Mind-The Blueprint 3 on iTunes here