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N.Y. State of Mind

Multi-platinum hip hop artist Nas has a global reputation as one of the greatest emcees and lyricists in his contemporary art form. But what about within the history–and canon–of American poetry? Learn alongside host Elisa New as Nas, music executive Steve Stoute, scholar Salamishah Tillet, and a chorus of hip hop heads, rappers, and fans break down the breakbeats and rhymes–and explore the searing vision–of Nas’s iconic track “N.Y. State of Mind.” In this episode, New and guests herald the transformation of America’s long tradition of urban verse by hip hop artists, and they affirm Nas as the standard bearer for contemporary poetry of the street.

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Read the Poem

N.Y. State of Mind

[Verse 1]
Rappers, I monkey flip ’em, with the funky rhythm I be kickin’
Musician, inflictin’ composition of pain
I’m like Scarface sniffin’ cocaine
Holdin’ an M16, see with the pen I’m extreme
Now, bullet holes left in my peepholes
[…]

 

 

“N.Y. STATE OF MIND”
Words and Music by Nasir Jones, Eric Barrier, William Griffin, and Christopher Edward
Martin.
Used by permission of
UNIVERSAL MUSIC – Z SONGS on behalf of SUN SHINING, INC.
Kobalt Music Publishing America, Inc.
EMI Entertainment World, Inc., on behalf of EMI April Music Inc., EMI Blackwood Music Inc., Eric B And Rakim Music Inc.
All rights reserved.

Read the full poem