8 million stories out there in the naked City

from Jay Z (Ft. Alicia Keys) – Empire State of Mind Lyrics on Rap Genius

Meaning

The Naked City” is a gritty late 1940s film noir about crime in New York City. Jay’s line is a reference to a line from the movie, in which the narrator says “There are eight million stories in the Naked City; this has been one of them”.

This line also brings us back to Jay’s track “Never Change” from The Blueprint, as well as alluding to the first bar of Kurtis Blow’s “8 Million Stories” and A Tribe Called Quest’s track on their 1993 album Midnight Marauders.

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