[Verse 3: Jay-Z]

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

Meaning

Jay’s third verse focuses on the role of women in the city. They are largely, and somewhat misogynistically, categorized as those who “won’t make it” in contrast to the rapper’s own rags to riches story.

The corruption of the woman by the city is a classic tale of urban life dating back at least to the late nineteenth century, and perhaps most famously told by Stephen Crane in Maggie, Girl of the Streets.

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