The City Is Mine: Look Man A Tree Grows In Brooklyn

Don’t worry about Brooklyn, I’ll continue to flame / that way a world with amnesia won’t forget your name JAY Z – The City Is Mine from ‘In My Lifetime Vol. 1′

Do me a favor real quick.

Sit and think about the first song that caught your heart in whatever genre you listen to, but the first song that really made you fall in love with the art of making music. For me it was JAY Z’s ‘The City Is Mine’ and I can still remember the first time I heard it.


I was sitting in the van with my brother Cory and he had this tape that he popped in the tape player. Because I was 12 and finally able to go somewhere with him, I shut up and listened. Of course, I’ve heard a thousand songs prior to this but it was something about this song that caught my attention.


At the time in my life, I was confused about where I belonged in life and where I belonged just period. As a foster kid, I’ve bounced around more times than I’d care to admit but it was life so I lived it. I never expected to lose a sense of belonging but I did and I can admit it, I was lost.

But as Blackstreet started singing the lyrics to the chorus it kind of gave me an answer to what I’ve been asking myself for so long, ‘Where did you belong?’

The hook goes:

‘You belong to the city / you belong to the night / in the river of darkness / you’re the man of the nightBlackstreet of off JAY Z’s ‘The City Is Mine’

As an impressionable kid, JAY Z told me the answer to the question. I belonged here, in this city, it was my city or at least I thought it’ll be my city to run one day. At the moment, I wanted to write rap lyrics and it was safe to say, I wanted to be JAY Z.

He was the father figure I always wanted that I never had. He was telling me about how he was gonna hold this down for Biggie ( The Notorious B.I.G. ) who died the year before due to gun violence in Los Angeles. But it was that song that the lyrics made me feel like this was also a stance I had to take in my life.


New York needed another hero after ours died in another city and another state. JAY Z would fill that role regardless of how anyone feels, he took the city on his shoulders and held it down. But this song held me down, especially during the the tough times that would come towards my life in the upcoming months that I’d probably get to in a future post.

But ‘The City Is Mine’ will always hold a special place in my heart due to the fact that it made me want to rap for no other reason but to hold the city down for our slain hero, Biggie.

It’ll be some years before I get the opportunity to listen to the whole album in full, but this song was a song that put my life in perspective.

Listen to it below on Tidal:

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