On July 17, 2012, the single was announced during an interview with Digital Spy, with the cover art being unveiled that same day. The single was premiered with DJ Camilo on New York City radio station Hot 97 on July 27, 2012 and then later on Thisis50. The song later was released on iTunes for purchase as digital single on July 30, 2012.
On June 28, Swizz Beatz had leaked the solo version of his wife Alicia Keys' "New Day" on the internet. Later on August 8, 2012, in an interview with XXL, 50 Cent said the single was originally produced for Dr. Dre's album, Detox. They changed the chorus, sending it to Alicia Keys. She later sent it back with the new name, making them change additional strings on it. 50 Cent also revealed that Alicia recorded additional verses for it and leaked the record. Her solo version appears on her fifth studio album Girl on Fire (2012).
In a video uploaded via his YouTube account, 50 Cent also talked about the origins of the song, first meant to be This Life Won't Last Forever. The songs original chorus was vocally recorded and written by Ester Dean. It was sent to Alicia Keys, and then she sent it back with the "New Day" concept. He also said that Dr. Dre wanted the record to "feel like a movie".
"It don’t take much strength to pull a trigger, but try to get up every morning day after day and work for a living. Let’s see ‘em try that, then we’ll see who’s the real tough guy; the working man is a tough guy"
—Lorenzo Anello, of the gangster movie A Bronx Tale (1993).
The song contains an eight-second-long spoken-word introduction, indicative of and related to the content of the subsequent music. It an excerpt taken from the highly acclaimed 1993 gangster film, A Bronx Tale. The speaker's voice is that of Robert De Niro, who in the film, plays the role of Lorenzo Anello.
On August 17, 2012, 50 Cent released the official lyric video for the song via the site Rap Genius, where he also explained the lyrics of it. The lyric video featured scenes from others clips by him and Dr. Dre. It also features scenes from New York City such as Times Square. No official music video confirmed yet. Another lyric video was uploded to 50 Cent's YouTube channel on August 24, 2012.
In an interview with Hot 97's Angie Martinez, 50 Cent spoke on several topics including the death of his manager, Chris Lighty as well as "New Day"'s conception and its accompanying music video that was supposed to begin filming in September 2012:
I had the record for like four months. Originally the record was recorded for Detox. [Alicia's version] sounds similar, but Swizz reproduced the entire track. We were actually scheduled to shoot a video and then the Chris Lighty situation took place.
The song first charted on the week of August 6, 2012 debuting at #79 on the BillboardHot 100. The song fell outside of the top 100 during its second week. It also debuted at #66 on BillboardHot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and managed to climb to number 43, and at #28 on Digital Songs. Internationally, the song, charted at #43 on Canadian Hot 100, and at #52 on Japan Hot 100.