N.Y. State of Mind

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Not to be confused with New York State of Mind or Empire State of Mind.
"N.Y. State of Mind"
Song by Nas from the album Illmatic
Released April 19, 1994
Recorded 1992
Genre East Coast hip hop, hardcore hip hop, Gangsta Rap
Length 4:54
Label Columbia Records
Writer(s) Nasir Jones, Chris Martin
Producer(s) DJ Premier
Illmatic track listing
"The Genesis"
"N.Y. State of Mind"
"Life's a Bitch"
Music sample

"N.Y. State of Mind" is a song by American hip hop recording artist Nas, taken from his debut studio album Illmatic (1994). The song's production was handled by DJ Premier who sampled two jazz songs: "Mind Rain" by Joe Chambers and "Flight Time" by Donald Byrd.[1] Premier additionally scratches vocals from Eric B. & Rakim's "Mahogany" for the song's chorus.[2] Nas raps two verses on the song in which he talks about his rapping talent and describes the dangerous environment that is the city of New York. Nas has attributed the song "Streets of New York" by Kool G Rap as one of the song's primary influences (Kool G Rap would later sample this song, plus give Nas a guest spot on his album 4,5,6). A sequel to "N.Y. State of Mind" can be found on Nas' 1999 album I Am.... An early version of the song can be found on Nas' demo tape under the name "I'm a Villain".[3] It was rumored that a track entitled "N.Y. State of Mind, Pt. III" was scheduled to be released in Nas' upcoming album "The Lost Tapes 2", but it is unknown if this is true.[citation needed] The entire first verse was recorded in one take.

Critical acclaim[edit]

"N.Y. State of Mind" ranks #74 on About.com's Top 100 Rap Songs.[4]

Rolling Stone magazine placed the song on its list of "The 50 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs of All Time."[5]

Marc L. Hill of PopMatters describes "N.Y. State of Mind" as a standout track on Illmatic claiming that it "provides as clear a depiction of ghetto life as a Gordon Parks photograph or a Langston Hughes poem."[6] The song is also one of a few rap songs to be featured in the Norton Anthology of African American Literature.[7] It is featured on Nas' 2007 greatest hits album as the only non-single song in the album, and on the 1999 compilation Best of D&D Studios, Vol. 1. Steve 'Flash' Juon of RapReviews.com states:

The song is included on the soundtrack of video games True Crime: New York City and Saints Row 2.[9][10]


External links[edit]