Someone Listened to All 208 Jay-Z Songs and Found All 67 References to Brooklyn. Then they listed the references on Complex, along with the song, album, and a little commentary and background information. They also analyzed the theme of Brooklyn in Jay-Z’s music over the years, using it as a way to track his development as an artist.
Fun fact: when listening to any given Jay-Z song, there is a 37% chance that he’ll reference Brooklyn. Crazy!
The references range from the geographical (“You know when I heard that? When I was back home/I’mcomfortable dogg, Brooklyn to Rome”) to the literary (“I planted my seed on infertile land Myrtle Park/Marcy,Flushing and Nostrand and/Still I grew some how I knew the sun will shinethrough/And touch my soul take hold of my hand/Look man, a tree grows in Brooklyn”), to the incendiary (“I’m ballin’ for real you pump faking’ it/Manhattankeep on faking it, Brooklyn keep on taking it”), and also touching on professional sports (“Chi-town’s D-Rose/I’m movin’ the Nets to BK”).
Then there’s my personal favorite, from “Hello, Brooklyn”:
“Like a mama you birthed me, Brooklyn you nursedme/Schooled me with the hard knocks, better than Berkeley/They said you’d murkme, by the time I was twenty-one/That shit disturbed me, but you never hurtme/Hello Brooklyn, if we had a daughter/Guess what I’m a call her, Brooklyn Carter/When I left you for Virginia, it didn’t offend ya”