15 Great Songs That Mention 15 Great Brooklyn Neighborhoods
by Josh Kurp
on Fri, Mar 9, 2012 at 1:09 PM
This is not a list of the greatest songs about Brooklyn. I repeat: THIS IS NOT A LIST OF THE GREATEST SONGS ABOUT BROOKLYN. If it were, that title would obviously go to either "Brooklyn (If You See Something, Say Something)” by Taking Back Sunday or “Brooklyn Roads” by Neil Diamond. So, Neil Diamond. Rather, this is a list of 15 wonderful songs from 15 superb artists that mention 15 equally magnificent Brooklyn neighborhoods. Please feel free to add your favorites in the comments, especially if you’ve got a song that namedrops Vinegar Hill or, shudder, RAMBO.
Artist: Delta Spirit Song: “Bushwick Blues” Neighborhood: Bushwick Most Brooklyn Line: “Do you recall that night we took the L/Out into Bushwick, it was cold as hell.”
Artist: Eleanor Friedberger Song: “Owl’s Head Park” Neighborhood: Bay Ridge Most Brooklyn Line: “You know it only rains in Owl’s Head Park/The wind feels just the same.”
Artist: Notorious B.I.G. Song: “Machine Gun Funk” Neighborhood: Bedford-Stuyvesant Most Brooklyn Line: “So I guess you know the story, the rap-side, crack-side/How I smoked funk, smacked bitches on the backside/Bed-Stuy, the place where my head rests/Fifty-shot clip if a nigga want test.”
Artist: RZA Song: “Brooklyn Babies” Neighborhood: Brownsville Most Brooklyn Line: “A Brooklyn baby, I was born up in King's County/Inside the womb seven months before the Queen found me/Up in wroughty Brownsville with fiends around me/Now roam gat in Staten with Cream Team around me.”
Artist: Lou Reed Song: “Coney Island Baby” Neighborhood: Coney Island Most Brooklyn Line: Just the way he moans “Oh, my Coney Island baby” at the end.
Artist: Jay-Z w/ Notorious B.I.G. Song: “Brooklyn’s Finest” Neighborhood: Clinton Hill Most Brooklyn Line: "(Where you from?) Brooklyn goin' out to all/(East New York...) You don't stop/(Clinton Hill...) You won't stop, nigga!/Is Brooklyn in the house?"
Artist: The Fugees Song: “How Many Mics” Neighborhood: Crown Heights Most Brooklyn Line: "I used to be underrated/Now I take iron, makes my sh*t constipated/I'm more concentrated/So on my day off, with David Sonnenberg, I play golf/Run through Crown Heights screaming out, 'Mazel Tov.'"
Artist: The National Song: “Geese of Beverly Road” Neighborhood: Ditmas Park Most Brooklyn Line: “We won’t be disappointed/We’ll fight like girls for our place at the table/Our room on the floor/We’ll set off the geese of Beverly Road.”
Artist: Gang Starr Song: “The Place Where We Dwell” Neighborhood: East New York Most Brooklyn Line: "Where we rest is no joke/So let me break it down to sections for you slowpokes/Fort Greene, Bed Stuy, Flatbush, Brownsville/Crown Heights and East New York will be down 'til/Medina takes respect for the styles we bring/'Cause in Brooklyn, we be into our own thing."
Artist: Raekwon Song: “Incarcerated Scarfaces” Neighborhood: Fort Greene Most Brooklyn Line: “Morphine chicks be burning like chlorine/Niggas recognize from here to Baltimore to Fort Greene”
Artist: Jens Lekman Song: “The End of the World Is Bigger Than Love” Neighborhood: Flatbush Most Brooklyn Line: "And it's bigger than the stock market/Than the loose change in your pocket/And the Flatbush Avenue Target/And their pharmacy department"
Artist: Cass McCombs Song: “Mystery Mail” Neighborhood: Greenpoint Most Brooklyn Line: “One day I turned the corner onto India Street/I must have turned as white as a sheet.”
Artist: Harvey Danger Song: “Pike Street, Park Slope” Neighborhood: Park Slope Most Brooklyn Line: I mean, see the title.
(It’s tough to find Dylan videos on YouTube…)
Artist: Bob Dylan Song: “Joey” Neighborhood: Red Hook Most Brooklyn Line: “Born in Red Hook, Brooklyn in the year of who knows when/Opened up his eyes to the tune of an accordion.”
Artist: Jeffrey Lewis Song: “Williamsburg Will Oldham Horror” Neighborhood: Williamsburg Most Brooklyn Line: “And on the L train in the morning, I was really sure I saw Will Oldham/He was wearin' the same sunglasses he had on stage at the Bowery Ballroom/Had he come to walk among the Williamsburgers of his kingdom/And you might say now there's a guy who seems to have their world laid out before him.”