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Updated by Kendra Brea Cooper on Sep 23, 2014
Headline for Sounds of City Streets: 10 Songs about New York City
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Sounds of City Streets: 10 Songs about New York City

There are thousands of songs dedicated to the city that never sleeps. They're filled with lyrics that tell the stories of a city whose streets have carried the spirit of revolution during Occupy, buildings that have become natural pieces of the sky, and people who hold NYC as part of their own blood, sweat, and tears.

An Open Letter to NYC-The Beastie Boys

With a bass line as hectic as the streets of New York, the Beastie Boys take in all that is the city, and admire it as if they were writing a letter to a close friend. It's the hip hop ode to a city that feels familiar even if you've never been there.

Back to Manhattan-Norah Jones

Norah Jones sings of the ties that are hard to keep tight in a city so large. One city can have multiple worlds, and existence can be dramatically different from person to person. Sometimes, staying in love depends on distance.

Empire State of Mind -Jay Z and Alicia Keys

Sometimes it feels as if a city raised you. It's as if you were carved by the very streets you walked on, by the people you lived beside, and by the buildings that seemed as if they were a permanent part of the sky. This city creates your dreams, supports them, and crushes them.

No Sleep 'til Brooklyn-Beastie Boys

The Beastie Boys can't help but rhyme about this city because it's clearly part of their identity. NYC has a way of running in the blood of those born and raised there, and it sticks with them where ever they end up.

Harlem Streets-Immortal Technique

Immortal Technique does not hold back when it comes to giving listeners a view of the real. His lyrics don't cover up anything with sugar and fantasy, and his narrative sinks in as he peels it all back to reveal the injustice.

Bronx Keeps Creating It-Fat Joe

Fat Joe knows that his art isn't something created only from the inside, that it also comes from your surroundings. In this case, the Bronx keeps creating it.

CBGBs-Syd Straw

CBGB was a famous music club in NYC. It was an iconic space for punk rock, as it comes up in the history of bands such as The Ramones and the Talking Heads. It's another moment where the city proves itself as a culture creator.

Central Park West-John Coltrane

The beauty of Central Park is illustrated in the notes of Coltrane's wonderful jazz number. No lyrics are needed to bring the New York city feelings in.

Broadway-The Clash

NYC carries all walks of life with only the cold support of concrete. The Clash sings of society, the city, and the individual in this song about struggle. Class differences are obvious in a city as big as New York, even hierarchies exist in architecture when the penthouse view is at the top.

Dropping Some NYC-Blues Traveler

New York city finds it's way into your system, and it's a trip in more ways than one.