Empire State of Mind Makes No Sense

Help me out here people:

Jay-Z's single "Empire State of Mind" featuring Alicia Keys is undeniably a fantastic fucking song. I've been hearing it all over Z100 for the last couple of days and it makes my day, every day, multiple times per day. However, there's one thing that really bugs me about Alicia Keys' part. Justin and Sarah and I walked from 14th st. to Morningside Heights last night and we spent a good portion of that time discussing this.

The chorus lyric is "Concrete jungle where dreams are made of" repeatedly. This doesn't make any grammatical sense. Think about it. We can agree that "concrete jungle" = New York. So plugging New York in instead, we get, "New York where dreams are made of". We can furthermore assume that since she's a Columbia University dropout, she understands the how colons work. So let's say she meant "New York: Where dreams are made of". That is wrong. It should be "where dreams are made." I briefly convinced myself I was hearing "where dreams are made up" but I checked it and that's not what she's saying.

Alicia is definitely wrong here. Someone needs to tell her.


iDiaz | November 5, 2010 at 4:34 PM

Augh, this is also driving me crazy. It just doesn't reconcile. I tried to simplify it in a sort of logical sense and this is what I got:

In New York,
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of

Option 1:
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of New York

Option 2:
In New York, dreams are made of concrete jungle

Neither of those make any sense, at least when you try to figure out if that's what she meant to say. It seems like she's meaning to say New York is where dreams are made. After some brainstorming, I came up with a better option:

In New York,
Concrete jungle where dreams are made true,
There's nothing you can't do.


Anonymous | February 1, 2011 at 5:39 PM

Really? Jay-Z and rappers the world over (lyricists of every ilk, for that matter) habitually rape the English language to make their rhymes fit and the groove flow, and this is the one thing that bothers you about this song? That Ms Keys has fallen into the same habit shouldn't be that surprising. If you like the tune, just take it at face value and enjoy it for what it is.

alex | August 12, 2011 at 7:59 PM

absolutely agree, i think the lyric was always supposed to be "where dreams are made TRUE", the rhyme scheme makes that obvious, but alicia fucked it up.

Anonymous | April 19, 2012 at 3:57 AM

She has mixed up 2 commonly used phrases. " the kind of stuff dreams are made of" I have heard many times in movies etc. And a place "where dreams are made". But she has got it wrong and ended up singing a combination of the 2.
"where dreams are made of" . where dreams are made of what lol ? definately doesnt make sense. The first few times you hear it you know it sounds wrong but doubt yourself as the 2 correct phrases are so similar.

Anonymous | July 3, 2012 at 1:11 AM

She's saying: where dreams are made of "there's nothing you can't do". As in that's how they're made, by having the mindset of "There's nothing you can't do"

Anonymous | October 7, 2012 at 12:04 AM

hi, it's actually "where dreams are made, oh, there's nothing... etc"