YouTube to Fame

Technology has been molded into our everyday lives and become apart of our daily rituals. We typically depend on technology to socialize with one another and interact. The Internet feeds to our addiction of technology  with various sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube and keeps us busy with these virtual interactions. Although technology may not be face-to-face, it allows one to connect with others across the globe and can spread information easilyThese social networking sites push for others to share news and music with their friends. Therefore, this makes information spread easily amongst others. 

Image

 

The easy access and global connection that is associated with the Internet makes it an ideal place for one to promote themselves and their talents. YouTube is filled with various videos of people showcasing their talents worldwide. Although some may post their talents to share with their friends and family, others post in hopes to be famous. Fortunately, technology is so powerful and can bring so many people together that this has worked for many. Artists such as Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, and Timeflies first started out on the Internet and posting videos to YouTube. YouTube worked as a site of exchange for these artists and they enjoyed watching fans watch and comment on their videos. Although they just did this for enjoyment at first, as they all stated in interviews, they all found out that they had much more potential. YouTube allowed them all to find someone to sign a contract with and therefore, make money while showing off their talents. Although those were not their initial intentions, the power of technology brought all these artists different paths in life. As stated before, those extra shares via social networking sites help the hidden talents noticed and successful in the music industry. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iL7sBxQvgkE

Timeflies originally began as Timeflies Tuesday, only posting songs on Tuesday. This allowed all of Timeflies’ fans to gather on YouTube in anticipation of the next release of a video. Although they did not make money off of these songs, they enjoyed watching the fans sings a lot and tweet to them how much they enjoyed it. Cal and Rez, the creators of Timeflies, originally used music as a site of exchange to see the love given by their fans. The video above displays one of the first videos posted by Timeflies. The little thought into the video as to where the video was taken place and the freestyling seen in the song proves how Timeflies posted videos for enjoyment rather than money. These videos have now gotten over 2 million views and proves how fast technology works. This video was only posted November 2011 and now, Timeflies has a signed contract and has gone from videos in a basement and YouTube to the radio and sold out concerts. Without the power of technology, Timeflies’ success would not have been able to be completed. Timeflies may have posted the video but fans spread the video amongst others via the internet. 

 

 

Spotify and it’s affect on ownership of digital mediums.

Historically recorded music has undergone changes both stylistically and the means of broadcast in which fans have experienced. From analog era technologies like 8 tracks, vinyl, both A.M and F.M radio broadcasts, as well as cassette players, revolutions in musical providers have steadily improved the methods in which music is delivered and interpreted. Programs like iTunes and Pandora have helped plunge the musical distributors into the modern digital age we users enjoy today. Each of these programs introduced new methods of personalization and digitization of music choice. Each program differs in its delivery style, Pandora operating as an Internet music source, accessible by computer, tablet or mobile device. Pandora filters music relevant to artists that the user has chosen, and creates a station based on the chosen artist subject to change depending on user functionality. While iTunes acts as a personalized arrangement of owned music to later be distributed to a device such as a mobile or other Apple owned product. While both of these distributors represent a figure in the changing music scene, a newer more efficient program exists as a means of superiority over other sources. This website, music provider is known as Spotify. Spotify utilizes the positive aspects of personalization from iTunes and the sporadic radio streaming from Pandora. Despite the glaring similarities, Spotify differs from other music sources due to its unique distribution source and the manner in which it complies with the digitization of music according to the ownership act incorporated in the Copyright Act of 1978. Pertaining specifically to ownership the “Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998” defined the regulation and specific terms of ownership in the digital age of music. In a world of sampling and fragmented sounds of music past, Spotify introduces an interface that is both compliant and user friendly toward the means of customization. Spotify clarifies the blurred lines of what is musical ownership in a physical sense and in a digitalized fiasco that is the Internet. Despite this seemingly positive aspect of digital media, the sense of ownership is seemingly blurred in the translation of digital media. Is this music provider “Kosher” in regard to protecting both the user and artist in a seemingly impossible scenario?

            Sources of music and their means of accessibility have changed periodically as technology allowed it to. In early stages of musical distribution there were very limited ways of accessibility and quality was not necessarily the highest. Sources like record players were the first to distribute captured audio recording. Eventually music itself was recorded for individuals to enjoy on a personal song by song level. Record players, to the “Walkman,” to more recently Mp3 players dominated their own respective time period, and the medium in which extraction of these sources has changed as a result. The only way to receive new musical content in previous generations of musical intake was through physical copies of recorded media, and to play these sources in a device suitable to their time period. Despite physical copies of musical sources still remaining available today, through digital intervention, recorded music can be accessed more easily and cost effectively for the user depending on the program. iTunes acted as a sort of pioneer for this revolution in musical collection, making the storing of music possible with its innovative interface. iTunes acted as a pioneer of legally downloading music amongst the digital age. This impact heavy action held significance for both the record companies and the general consumer. 

Over 25 billion songs, music videos, podcasts and general music related media have been purchased through the site, magnifying the importance and impact the site had on the musical industry. It is the leading innovator of creating an organized and personalized musical data system. Yet iTunes lacks something of major importance to the average user, the ability for free access. iTunes offers interval previews of 10 to 15 second previews of songs depending on the version installed. This is a sort of ploy for the user, as they are subjected to purchase a piece of media. This differs greatly from Spotify, which operates as a free to use program of streaming music with limited commercial interruption in order to collect money for the artists listed. A premium version of this service may also be purchased and can be accessed via mobile and or tablet, without commercial intervention. As a source, Spotify masters the user interface that iTunes established, and provides a user-friendlier program for the personalized user. Participants in musical streaming enjoy varieties of music that is accessible through both programs music of all varieties are available through both programs.   

Music represents a largely interpersonal participatory activity. No one person has the same exact taste in style of music, and programs like iTunes continue to develop the use of the term “playlists” to give users a sense of personalization pertaining to musical experience. “Playlists” are programs in which users are able to group multiple songs that either is similar based on criteria of the user’s desire, or completely scattered stylistically depending on the user’s preference. Differing from iTunes entirely Spotify allows its users even in the free version to create playlists including songs not actually owned by the user accessible only through a computer. The program allows “Premium users” to access these user created playlists via mobile, and offline downloading (Spotify terms of use).

Image

Spotify contains many featured playlists and ultimatly sets apart a term of use for the general consumer. 

Personalization plays a significant role in the functionality in which Spotify operates. Spotify advertises on its information page that it has “a catalog of over 20 million songs” and “adds 20,000 songs every day.” (Spotify.com). This vast array of songs music allows a user many options in which they can enjoy their musical endeavors. Spotify is accessible by devices of all phases. An individual can gain access to Spotify’s catalog by any device with Internet capabilities. Prior to iTunes changing their library’s catalog setup of 37 million songs (iTunes.com) economists mulled over the decision to change their initial setup of having uniform pricing of  a paid 99cent per song basis in order to ensure guaranteed royalties regardless of the contents popularity and demand. Because of this uniform pricing, iTunes garneted a resulting gain on a product they sold and greedily raised prices based on popularity of its content.  

Image

 

Spotify as a comparison to other free sources. 

 

 

 

 

Intelligent Women Transforming Into Stupid Girls – The Retrogression of Society

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any” – Alice Walker

Female adolescents are extremely vulnerable to the demands of society, and without proper role models and goals, their aspirations become skewed, and the days of dreaming of being a brain surgeon or the president dissipate. No longer do young girls seek to use their knowledge in a productive manner, but instead, they wish to appeal to men and society as a whole. Nowadays, women aren’t happy with their bodies to the extent that they are willing to destroy it in the quest of attaining beauty.  P!nk’s goal is to send a message that women should not strive to be objects of desire, but instead, they should maintain goals and stop worrying so much about what total strangers think of them. Listening to the song “Stupid Girls” as a young girl truly had an affect on me and presumably millions of other girls my age. To have a strong, female role model speak to her fans and state that every girl is worth something more than just her looks was empowering. P!nk embeds the message regarding this pressing matter in a satirical and light hearted manner, maintaining the audience’s attention while giving them something catchy to sing along with.

P!nk addresses this societal crisis in accordance to the following video, which displays facts and figures about women and the struggle they face as the result of media influence.

Being stupid is not cute; acting as a doormat for men AND women is not cute; destroying your body to be skinny is not cute; blindly following the advice of self-absorbed and mindless strangers is not cute.

But you know what is cute?

Being yourself; possessing copious amounts of intelligence; aspiring to something greater than a “hot body.”

Why aren’t women respected and placed in high-ranking positions in society? For God’s sake, women comprise of 51% of America! We make up more than half of the US population, so why are women just seen as mindless, submissive beings instead of an intelligent and powerful gender? Something must change, for if women and men of today blindly abide by what the media expects in a woman, nothing will ever change and women will be eternally regarded as objects instead of intelligent human beings.

How much freedom is too much?

The internet has become a very prominent part of our society and our generation as a whole over the past decade, so much that it is as much part of my daily routine as brushing my teeth or using the bathroom. I wake up, look at my phone, check my Twitter and Instagram feed, check the ESPN app for scores, then I proceed with my day. Judging from what I just wrote, you can clearly see I use the internet for more recreational purposes as opposed to practical ones, which brings me to my argument. The internet is no longer simply just a tool used to make life easier for us but instead it serves for more malevolent purposes these days. This is where I pose my question: How much freedom is too much?

For example, during Halloween earlier this year a woman by the name of Alicia Ann Lynch posted a picture of her Halloween costume which was her dressed a victim of the Boston Marathon Bombings. Obviously this was incredibly insensitive considering that a year hadn’t even passed since the bombings occurred, but there’s no Internet Police that can just take your post down and give some kind of sanction. Sure you can flag something as inappropriate on both Twitter and Instagram but for the most part you’re free to post what you please. So I ask, should there be some kind of self-regulation that we as individuals should exercise in order to prevent postings like that?

Image

Now, due to the vast size of the internet and the infinite amount of outlets where you can post and share media like this, the image naturally spread like wildfire and sparked outrage all over the country. Most of these offended individuals also exercised their freedom to post in a very hateful manner that shows us the two way street that is internet freedom; freedom as poster and freedom as a critic. Some go as far as using the vast information of the internet to obtain her and her parents’ addresses in order to send death threats.

Image

Do I think that self-regulation when posting is a realistic solution to excessive internet freedom? No. Do I think that some people should be completely banned from owning a camera and a twitter account? Probably. Was a line crossed by both parties? Completely. Situations like these prove that people don’t know how to conduct themselves when given too much freedom, myself included.

My next example is a website by the name of World Star Hip-Hop, as the name suggests it is a site where the latest hip-hop music videos and interviews are shared and posted. However, what this website is famously known for is its frequent postings of explicit content, often violent fights and most frequently “twerk” videos. I will focus more on the fight aspect. This website updates daily, in addition, there is a weekly fight compilation video posted where violent hits that usually result in unconsciousness are glorified and even made humorous  with sound effects. Image

This website is best known for being the source of the infamous Cleveland bus driver video, in which a Cleveland bus driver punches and then chokes a woman that spits and curses at him repeatedly. This video went viral within a few short days because from this website it was shared to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. They just became mediums for this video to gain notoriety. The bus driver lost his job, the victim was on the news for a few interviews but now I ask: where are they now? The answer, who knows, including myself, after their so called “15 minutes of fame” that the internet provides for many “stars” of viral videos such as these, the two have gone back to being ordinary citizens while the internet awaits the next best viral video.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/boston-bombing-victim-costume-sparks-outrage-threats-online-article-1.1505395

http://www.worldstarhiphop.com/videos/

Digital Frontier

With the advances in technology and the shift towards a digitized world of interaction through social media sites, it is important to recognize the amount of good and bad that can come from this, and how it is important to wisely utilize the freedom of the internet as there can be harsh impacts if freedom is not exercised wisely. The slippery slope of the digital frontier begins with the popular social media site Twitter, which is a way of interacting and expressing thoughts. Using the sports world as an example, reporters and analysts thrive on Twitter, since many athletes have accounts today and regularly post updates and opinions. Within the past year, there have been many instances of controversy in which athletes have made poor decisions with their digital freedom, which results in fines and other penalties.  For example over the summer last year, NBA superstar Amar’e Stoudamire of the Knicks was fined $50,000 for responding in an offensive and unacceptable manner to a fan who criticized him for his ability to come back from an injury. Because celebrities and athletes are supposed to act as good role models, there is greater responsibility that comes with using social media appropriately, as instances like this puts a bad image on not only the individual, but also who and what they represent and are affiliated with(the NBA in this case). This interaction also brings up another interest point about the digital frontier in how it can create an alter ego and identity. For example, B Forreal!’s criticism is protected by social media and in all likelihood if he were to ever meet Amar’e in person, it is highly unlikely that he would ever say what he said in his last tweet to his face because of Stoudemire’s intriguing size and status.

Image

Building off of the digital freedoms and digital identity, virtually anything put on the web can be tracked by employers and the government. This alone should provoke users into using the internet in a positive manner, but as seen in some cases, little things such as posting a picture of a beer or posting something controversial can create a nightmare. There are many insightful and knowledgeable sites and resources but discretion and responsibility must be used by the user in order to ensure a positive identity. In my opinion the negative aspects of social media outweigh the positives overall, as just one post could provide a damaging blow to a person’s future. For example, the Miss America pageant  generated race controversy after several racial tweets that were meant to be witty and funny backfired. This stirred up the Twitter community which bashed the posts by acknowledging how it will impact their employment in the future, and even some online articles pulled tweets to discuss the topic. On the flip side, maybe the digital frontier provides a way to weed out the irresponsible users and instances like this reiterate the importance of digital freedom. While it allows us to express ourselves, the freedom allows users to make a conscious decision to proceed wisely, as the impacts are apparent. The digital frontier will remain a significant part of our culture for a while, and the freedom will continually be monitored.

Miss America faced racists tweets online shortly after being crowned the 92nd winner


Social Commentary of Taylor Swift

Image

Taylor Swift’s song “Fifteen” has taste because it functions as a social commentary.  Swift wrote “Fifteen” because she wanted to tell the story of her and her best friend Abigail’s first year in high school.  This was important to her because she explains, “I felt in my freshman year, I grew up more than any year in my life so far.”  “Fifteen” constitutes social commentary because Swift wants to get her message across to young girls entering high school.  She warns girls not to fall for a boy just because he says he loves you, cautioning, “‘Cause when you’re fifteen and somebody tells you they love you/You’re gonna believe them.”  Swift also wants to warn girls of the trap she fell into: thinking that high school is the most important time of your life and not seeing that you really have your whole life ahead of you.  She expresses this in her lyric, “This is life before you know who you’re gonna be”.  Additionally, she tells listeners what she realized after high school.  Even though dating the star football player may seem like the greatest thing at the time, Swift can speak from experience as she expresses, “But in your life you’ll do things greater than dating the boy on the football team”.  She admits, “But I didn’t know it at fifteen”.  To further teach girls that there are more important things in life than giving yourself to a boy you fall for, Swift tells the story of her best friend Abigail.  In her emotional lines, “And Abigail gave everything she had to a boy who changed his mind/And we both cried,” Swift forewarns others from giving themselves to someone and instead realizing their bigger dreams in life, as she eventually did. 

Image

         In her video, Swift is shown walking back through time, as her present self walks through the story she shares about her high school experience.  The video mirrors the song, as she is reflecting on her past. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pb-K2tXWK4w 

Many people criticize Taylor Swift for writing whiny love songs about her past break-ups and all the terrible things men have done to her.  But “Fifteen” is not about a break-up, nor does Swift blame anyone in her song.  I think “Fifteen” is a mature song in which Swift admits to mistakes she made when she was young and shares the lessons she has learned.  I think it is positive social commentary because young girls especially can listen to these lyrics and be better prepared to not make the mistakes that Swift and Abigail did.    

Catfishing

A word that up until 2010 did not exist as a verb.

Catfishing /ˈkatˌfiSH ing/
verb.
The phenomenon of internet predators that fabricate online identities and entire social circles to trick people into emotional/romantic relationships (over a long period of time).
Possible motivations: revenge, loneliness, curiosity, boredom
The term catfishing was inspired by the 2010 documentary “Catfish.”
Who are you? Who do you want to be? Who do you wish you were? The internet provides a limitless world where you can be who you want to be, act how you would like, and live a different life. The allure of creating a new identity is too magnetic for many people. Catfishing is slowly rocking the inter web. With arenas like Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace, that are essentially playgrounds for the socially deprived and blissfully imaginative. These breeding grounds for the socially constructed prompt the Catfishers to make false identities to entreat online relationships spanning from friends to love interests.

This is great news! It is winter after all, far to cold to go outside and interact with real people, and then before you know it, it will be summer and then it will be way to hot out. Plus, why risk getting caught in the rain which might ruin your hair. Your online pictures will always be perfectly photoshopped to your ideal specifications.

No need to worry about implications or consequences for your actions, the act of taking pictures or names of other people and using them as your own identity online is not actually illegal. When the person on the other end of your screen inevitably finds a way to hack into your bank account or finds out where you live so they can rob your house, however, then it becomes illegal. Oh well.

So next time your bored or feeling lonely, don’t worry! Just get online and make a fake profile for someone that people would actually like (no offense). In seconds you will have access to thousands of people, who may or may not be fake as well, and pretend you have a social life!
Happy Catfishing!

Hip Hop: A Place for Social Commentary?

The genre of Hip Hop takes a lot of blame for promoting violence, sex and drugs but never gets the respect for the good things the music does for society. The popularity of Hip Hop has provided its artists with a large platform for which they can voice their opinions on issues that is going on in society. And so far in Hip Hop’s short history a majority of the bigger well none artists have taken advantage of the large platform and voiced their opinions on several different topics.For example, Kanye West, (when he’s not having rants and crashing award shows) uses his platform to address issues that’s going on in the world. A great example of Kanye West social commentary is displayed in the music video for his 2005 hit “Diamonds From Sierra Leone” (which can be seen below) 

The issues of “blood diamonds” and how African mine workers work hard just so the rest of the world can enjoy the diamonds is being brought up in this music video. For example at the 1:50 mark A man proposes to his girlfriend and soon after he puts the the ring on her finger the woman’s hand start to bleed while an African girl is in the background. That scene is so powerful because when we get these items like diamonds we are happy and excited but if we ever know where these items come from and the struggles that these items cause to people we wouldn’t really want to purchase them as much. If you listen to the song Kanye doesn’t really address the issue but he does so in the music and the song title and I think that is a more effective way to do it. The visual forces you to see whats going on in Sierra Leone instead of just rapping about it and hoping the audience gets what he is saying. In Kanye’s defense he does have a remix to the song where he does talk about the issue Sierra Leone but it wasn’t a single so there was no visual to it. The remix can be heard here : 

In the remix Kanye addresses the situation in Sierra Leone more in his raps with lines like :The diamonds, the chains, the bracelets, the charmses/I thought my Jesus Piece was so harmless’/til I seen a picture of a shorty armless. In that line you can see how we are unaware of the some of the happenings in our pursuit to acquire diamonds and other luxury possessions.

The answer to the question if Hip Hop is a place for social commentary would be a yes. While some may argue that Kanye is the only rapper mainstream” to discuss issues in society they would be wrong as artist such as Tupac who wrote songs that include “Brenda’s got a baby” ( a song about teenage pregnancy), “Keep your head up”, (a song about different issues like rape and poverty).  Both videos can be seen below.

Social Commentary in Lily Allen’s “Hard Out There”

It’s been 4 years since her second studio album, It’s Not Me, It’s You, and fans have been eagerly awaiting for the English star’s return to the music scene.  Lily Allen is a female artist who has never been shy to speak her mind.  She expresses her opinions and comments on current issues persisting the society around us.  She is an artist that most relevantly appeals to a female audience.

For example, the single Not Fair where she lyrically expresses sexual dissatisfaction with a man. “When we go up to bed, you’re just no good, it’s such a shame … You’re supposed to care, but you never make me scream”

Or 22 where she discusses society’s general view/expectations of a woman’s life. “It’s sad but it’s true how society says her life is already over”

One of the hottest songs this summer was Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines, a song that has been criticized overall not just for its rapey-vibe but also for its objectification of women in the official music video.  In the MTV VMA’s this year, Thicke had performed his hit with Miley Cyrus [who really emphasized twerking for us all] and the performance overall was a racy one.  It was often Cyrus who was criticized for dancing on Thicke, no one really said anything about Thicke.  In my opinion, Thicke is just as responsible for the performance and should know better, keeping in mind that he is a 36 year-old father and Cyrus was not even 21.  Basically, Miley Cyrus has been slut-shamed for the performance all because of the double standard that society puts for how women should and shouldn’t express themselves.

Lily Allen is one who comments on the roles emphasized for women by society and all the double-standards that surround us today. In November of this year, she released her single Hard Out There which addresses the entertainment industry’s attitude towards women as a whole and also features a quick parody of Thicke’s Blurred Lines video.

The video starts with Allen getting a liposuction procedure done and essentially being bashed by the men in the room [manager and doctors] for her weight – shaming her for her weight, “How can somebody let themselves get like this?”, to which she replies that she had 2 kids during the 4 year hiatus. This just shows what expectations and treatment women receive as far as the need for having a specific physical appearance goes.   She’s getting the procedure done to be ready for her comeback. She was then shown with a group of women whose jobs were to dance sexy and twerk – portrayed hilariously with Allen adjusting and trying to fit in and dance with the girls. The video overall, perhaps NSFW, was quite amusing and featured this scene in which she parodies the balloon art in Thicke’s video that boasts of his ‘big dick’.However it is the song itself and its lyrics that really express and makes this a ‘women-anthem’.  Lyrics such as, “If I told you ’bout my sex life, you’d call me a slut / When boys be talkin’ ’bout their bitches, no one’s making a fuss.” explicitly comments on the sexuality double standard among men men and women. She also sings, “Don’t need to shake my ass for you, ’cause I’ve got a brain.”, commenting on the objectified roles that women are typically portrayed in music videos today, while ironically the video itself is with a bunch of dancing women [on a side-note, the song’s chorus is also auto-tuned in a way of satire of today’s music]. There’s also the lyrics, “You should probably lose some weight, ‘cause we can’t see your bones. You should probably fix your face, or you’ll end up on your own … You’re not a size 6 and you’re not good looking / Well, you better be rich or be real good at cooking.” which pretty much state the general importance society emphasizes on women’s physical appearances and how the most desirable women must be skinny. The song’s chorus, “It’s hard, it’s hard, it’s hard out here for a bitch”, simply wraps up the general focus that women are in fact in tougher situations and put in unfair set expectations as opposed to men. The bridge, “Inequality promises that it’s here to stay / Always trust the injustice ’cause it’s not going away.” pretty much states the sad hard-hitting truth that these ideas of women will never go away, that there will never ultimately be equality among men and women, and that we will have to put up with these double-standards even if we don’t want to.  Overall, I do feel like this song is a women-anthem to an extent and see Lily Allen as one of the few voices for women in music, one of the few women who will actually address these issues and not simply accept them and let them be.

Nas’s: NY State of Mind in terms of cultural significance.

Nas is an American born New York City hip hop artist. His style reflects that of a critical commentary of both society and individuals themselves. In 1994 Nas released perhaps the most influential hip hop albums of all time in his debut album “Illmatic” containing many tracks that reflect the struggles of living in an urban society such as New York City. The song that most clearly represents the significance of Nas’s upbringing on the album is track number 2 “NY state of mind”. Although similar in name to a 1976 Billy Joel song, Nas’s song takes a much more critical lens on the perspective of urban New York City. Nas’s critical perspective of New York City is fueled by the changing and increasingly more dangerous streets of New York City.

This song is very representative of a first hand account of the adverse situations going on in New York City during the early 90’s. Nas mentions the ubiquity of firearms and violence that seemed to appear in the “ghettos” of his upbringing. Nas writes “It’s like the game ain’t the same, got younger niggas pulling the triggas, bringing fame to their name.” This is a heavy lyric to say the least, as he identifies that there is a problem with violence and it has become apparent among the world. While identifying those firearms remain prevalent in his neighborhood, Nas is very critical of the youth being involved with such activity. He blames society in general for members of the youth for taking part in such an activity. His words reflect that participants of firearms and gang activity are doing it to simply gain street credit. When Nas writes “bringing fame to their name” he is talking about how participating in this culture gives an appearance of being thug or tough rather than for personal protection. This act is reflective of a failing society which Nas is increasingly disproving of.

While Nas disapproves of gang activity in terms of reflecting society, he recognizes that gang activity is a reality he has to live and be mindful of this fact. To site specifically Nas writers “I never sleep because sleep is the cousin of death. Beyond the walls of intelligence, life is defined, I think of crime when I’m in the New YorkState of mind” Nas is commenting that his association to New York is a life of crime. He must remain aware of the pending dangers of New York City crime life, and sites “I never sleep because sleep is the cousin of death”. Nas is fearful that if he is not watchful he may well be subjected to violence and perhaps death. He remains fearful of his surroundings even when sleeping so he remains awake during what should be a tranquil time.

The overall message of the song reflects that of a critical view of New York City. Nas attributes this “New YorkState of mind” as one to be fearful and wary of impending danger that exisits in the urban areas of the city. Nas is aware that ensuing danger is ubiquitous in these areas and is preaching for change. He blames society for influencing younger members of society in a negative way. He longs for the improvement of society, so other members are not subjected to the same experiences he had to face.

Lyrics for NY State of Mind