Brooklyn is an extraordinary hub of music history. Producing iconic artists like the Notorious BIG, Richie Havens, Lou Reed, and Carole King, the borough should have its own hall of fame. On top of these artists, BK has also inspired some timeless tracks. These are the best songs about Brooklyn
“Brooklyn” by Steely Dan
Steely Dan keeps things light with some piano and long-winded, soulful singing on this classic track. Telling the story of a man hustling his way through financial and lady problems, the song by the American jazz rock band explores the borough and its, at times, tough charm.
“Brooklyn Zoo” by Ol’ Dirty Bastard
Bed Stuy native and never-forgotten member of the Wu Tang Clan, ODB solidified his connection to the borough with “Brooklyn Zoo,” where the MC celebrates an unbreakable spirit he developed growing up here.
“Brooklyn Roads” by Neil Diamond
Boston Red Sox fans love Neil Diamond for “Sweet Caroline,” but his roots are actually here in Brooklyn. This song takes listeners back to Diamond’s childhood when he lived, “Two floors above the butcher/ First door on the right/ And life filled to the brim/ As I stood by my window/ And looked out on those/ Brooklyn Roads.”
“Brooklyn’s Finest” by Jay Z feat. Notorious B.I.G.
Featuring two of the greatest rappers of all time—both Brooklyn natives—this track is all about local pride. Driving it home, Jay Z says, “I’m from Marcy, I’m varsity,” right before Biggy says, “My Bed-Stuy flow’s malicious.”
“Brooklyn Baby” by Lana Del Rey
Lana Del Rey brings her beautiful and ethereal voice to this ode to Lou Reed, the Beat generation and old-school Brooklyn. Talking about her generation next to history, Del Rey helps bridge the gap from Reed to Biggy to herself in this gorgeous track about Brooklyn.
“No Sleep Til Brooklyn” by The Beastie Boys
This three-man rap group was a nineties sensation, and they celebrated their wild-touring lifestyle with this track. The late Adam Yauch—MCA—states his hometown as Brooklyn in the song letting us know that that the eponymous chorus is a final chill spot from life on the road.
“Brooklyn” by Mos Def
Homegrown rapper Mos Def, now Yasiin Bey, begins this song with the hook from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ “Under the Bridge” switching out Brooklyn for the City of Angels. He goes on to rap about the whole borough with specific shout outs to Bed Stuy, Canarsie, Red Hook, Bushwick, and Coney Island.
“Coney Island Baby” by Lou Reid
One of the coolest singers of all time, Lou Reid looks back on a life of lost love, two-bit friends, and falling in love over and over again with the city. He closes the tune singing, “Coney Island baby/ Man, I swear, I’d give the whole thing up for you.”
image via flickr