Pop Culture in Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” Music Video Featuring Alicia Keys

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Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” is a rap song released n 2009. The video features many photographs of multiple locations in New York, short video clips of Jay-Z rapping and Alicia Keys playing the piano. The song is mainly a low and mass culture text, but also has some high culture aspects. Folk culture is difficult to find in the video or lyrics. Because of the way Jay-Z presents the song, it becomes clear that there may be a postmodernist undertone taken in the song and music video. The hegemonic values of a white, middle-class society are also presented. But, while these values are presented, Jay-Z also introduces agency through the message that can be found in his lyrics. The music and the video have many different aspects that pertain to pop culture, and refer to various characteristics of pop culture. However, the video does not seem to capture many traits of folk culture in either the lyrics or the cinematography. It may be a stretch, but the theme of the state and city of New York could, perhaps, be considered a piece of folk culture. New York has been featured in hundreds, if not thousands, of different songs since it was established almost 400 years ago. This legacy left by the city and state in those songs could be considered a kind of mythology. This mythology could be considered to be folk culture. In turn, if the legacy of the were to be considered folk culture, it would be almost contradictory to the lyrics of the song since Jay-Z only seems to make reference to modern, low culture subjects, such as the New York Yankees and Yankee Stadium, along with the suggestion that New York is the “home of the hip-hop”. The song and music video are primarily low and mass culture. This can be seen through a number of different elements presented in the text itself. Most obvious is the fact that the song is a rap song. Rap songs are usually attributed to low

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