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Jay-Z's new commercial: from Marcy to Barclays (sort of); "Empire" tops Time Out New York's Best NYC songs (but what about C.R.E.A.M.?)

Jay-Z reflects on his inspiring journey to the top in the first-ever Rocawear commercial, directed by Anthony Mandler. Mr. Carter describes himself as a kid growing up in the Marcy Projects of Brooklyn to eventually becoming an executive of many brands including his clothing line Rocawear.

“My goal was to have one gold album and that was it,” says the Roc Nation mogul. “And then it became, I want to show that an artist can ascend to the executive ranks.”
No, despite what Rap-Up says, Jay-Z's not scheduled to play eight concerts starting in September; no number has been released. And Barclays isn't so much in the video as in a billboard in the video; for the record, that billboard looks like it's even farther from Marcy, in Manhattan's Times Square. Apparently it was broadcast last night during the NCAA finals.

"Empire State of Mind" tops TONY

Time Out New York's list of "100 Best NYC Songs" places Jay-Z at the top, surely momentum--not that he needed it--for the mega-hype that will accompany his September 28 Barclays Center debut.

The winner: 1. Jay-Z with Alicia Keys, “Empire State of Mind” (2009)
Of all the world’s glitzy capitals, New York is the one that’s truly the city of dreamers. Rough-and-tumble is putting it mildly, as the city’s rich musical history attests. But from its many knocks, something amazing emerges. When Jay-Z’s roll-with-the-punches verse gives way to Alicia Keys’s chorus, it’s the musical equivalent of the first time you touched down on the JFK tarmac or saw the Statue of Liberty. “Empire State of Mind” is hopeful and warm—and for that reason, it’s the only song to provide a real update to Sinatra’s “New York, New York.” We’ll take it.—Sophie Harris
A sidebar about New York's songwriting royalty ends thusly:
The current king of New York, Jay-Z, has the rare ability to embody our moment, successful and polished, with the desire to reach back to those scrappier salad days, nostalgic while looking forward."
Beyond Jay

But Jay's much better at music and lyrics than talking up the Barclays Center, where he has "the rare ability" to front for some guys richer than he.

Another song on the list breaks that sentiment down. At #11 is Wu-Tang Clan's "C.R.E.A.M." And that stands for "cash rules everything around me.”

Also consider #76, The Dictators' "Avenue A," which I wrote about in May 2009 in connection with laments about gentrification.