Published on December 16th, 2009 | by Sharilyn Johnson


Lyrics: Stephen Colbert’s “Empire State of Mind” w/ Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys was the guest on Tuesday’s Colbert Report. She started singing Empire State of Mind. Colbert joined her — with his own set of Jay-z-esque lyrics based on the suburbanite’s view of NYC.

For Americans
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For the rest of the world, there’s Youtube (for now)

But even if you saw the show, you probably missed half the lyrics anyway as they went by at lightening speed. God help you if you spent precious time laughing. Here are the lyrics to Colbert’s 4-verse suburban rap, sans a few mysterious words in the final line (don’t thank me, thank whomever invented the “rewind live tv” feature):

I love New York, king of all the cities
Lived up by the Guggenheim ’til I got some kiddies
Moved to Connecticut, bye George Pataki
Drove to the drycleaners, pickin’ up my khakis

Shopping mall is close, my community is gated
My shorties are all private school educated
Home theater system, 60 inch plasma
Clean suburban air, much better for my asthma

Still hit the city, Times Square keep it real
Hard Rock Cafe for the appetizer deal
M&M Store, Disney Store, I’m in heaven
I own this top 41st to 47th

Ticket to the Lion King, that show is fantastic
Leave a half an hour early so I can beat the traffic
I can get home really fast, driver rocks an E-ZPass
Land at ??? gas, and the upper middle class.

It should be noted, of course, that this was written from Colbert’s character’s perspective — in that the character lives in CT, Colbert himself doesn’t (but still commutes, and moved out of the city when he got the “kiddies”). Great writing on these lyrics; I fully expected to see DJ Javerbaum thanked in the credits, but it looks like this masterpiece was an in-house job. Color me impressed.

About the Author

is the author of the book Bears & Balls: The Colbert Report A-Z. Called "one of the city’s most discriminating comedy critics” by NOW Magazine, Sharilyn has been covering comedy for longer than she cares to admit. She served as the comedy reporter for Winnipeg's Uptown Magazine for five years, and was the host of the radio show Laugh Tracks for three seasons. Her work has also appeared in the Toronto Star, the Winnipeg Free Press, The Apiary, and on CBC Radio's national comedy programs LOL and Definitely Not the Opera.

4 Responses to Lyrics: Stephen Colbert’s “Empire State of Mind” w/ Alicia Keys

  1. Lance says:

    Thanks for this, didn’t catch it.

    I’m pretty confident that the last line is “Land of cheaper gas and the upper-middle class”

  2. Jay Zee says:

    Volvo to the drycleaners, pickin’ up my khakis

    I own this town 41st to 47th

    Land of cheaper gas, and the upper middle class.


  3. recognizer says:

    thanks for the transcription, and thanks to the other commenters for the touch ups.

  4. Lady J says:

    loved it. thanks for the lyrics!

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