The New York Yankees have been blasting Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” during their playoff run. Now, the team is having the rap king perform the song live to kick off Game 1 of the World Series.
Jay-Z and fellow New Yorker Alicia Keys are set to perform the hit on Wednesday, as the Yankees take on defending World Series champs, the Philadelphia Phillies.
“Thank the good Lord for making me a Yankee,” the Brooklyn native said in an interview Monday.
He calls the opportunity a “once in a lifetime experience” and says though the jam has become an unofficial New York anthem, he’s not pushing for it to be the city’s theme song.
“I’m not pitching it for anything, it’s just a song I made for New York City,” he said.
“Really it’s about inspiration, it’s about hope — I think that’s what connects with people. The song connects outside of New York. Every night I play it, there’s a monster response, no matter if we’re in Providence or whenever.”
The 39-year-old rapper was busy Monday promoting the new “DJ Hero” video game, out Tuesday. A special edition of the game — “DJ Hero Renegade Edition” — features a turntable controller as well as a two CDs, one from Jay-Z and another from Eminem.
Jay-Z, who has released eleven albums, says this was an opportunity for him to release his “best of” material.
“I picked a song from each of my albums. I’ve never had a greatest hits, so it’s pretty much like my greatest hits,” he said.
He also said the new video game may make its players overconfident about their DJ skills in real life.
“It’s very challenging and fun and you get lost and you start believing that you can deejay a party,” he laughed. “I think some kids may go out and try to deejay a party and really mess up really bad and realize it’s not as easy as it seems.”
Jay-Z will also be getting involved in the Broadway play, “Fela,” an Afrobeat musical about the life of Nigerian musician Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.
“It’s kind of early,” he said of his involvement in the musical, which also finds Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith participating.
“I went to see the play a couple months ago and it was fantastic,” he said.
“Fela” opens Monday, Nov. 23 at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre.