Hopped off the plane at JFK with a camera and a subway map. Wait, that’s not how it goes. But fear not, because here is a list of songs (mostly hip hop) to soundtrack your day from morning prep to the tortured barefoot walk back home.


  • CL — Lifted You’ve just woken up and you’ve got to prepare for an entire day out in the city. Make sure you get a couple of soundbites from this uplifting, mellow hip-hop track. This is a song you can sing and dance to while you reminisce about thottier times back when you were dorming at NYU.
  • J. Cole — Hello One of the many emotional and introspective tracks on J. Cole’s 2014 Forest Hills Drive album, Hello is undoubtedly a bit of a downer but you’re the star of this music video now. Find a nice window seat on the train and start contemplating. How much wood can a woodchuck chuck? What’s the best kind of cheese to use in French onion soup? Do aliens exist? Should I call my ex? I don’t know man, but you look damn good thinking about it.
  • Black Star — Definition You’ve let your soul cry for a little bit and now it’s time to pull yourself together. Get out of your head and back into New York. Kick it like 123 with Mos Def and Talib Kweli. Two of the most prolific Black hip-hop artists of our time rap about the hustle in NYC. Doesn’t get much more authentic than this.
  • Nas — The World is Yours Another portrait of gritty city life, and one of the best hip-hop songs ever recorded. The song talks about having ambition despite having humble beginnings. The smooth hook will be stuck in your head for hours after the song is done.
  • Jay-Z ft. Alicia Keys — Empire State of Mind This song requires no explanation.
  • Survivor — Eye of the Tiger You don’t need the whole song — just the intro. Get yourself psyched up to play Mystery Room NYC and help us find Dr. Edward Daniels. You got this!
  • Any Pitbull Song in Existence We don’t know about the rest of the world, but NY is just not over Pitbull. Whether you escaped Mystery Room or not, Pitbull is either the perfect pick me up or the perfect way to begin the rest of your night.


This was a fun list, but there are so many artists from New York and elsewhere that use their art to fully capture what it’s like living in this city. The colors, the smells, the conflict, the love — it all comes together in a couple of bars, a beautiful hook, and of course one perfect dale!. We want to make sure you have the most picture perfect day in NYC and we hope you’ll take this list to accompany you!