Chi-Town State of Mind

chicago river
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This past Valentine’s Day I happened across Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind.” I had heard the song before but something about the spirit of the day made it hit my ears in an entirely different light. Jay-Z had written a song for the city he loved; I had a city that I loved, too. Why should New York get all the glory? I searched for an instrumental version of “Empire” and crafted my own love song for the city that I call home. This was my Valentine to Chicago.

I packed up, I left behind the east coast, drove across the country
Now I think bout me most and no one’s gonna stop me
Bankin’ on the city and city bankin’ for me
Haters wanna taunt me but ladies gonna want me
On a first name basis with bouncers out in South Shore
Still at home in Lakeview West but now I run my mouth more
Summertime in Hyde Park, nothing out in Schaumburg
Bears fans waitin’ 30 years but Cubs fans waitin’ longer
Markets down in Wicker Park, drinks up in the Hancock
Parkin’ in a stickered spot with no sticker and wink at cops
Hot peppers and buns with poppies, poppin’ vodka at the Sox
Rinkside at the Blackhawks, printin’ cash like carbon copies
Corporate calls it Willis, we all call it Sears still
Haven’t changed since the fire, don’t expect we ever will
The stiffest winds don’t bend our will, even when it’s five below,
The greatest city I know, I’ll never leave Chicago

Summer’s comin’ quickly, now it’s time for picnics
Festivals every week, on every street there’s music
Barbeque and chili chefs, Celtic and Latino fests
Eat until there’s nothing left, man I gotta catch my breath
Playing fetch in dog parks, see all of the cars parked
Looking out for fireworks every time the sky’s dark
Hot dogs at the Weiner’s Circle, burgers down at Navy Pier
Both will get you shouted at but don’t nobody hate you here
Is that another “Golden” somethin’? Thugs are on the corner thuggin’
Right across from trannys wavin’ at cabbies looking for lovin’
More ladies rock Jordan jerseys then there are with Prada
Full-size cutouts of Da Coach and President Obama
Celebrities at every block, seemin’ like it wont stop
Saw Bale, coulda met Depp but I blew it off
Al Capone and Dillinger, everyone has been through here
Now it feels like my time, thank the lord I’m living here

I’ve kicked it up in Boston, tried it in San Fran, no
Hot down in Orlando, but man I’m not a fan, though
Baltimore, D.C. and Philly, they ain’t got the ammo
Got Second City camo now I’m killin’ it like Rambo
I know where the cover’s low, I can get you free beer
Man, you gotta be here, cause I ain’t goin’ anywhere
See it snowin’ everywhere, people park illegally
Walkin’ Clark with Melanie, no wonder why they beep at me
Suited up regally, pretty ladies peepin’ me
Drop a couple sweet words and now they wanna be with me
But I’m sleepin’ peacefully, tryna get my mind right
Always get my mind right every time that I write
And while I keep my rhyme tight I’m tryna keep gaze up
Forget about the past and future, live until this day’s up
I ain’t gotta blaze up, I’m living in my dream now
Think your city’s better? I don’t see how.

Phil Kranyak

About Phil Kranyak

Phil grew up in small town in southeastern Pennsylvania. His family still lives across the street from a cornfield. Phil tried working at the farm when he was too young to get a real job and he left after one day because the farmhand was total creep city. He showed up to Phil's front door the next day wondering why he wasn't at work. Now Phil lives in Chicago and he thinks it was a pretty good choice.

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