Jay Z’s “Run This Town” has been chosen as the official Thursday Night Football song of 2014.
Here’s what you need to know about the 2009 anthem that is coming to football stadiums everywhere.
UPDATE: Two hours before the Ravens/Steelers game started, TMZ reported that the song had been cut from the evening’s program. The site noted that CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus said, “We thought journalistically and from a tone standpoint, we needed to have the appropriate tone coverage.”
1. It’s Off Jay Z’s ‘The Blueprint 3’ Album
Released on September 8, 2009, The Blueprint 3 is Jay Z’s 11th album.
“Run this Town,” was the second single released off of that album, the first being “D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune).”
When Clash asked Jay Z how long he recorded the album for, he answered:
Forever. My whole life. I must have honestly started the process three or four times. But it actually started out in the UK when I was playing Manchester. Kanye came along to my show and brought me a CD full of beats and they were all sequenced. So he’s like, “This is the album!”, and I was, “Woah – slow down”. Kanye thought it was done and ready. But that was pretty much the foundation for what would become ‘The Blueprint 3’.
Complex detailed the top songs from the album and what they ranked on the charts:
“Empire State Of Mind” featuring Alicia Keys—No. 1
“Run This Town” featuring Kanye West and Rihanna—No. 2
“Young Forever” featuring Mr. Hudson—No. 10
“D.O.A. (Death Of Auto-Tune)”—No. 24
“On To The Next One” featuring Swizz Beatz—No. 37
2. Each 2014 Thursday Night Football Game Will Open With It
— XXL Magazine (@XXL) September 11, 2014
According to the NFL, “CBS Sports and NFL Network will open each game of Thursday Night Football in 2014 with Jay-Z’s Grammy Award-winning song, “Run This Town” featuring megastar Rihanna.”
3. It Features RiRi & Kanye
Jay Z’s protege Rihanna and pre-Kim Kanye West sing on the track with Hova.
Jay told Clash that he need to get Kanye on the album:
Literally, Kanye wasn’t on there until two days ago. It just felt like he needed to be on there. I was listening to this track and the drums just kept reminding me of ‘Jesus Walks’ and I could hear him… And that’s how collaborations usually happen for me. I don’t sit there and pick people out of the air. It’s more that I’ll find myself in someone’s zone and I’ll be ‘man, this would sound good if so-and-so was on it’.
4. Its Video Was Taped in Queens, NY
They shot it in Fort Totten Park, in Bayside, Queens.
The NYC Parks website describes it as “a pristine stretch surrounding a preserved Civil War fortress, Fort Totten Park provides not only recreation and relaxation but a fascinating glimpse into New York’s past.”
The video was directed by Anthony Mandler, who also did Rihanna’s “Disturbia” video.
MTV reported, that, according to a source who was on the set, Jay had about 80 extras dressed in black as well.
5. It Was Rihanna’s First Musical Work After Her Chris Brown Incident
In February 0f 2009, Rihanna was punched in the face by her then-boyfriend, Chris Brown.
Rihanna had found a text to Brown from an ex, which started the argument that left her with bruises all over her face.
“Run this Town” came out in July of that year, which marked her re-entrance into the musical world after that traumatic experience.
Rihanna starts the song with these lyrics:
Feel it comin’ in the air
Hear the screams from everywhere
I’m addicted to the thrill
It’s a dangerous love affair
Can’t be scared when it goes down
At the time, Clash asked Jay Z is he was affected by it, and he said “Of course. We are a family, simple. If we need to close round to help someone, that’s what we do.”