Here, Jay-Z looks back to upbringing in the Marcy Houses public housing project located in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. He explained to iHeart radio:
"'Marcy Me' is a nostalgic walk through Marcy, and it's about that hopefulness, that feeling of 'Man, can I really do this? Can I really be one of the biggest artists in the world?' You have these dreams, 'Can I be one of the biggest basketball players?' We have these dreams."
The piano groove featured on the track is a sample of Portuguese progressive rock band Quarteto 1111's 1970 track "Todo O Mundo E Ninguém."
The-Dream croons the outro. Other collaboration between the pair include uncredited vocals by the singer-songwriter on the Watch the Throne track "No Church in The Wild" and a guest verse by Jay on The-Dream's 2013 song "High Art."
At the beginning of the track, Jay-Z pays homage to Notorious B.I.G by reciting his opening lines from his Ready to Die cut "Unbelievable":
Live from Bedford-Stuyvesant, the livest one Representing BK to the fullest Gats I pull it Bastards duckin' when Big be bucking Chickenheads be clucking in my bathroom, f---ing
Bedford-Stuyvesant is a neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. Jay Z and Biggie Smalls were schoolmates in George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School in downtown Brooklyn. They rap battled each other during lunch breaks.