Run This Town
by Jay-Z (featuring Rihanna)

Album: The Blueprint 3 (2009)
Charted: 1 2


  • This was released as the official lead single from American rapper Jay Z's eleventh studio album, The Blueprint 3.
  • The song debuted on radio stations at precisely 9:11 a.m. in order to tie in with Blueprint 3's release date of September 11th.
  • The song features Rihanna, who provides the vocals for the hook and Kanye West. It was the "Umbrella" singer's first musical appearance on a song since she hit the headlines after an altercation with her boyfriend Chris Brown.
  • Jay-Z raps in the first verse: "This is Roc Nation, pledge of allegiance." This is a reference to the rapper and Def Jam CEO's stable of in-house songwriters and producers.
  • The song's music video was filmed at the historic Fort Trotten Park in Queens, New York City. It features Jay-Z, Kanye West and Rihanna performing in the midst of chaotic and tension-filled imagery. The director, Anthony Mandle explained to MTV News: "There's a tone and feeling to the song. There's a militia, a march and a kind of rambunctious energy to it that, for me, I immediately wanted to tap into. I showed [Jay] some references from the classic rebellious zones of the world. We live in a very orderly society in America, but when you get into Brazil, you get into the Middle East, you get into Africa, you get into Eastern Europe, when you get into places like that, there's a different sort of 'we run this town' [going on]. There's less order and more chaos. So we looked at a lot of those references, new photos and historical photos, to capture that kind of falling-apart feeling."
  • This was the first time Jay-Z had a UK #1 with one of his own records rather than being a guest on somebody else's. Previously he'd appeared on chart-toppers for Beyoncé ("Deja Vu") and Rihanna ("Umbrella").
  • This samples the electric guitar loop from "Someday in Athens" by the '70s Greek band, The Four Levels of Existence.
  • The artwork for The Blueprint 3 consists of a collection of white instruments piled together with three red horizontal lines over them. Jay-Z explained to MTV News that he chose to highlight the instruments on his cover because he felt they have been overlooked. "These things are like the forgotten pieces in hip-hop," he said. "It's still about music. It's not about radio, making gimmicks - it's still about making music. Those things are piled in the corner. These are the forgotten things about music. It's still about music. It's not about radio, it's not about making gimmicks, it's about music. The three stripes that everybody is asking about is made from the original [number] three. The first three they made on the wall was someone carving. If you look at [the number] 3, all they did was connect lines. The whole thing about this album, how I approached it, is that I wanted to make a new classic to start that all over again - to go back to making classic albums like the ones we grew up listening to."
  • West originally argued against Jay-Z releasing this as a single. When the song was played at a barbecue hosted by the DJ Enuff led DJ collective, the Heavy Hitters, such was the reaction to the record, he was convinced it wouldn't be a hit.
  • Jay and his label were sued by TufAmerica Inc., who claimed that they illegally sampled the "Oh!" from the 1969 funk song "Hook & Sling" by New Orleans singer and pianist Eddie Bo. The re-issue label demanded in the copyright-infringement lawsuit royalties from "Run This Town" as well as other damages.

    New York federal judge Lewis Kaplan dismissed TufAmerica's lawsuit on December 8, 2014. "The word 'oh' is a single and commonplace word," wrote the judge. "Standing alone, it likely is not deserving of copyright protection."

    Eddie Bo's "Hook & Sling" has been sampled by a host of artists, including LL Cool J on "Mama Said Knock You Out," Justin Timberlake on "SexyBack" and Kanye West on "Good Friday" and "Lost in The World." TufAmerica previously sued West over the latter sample.

Comments: 4

  • Tyler from Bryson City, NcNo there is definetly alot of Freemason Illuminati referancing in this video and lyrics. They all worship Satan and f--k each other in the ass.
  • Illuminati Spam from Kentucky, KyHe may be living it up and thinking he is on top of the world. Think about if satan is so much better then why arent any of the alumni immortal. We all die. satan has no friends only workers. What happens when the workers get to old to work. If you cant trust yourself how are you going to trust someone that gives you materialistic things that can be easily take away. As fast as you can take it can be taken. Have you ever woke and staired at the ceiling fan above your head and thought if this s--t falls then im a goner. Simple minded and is nothing with out fame and fortune when none of that matter in the end.
  • Bella from East Orange, Njeveryone seems to think that this song and its video has alot of freemansontry and illuminati refrences.,

    although i do agree., i think that jay is just using the symbolism for pure shock value.,

    americans eat s--t like that up - and apparently its working., the song is like number one.,
  • James from Indianapolis, InI dont know why this song has no comments!!! This song is awesome i cant stop listening to it!!!
see more comments

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