This the first single from Tonight, the fourth solo album from Christian pop–hip hop artist TobyMac. It was the fastest charting and selling song in his career to date charting at #4 on Billboard's Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart.
The single was released six months prior to the album on August 14, 2009. TobyMac explained why to Christianity Today: "Sometimes when you are passionate about something you can't hold it back. This one was finished and we all felt it was timely for society, so we sent it out early. Many times when I am writing a lyric I take 2-3 months per song, but in the case of 'City' I didn't wrestle with God on this one. I just opened myself up and let him breathe it through me. Twenty-five minutes later it was finished. The song is based on something I have always dreamed of - letting go of the things that divide us, stepping across the line and being a body recognizing one God."
TobyMac explained the song's meaning: "'City On Our Knees' is really about a moment. A moment that we all come together to a place where there's no judgment, but really love. And we choose to recognize one God together. And it's really a reminder that that moment could be right now, tonight. And in that moment judgment falls by the wayside, we choose to step across the line, whatever side we're on. Love fills in the cracks and makes up the difference."
George Harrison's 1971 song "Bangla Desh" was the first major charity single. It was part of a concert held to bring relief to the people of Bangladesh, who were fighting for independence and suffering from a famine.