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New York Is Killing Me
Gil Scott-Heron Lyrics

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Yeah the doctors don't know, but New York was killing me
Bunch of doctors coming 'round, they don't know
That New York is killing me
Yeah well I need to go home and take it slow in Jackson, Tennessee

Let me tell ya city ain't living all
It's cracked up to be
Fast city living ain't all
It's cracked up to be
Yeah seem I need to go home
And slow down in Jackson, Tennessee

Yes I lay down, I lay down
The doctor, try to take it all in
Yeah lay down, lay down
To try to take it all in
(Take it all in)

Yeah you got eight million people
And I didn't have a single friend
Don't you know, don't you know
New York was killing me
Yes, I was standing nearly dying here
New York was killing me
Seems like I need to start over
And go back home to Jackson, Tennessee

Lord have mercy, mercy on me
Yeah Lord have mercy, have mercy on me
Tell him to bury my body back home in Jackson, Tennessee
Yeah Lord have mercy, have mercy on me

Yeah I need to be back home, need to be back home
Need to be back home, need to be back home yeah
Born in Chicago but I go home Tennessee
Yeah I born in Chicago but I

Overall Meaning

go home to Tennessee

In Gil Scott-Heron's song New York Is Killing Me, the musician seems to be expressing his exhaustion with the fast-paced, stressful lifestyle of New York City. He suggests that the city is "killing" him, and that despite the doctors not being able to diagnose the issue, he knows that he needs to slow down and go back home to Jackson, Tennessee to truly heal. The repetitive chorus of "lay down, lay down, to try to take it all in" could be interpreted as the singer's attempt to pause, reflect, and absorb his surroundings, while also acknowledging the overwhelming nature of his situation.

The lyrics also touch on the loneliness and isolation that can come with living in a large city. The singer notes that despite the population of eight million people, he doesn't have a single friend. This sentiment feels especially poignant during the COVID-19 pandemic, where many people are feeling isolated and disconnected from their communities. Overall, the song seems to be a powerful commentary on the toll that living in a big city can take on one's mental and physical health, and the importance of slowing down and taking care of oneself in the face of these stresses.

Interesting facts about the song:

Interesting Facts
Note: This section uses generative AI, which can be inaccurate.

Written by: Gil Scott-Heron

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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Comments from YouTube:

the local bigamist

Rest in Power! What an absolute legend who understood struggle - you can relate no matter your ethnic background, he just got to the bottom of struggle and you can hear the pain of experience in his voice.

This album was a beautiful finale for an under-appreciated talent who will go down as one of the great poets, writers, singers, thinkers and artists of modern times.

Deedee 60

Incredible song from a great artist. Immense. I love everything about this track, the voice, the handclaps, the vibe and the message.

Lindsay Smith



Rest in peace, Gil Scott Heron. You were an icon who paved the way for many poets, and modern rap(not the shit on the radio). If a poet, soul/jazz artist or anyone who belongs to part of the movement which is hip hop doesn't know of your legacy then they need to learn to be able to truly continue in their craft. Repost this on many videos if you can.

Dream Variation

Those handclaps! That choir, it's all beautiful


Truly inspiring person, music, poetry. Rest in peace, Gil Scott-Heron.


Got the album earlier this week and I cant stop listening to it. So sick of being bombarded with ads for nonsense day after day (lady gaga etc..) Its just so great to come upon some new music thats full of honesty and integrity, its such a rarity these suprise that it comes from Gil, when I heard he was working on a new album I expected nothing else really. Its brilliant


Nothing wrong with Gaga


Gil is still one of the greatest ever


RIP Gil Scott, truly a giant.

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