The official NJ state anthem should be this Queen Latifah song (Opinion)
I think I just found the answer to one of New Jersey's most difficult questions to answer: What is our state anthem?
New Jersey is the only state without an official state song. When you consider the amount of talented musicians who are from here and the countless times we've been name-dropped in songs, you would think we'd have a clear-cut answer by now.
Many people consider "Born To Run" by Bruce Springsteen to be our state anthem, but if you really stop to think about it, it's a horrible choice. For as great of a song "Born To Run" is, the entire premise of the song is about getting out of New Jersey by any means necessary.
A case can be made for Bon Jovi's "Who Says You Can't Go Home." Rather than being desperate to break out of New Jersey, in this song Jon Bon Jovi wants to return to where it all started. For him that was within a stone's throw of the Driscoll Bridge.
If I had a vote, my pick would be the 1995 anthem "Jersey" by Queen Latifah.
The song never made it onto an album, but it was used in the soundtrack for the movie “New Jersey Drive,” written and directed by Nick Gomez. The executive producer was Spike Lee.
The song features nods to Queen Latifah's upbringing, shouting out plenty of New Jersey towns. Even the Willowbrook Mall in Wayne, NJ gets a mention.
Queen Latifah goes on to name-drop a slew of New Jersey legends, including the aforementioned Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi.
Check out the song below:
Hip-hop has deep roots in New Jersey.
While the song does open with Queen Latifah giving you the perspective of missing home, the song is not so much about leaving the state or coming back. Instead, it's a celebration of New Jersey.
Ok. So you're probably thinking a '90s rap song used on a largely forgotten movie's soundtrack would be a tough sell to Gov. Murphy. But what if I told him we would still be celebrating the state's rich music history by making such a declaration?
Hip-hop has deep roots in New Jersey. Queen Latifah is far from the only rapper to make it out of the state.
Naughty by Nature hails from East Orange. Eminem recently declared Naughty by Nature's lead Treach one of the greatest rappers in history.
Out of Trenton, you have Poor Righteous Teachers. PRT's lead MC Wise Intelligent, who went on to have a very nice solo career, was named by Complex as one of the 50 most slept-on rappers of all time.
And who could forget the highly influential Fugees, who emerged from East Orange in 1992.
Other states' songs are terrible.
If you look around at some of these other states' anthems, New Jersey would really be coming in with a bang. And I think we can all agree Queen Latifah's "Jersey" is better than some of the other official state songs around the country.
Even though the song is from 1995, it would still be modernizing the culture of the state song chart by decades.
Take a listen to some of these horrific state songs.
California's state song talks about fertile valleys.
"State of Maine"
"Utah, This Is This Place"
I would take Queen Latifah over these songs any day of the week. What do you think?
By the way, check out this very Jersey photo from 1998: Two NJ legends — Queen Latifah and Danny DeVito — on the red carpet for the premiere of "Living Out Loud," starring both of them.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 producer, writer, and host Joe Votruba. Any opinions expressed are his own.