There’s fashionably late and then there’s Jay-Z late.
The Brooklyn rapper arrived to the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards in a limousine, casually pulling up to Radio City Music Hall around 11 p.m.
Hov was scheduled to close out the show with a performance, and he knocked it out of the park like A-Rod. Wearing his trademark Yankee cap, Jay-Z was joined by fellow New Yorker Alicia Keys to perform the rapper’s ode to the Big Apple, “Empire State of Mind.” Images of the Bronx Bombers’ stadium flashed behind Jay-Z as he rapped.
“Yeah, I’m up at Brooklyn, now I’m down in Tribeca,” he spit. “Right next to De Niro, but I’ll be ’hood forever/ I’m the new Sinatra and since I made it here/ I can make it anywhere, yeah, they love me everywhere.”
Keys belted out the number from behind her piano as images of Manhattan flashed across the instrument.
“In New York/ Concrete jungles where dreams are made of/ There’s nothing you can’t do,” Keys sang. “Now you’re in New York/ These streets will make you feel brand new/ The lights will inspire you/ Let’s here it for New York, New York, New York.”
The performance was the first time the two superstars joined forces publicly for “Empire State of Mind,” a track from Jay-Z’s recently released The Blueprint 3 .
Jay-Z performed the song on Friday night during his September 11 tribute show, Answer the Call, at Madison Square Garden.
But in a night of memorable unplanned moments, including Kanye West interrupting Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech to protest in favor of Beyoncé, Lil Mama joined the list of unexpected attendees.
As Jay-Z and Keys brought the song to a close, the “Lip Gloss” rapper and “America’s Best Dance Crew” judge joined them onstage. The Brooklyn native’s appearance was unscheduled, but she inserted herself among the music titans as if it were planned. As the legendary rapper and singer posed, Lil Mama did her best B-girl stance beside them.
The 2009 MTV Video Music Awards might have wrapped, but the party is far from over. Stay tuned for behind-the-scenes updates, party reports and much more.