Thank goodness, Lil Mama was nowhere in sight on Wednesday, when [artist id="1269"]Jay-Z[/artist] and [artist id="503203"]Alicia Keys[/artist] shot the video for “Empire State of Mind” in New York. But there were plenty of other onlookers feeling the vibe and blowing up Twitter with talk about the two New York giants filming in Tribeca and around Ground Zero for the clip, directed by Hype Williams.
Before performing the song at the VMAs last month, Keys told us how the collaboration for the Blueprint 3 track came about.
“Working together on ‘Empire State of Mind’ was incredible,” Keys said. “I’ve admired Jay-Z for a long time. Reasonable Doubt is my all-time favorite album, period, and he’s been on the scene for long time. I always figured that we would do some type of collaboration, and finally, it came together with this. He reached out to me said, ‘I have this big New York record. I feel its right for us to do it together. It has this big Frank Sinatra, take-it-there feeling. I feel like you could really do something with it.’
“I went by [the studio], took a listen to it,” she continued. “I really felt the energy of New York all through it. It felt classic, it felt so good; the piano obviously was in there. I said, ‘I love it, so let’s do it.’ We communicated a lot during the process. I think we both are really happy with how it came out.”
Keys said that though “Empire State of Mind” was inspired by her hometown, it resonates with all people — which explains why the song is currently #10 on the Billboard Hot 100.
“New York City belongs to everyone,” she said, adding her own Sinatra nod: “If you can make it here, you can make it everywhere.”