I'm almost nonplussed by how dope this video is. Don't you hate when that happens? You read about something being in the works -- in this case, legendary hip-hop video auteur Hype Williams getting behind the camera to lens Jay-Z and Alicia's Big Apple anthem, "Empire State of Mind" -- and you think, "That will be excellent."
And then it happens, and it's excellent, and the very fulfillment of your expectations winds up being something of a minor letdown!
Talk about splitting hairs. This rules. Hype still has that gloss that he applied to all this mid-'90s Bad Boy classics. The montage of still photos reminds me a little of Mark Romanek's amazing clip for Jay's "99 Problems," but the star is really the city; all helicopter shots of skyscrapers and splendorous lights. That's the anthem, get your damn hands up.
+ Watch Jay-Z and Alicia Keys perform "Empire State Of Mind" live at the 2009 VMAs.