Thank goodness, Lil Mama was nowhere in sight on Wednesday, when
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."