Jay Z And Alicia Keys Get Loose Singing “Empire State Of Mind” In Times Square, NYC

Jay Z and Alicia Keys put on an epic performance of “Empire State of Mind”, which was fittingly staged in Times Square, New York City. While promoting her sixth studio album, Here, Keys treated her hometown to a star-studded 90-minute concert. The R&B star was clearly having a ball and fellow New Yorker Jay Z wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to tear it up with Keys on their nine times Platinum hit.

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With the lyrics about the city that never sleeps, the performance took on the feeling of a celebration of their beloved hometown. Jay Z even dropped the tough guy vibe for the performance and let a cheeky grin come across his face, clearly realizing that it was one of those special moments. The video really took off on YouTube, gaining 100 million views on the platform.

You could really hear the passion in the pair’s voices as they sang, and the rowdy crowd sent that vibe right back at them tenfold. Keys looked ecstatic just to be there in the moment with Jay Z and the audience, and the pair shared a warm hug at the end of the song.

Fans on YouTube left plenty of enthusiastic comments about the performance such as, “This song makes me homesick for New York. And I ain’t even been there once” and “They made history right there and it’s clear on their faces that they knew it. Magical performance!” Jay Z wasn’t the only big name Keys brought in for the special gig, as she also sang a moving duet with John Mayer on “If I Ain’t Got You” and “Gravity”.

Keys enlisted a huge lineup of big names for the night, with Nas, Questlove, A$AP Rocky, Q-Tip and Swizz Beatz also making appearances. She sang a 16-song set, which included several covers such as Nas’s “One Love”, Bob Marley’s “War” and John Lennon’s “Imagine”.

This choice of songs by socially conscious artists such as Marley and Lennon was deliberate, as Keys asked the audience to reflect on several social and political issues throughout the gig. She ended the night by playing her song “Holy War” and told the audience, “Maybe we could love somebody, instead of polishing the bombs of holy war.”

“Empire State of Mind” was a must-play for the evening, as one of both Jay Z and Keys’ biggest hits. The banger was the third single from Jay Z’s 11th studio album, The Blueprint 3. The song is credited to no fewer than seven songwriters, including Keys and Jay Z, with the latter contributing the verse lyrics. A number of vocalists were considered to sing the melodic vocal hook, including Mary J. Blige, but Jay Z eventually chose Keys after hearing the piano loop in the song.

If you’d like to hear more of Alicia Keys’ passionate performances, don’t forget to subscribe to her YouTube Channel and follow her on Instagram. This R&B superstar often shares memorable moments and exciting updates from her music career.

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