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Released: October 2009

The funniest thing about this song is that Katy Perry, bless her, actually believes that ‘California Gurls’ is some kind of Westside riposte to it. Smashing as she and Snoop’s ode to “Daisy dukes, bikinis on top” is, the heat of that wig is clearly going to the poor lassie’s head. So colossal you can’t even see the top, ‘Empire State…’ was the song of at least two summers. You can drop it on any dance floor, at any time and be an absolute, instant hero. Somehow it manages to make everyone a New Yorker, if only for a few minutes. Jay’s rhyme’s are casually, relaxedly brilliant, riffing off De Niro, Sinatra, the Yankees, dropping street names and social analysis, while Alicia bawls for her life in the choruses, She hardly needed to tell us to “get your lighters in the air” really. (EM)

How 'Empire State Of Mind' Came About
Angela Hunte, co-writer of the original song

"I come from the same building where he [Jay-Z] lived, and we knew each other from Brooklyn, but we never worked together. Not in a million years did I think I'd make this hit for him. I still have no words even for the World Series performance. You get your hopes up with artists but then things happen and the record doesn't make it for whatever reason. But Jay loved the song, it made the album and it sounds crazy.

"We were just so happy he wanted to honor our work and our production. Two female producers/writers and for him as a rapper to take our song - that's not a combination you see a lot. For him to be so open-minded about it, we just couldn't be any more grateful and thankful.

"[Alicia Keys had] never done a record with him and she also has my same vocal tone. She made the song sound so close to the original. She just nailed it and brought it home. It was a great choice." (Via Billboard)

 
 

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