"Empire State of Mind" is one of the most memorable tracks of JAY-Z's illustrious career. Yet during an interview with Ebro Darden for Beats 1 Radio, Alicia Keys reveals that the track almost fell to the cutting room floor.
"For a minute, it wasn’t even going to come together," she explained at the clip's 3-minute mark. "He couldn’t find me, he couldn’t get in touch with me for whatever reason. Different people in the middle and the whole thing. So just imagine that song never happened."
Finally, Hov was able to get in touch with Keys. When it came time to record her vocals, she decided to lay them down in Los Angeles. Keys feels like that setting led to Jigga being unhappy with the first draft.
"I actually cut it in L.A.," she continued. "I think that was the problem. You’re not supposed to cut a song about New York in L.A. It’s just wrong. ... After I sent it in ... he hits me back like 'Could you sing it again?' ... So then I brought it back to New York, I cut it right ... and there it is."
The song went on to make the cut for Hov's Blueprint 3 album. It is now five times platinum, selling over 5 million copies in the United States.
Currently, Keys is gearing up for the release of her ALICIA album, which was delayed due to the coronavirus. Still, she was able to put out a memoir titled More Myself: A Journey in March.