Sometimes the story behind the music brings whole new meaning to songs that have already been out for years. This is definitely the case for “Empire State of Mind,” inarguably one of the biggest tracks of both Alicia Keys’ and Jay-Z’s career. Recently, during an interview with Ebro for Beats 1 Radio, the singer revealed that the now-famous song almost didn’t get released.
Alicia said the following about her thoughts on releasing the track, at the time:
“For a minute, it wasn’t even going to come together. 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.”
When Jay was finally able to get in touch with Keys and it came time to record her vocals, she decided to lay them down in Los Angeles–which led to Hov being unhappy with the first draft of the song.
“I actually cut it in L.A.,” she went on to explain. “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.”
Check out the full story for yourself down below: