Jay-Z ft. Alicia Keys – Empire State of Mind (video)

I have mixed feelings about this song and video.  First off, since switching to a job where I see hundreds of music videos a week, I’m afraid Hype’s clips just don’t do much for me these days.  Perhaps he was at his pinnacle when I was younger and I was easily impressed by the old super glossy, big budget videos he shot, but I haven’t seen anything from him lately that’s absolutely wowed me.  This one is cool visually, but nothing too special and I see more innovative clips every day at the office.

Secondly, you will never, ever…[old school Jay] eva eva eva eva [/old Hov]…look cool/hard playing the piano in a video.  So while Alicia is quite possibly the hottest girl out there right now, I still think the piano shots look hilarious.  I don’t care if you’re a guy or a girl, you just can’t try to look cool in a video while playing the piano.  Sorry, just how it is.

Lastly, this song is overrated to me.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s still good, but it seems like everyone is trying to make it some epic, classic record.  Sorry again, it’s not.  The beat is cool, but not great, and there’s a horrible glitching sound in the loop from where they cut off the tambourine that comes around every time and annoys the hell out of me.  Jay’s lyrics are dope, but that sing-song flow gets old real quick and makes for boring repeated listens too.  Being one of the best songs on Blueprint 3 doesn’t mean it’s an incredible record.  It just means it’s not “Forever Young.”

I think this is a classic case of the music industry being a bit too NYC-centric.  With a lot of the labels, magazines, websites, and TV stations centered out there, they automatically assume what’s big in NY should be big all over the country (and the world).  NYC isn’t the center of the hip-hop universe anymore and just because this record is a great anthem for them, doesn’t mean it’s going to resonate with everyone else throughout the country.  Or if it does, not nearly to the extent they think.

It’s kinda like when XXL pressed up this cover:

There’s no way in hell…in 2009…that cover ever should have been made for a national publication.  None of those artists are remotely hot or popular outside of the Northeast.  I’d say 90% of people who listen to hip-hop on the west coast don’t even know who Freekey Zekey is, let alone like him.  Anyway, I get a similar feeling when I hear all these magazines, TV hosts, and label dudes tell me how classic “Empire State Of Mind” is.

If you’re from NY?  Sure.  Bang it.

If you’re not from NYC?  It’s cool, but it’s not a classic hip-hop record and nowhere near one of Jay’s best.

And this video isn’t either.

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7 Responses to “Jay-Z ft. Alicia Keys – Empire State of Mind (video)”

  1. g says:

    2nd’s the motion.

    I don’t even think Jay’s verses are that great. The hook is pretty epic. annnnnd…. wait… that’s about it.

  2. theMANtonio says:

    It’s funny that you used that XXL cover as an example. That’s the issue I cut my toenails into.

  3. Lo says:

    Video resembles a travel commercial. Commercial oh pardon me video is
    boring and cliche.

  4. CANiBLOG says:

    First of all I …. never mind I was gonna disagree with some of the arguments you made but overall I think you got a lil bit of hate towards Jay-Z new work and as far someone not looking cool playing the piano wow you came across as some ignorant high school kid because quite frankly everyone looks cool playing musical instruments. I’ve been coming to your blog recently and enjoy it but this is the first time I’m disappointed with one of your post.

  5. Hyphen says:

    Hahah, sorry you disagree man, but that’s good. If we always agreed, we’d be the same person.

    I hope you know the piano stuff is basically just a joke…I’m surprised anyone took offense to that, but your quote is gold: “quite frankly everyone looks cool playing musical instruments.” Love it.

    And the thought that I have any “hate” towards Jay (one of my favorite MC’s of all time) or NYC is laughable. As I mentioned, the record is cool, it’s just not as great to me as a lot of folks claim. Like Com said, “if i don’t like, i don’t like it…it don’t mean that I’m hatin.” People never seem to remember that.

  6. Clif Soulo says:

    I definitely thought the video underwhelmed…iono. Jay and Alicia. If nothing less, I just thought it would be more epic. but hey…just one man’s opinion.

  7. Matt says:

    That glitch is annoying.. How could they miss that? It’s not so evident in the video posted.

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