When Jay-Z performed at the Yankees’ World Series victory parade, it definitely seemed like “Empire State of Mind” was the biggest song in the country. Last Thursday it became official: Jay-Z has his first no. 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100.
He had reached no. 1 before via cameos on Rihanna’s “Umbrella,” Beyoncé’s “Crazy in Love” and Mariah Carey’s “Heartbreaker,” but none of the songs from his albums had ever made it. Earlier this year, “Run This Town” came close to the no. 1 spot, reaching as high as no. 2.
“Empire State of Mind” — which features Alicia Keys — became the blockbuster that broke through with very high-profile performances on the MTV Video Music Awards, game two of the Yankees/Phillies World Series and the aforementioned Bronx Bomber parade.
Jay said the record resonates with everyone, even if they are not from New York City, because of the underlying message.
“Really, ‘Empire State of Mind’ is about inspiration, it’s about hope,” he said in a statement Thursday. “I think that’s what connects with people.”
Earlier this week, Alicia Keys debuted “Empire State of Mind 2″ at the PC Richard & Sons Theater in New York.
“I’m gonna play this for you, different than you’ve ever heard,” she told the crowd.