Jay-Z Asked Alicia Keys to Re-Do Her Ballad on ‘Empire State of Mind’

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When it comes to New York City, there may be no better representative than Jay-Z—and Hov is apparently quite the taskmaster.

During a recent taping for an upcoming episode of VH1’s “Storytellers,” R&B singer Alicia Keys explained that her original recordings for the New York ballad “Empire State of Mind” were originally turned down by Jay. A New York-native herself, Keys told the Metropolis Studios audience, including XXL reporter Carl Chery, that she was congested during the first round of recordings, leading Hov to ask her to re-record her vocals.

Keys admitted that she was initially bothered by the request, but ultimately went back to the studio. Perhaps that attention to detail is what helped launch the single to number one of the Billboard Hot 100 chart, a career first for Jay-Z. The episode of “Storytellers” is scheduled to air on November 11th.

Showing that he truly is the king of New York, tonight Jay-Z will be playing host to President Barack Obama at his New York City sports bar 40/40. “Guest list. Obama plus 40,” the rapper tweeted, confirming his special guest.

New York is the latest stop on Obama’s national fundraising tour, and Tuesday’s fund will add $4 million to his campaign, $40,000 from each of the event’s 100 supporters. The 40/40 ceremony will coincide with Obama’s Tuesday night appearance on the “Late Show with David Letterman.”

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