Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Angela Hunte:

Who wrote the Jay-Z and Alicia Keys hit record titled "Empire State of The Mind"? Jay-Z has stated that he came up with the brillant idea and immediately asked Alicia Keys to sing the hook.


This was far from truth.

Jay-Z didn't write "Empire State of Mind"....Angela Hunte and Jane't Swewll wrote it!

Here's the jist of a article written on the original song writers:

Singer/songwriter/producer Angela Hunte tells Billboard she is still in shock over the success of "Empire State of Mind," the Jay-Z/Alicia Keys track she wrote and produced with writing partner Jane't "Jnay" Swewll-Ulepic about her Brooklyn hometown.

"I come from the same building where he [Jay-Z] lived, and we knew each other from Brooklyn, but we never worked together. Not in a million years did I think I'd make this hit for him," says Hunte, who actually grew up at "560 State Street," the street address Jay-Z mentions on the track. "I still have no words even for the World Series performance. You get your hopes up with artists but then things happen and the record doesn't make it for whatever reason. But Jay loved the song, it made the album and it sounds crazy."

Hunte created the track with Sewell-Ulepic after the two shared their homesick feelings during an overseas trip in February.

"My writing partner and I were in London, missing home. Her mother was ill at the time and I was sick that summer, and we were just down," Hunte explains. "We said to ourselves, 'we complain so much about New York -- about the busy streets, about the crowds and the pushing, about the subway system -- but I would trade that for anything right now.' Before we left the hotel that night, we knew we would write a song about our city."

That was in February, and although they wrote the track as simply a way to voice their hometown longing, they secretly sent it to Roc Nation a month later in hopes that Jay-Z would like it and use it. When they received negative reviews about the track, they were convinced it was doomed to the vault.

But then at a summer BBQ, EMI's Jon "Big Jon" Platt heard the track and fell in love with it, realizing "it would be perfect for Jay-Z," says Hunte.

The next day, Platt sent it to Jay-Z and he "loved it and recorded it that night," Hunte recalls. "We were just so happy he wanted to honor our work and our production. Two female producers/writers and for him as a rapper to take our song -- that's not a combination you see a lot. For him to be so open-minded about it, we just couldn't be any more grateful and thankful."

Jay-Z ended up writing all new verses inspired from the original lyrics and leaving Hunte on the hook. But when Hunte and Sewell-Ulepic were asked if they thought someone else would be more appropriate for the chorus, Hunte suggested Alicia Keys.

"She's never done a record with him and she also has my same vocal tone. She made the song sound so close to the original. She just nailed it and brought it home. It was a great choice," says Hunte, who studied her craft alongside mentor and producer Salaam Remi before signing a production deal with EMI in 2001.

Funny - This is the only track off of his latest album...that's heating up the charts and he didn't write it.


  1. "Jay-Z ended up writing all new verses inspired from the original lyrics"

    Beyonce just settle a lawsuit for writing lyrics inspired by lyrics from the original song.

    She married her own kind.

    Man! Did Jay-Z print off lyrics from Tupac, Biggie and Eminem and decided to write songs that were inspired from their original lyrics?


  2. Surely it gives you something to think about.