Alicia Keys Reveals JAY-Z's Private Reaction To Lil Mama's VMA Stage Crash

By Hayden Brooks

December 9, 2021

Photo: Getty Images

Alicia Keys was so focused on repping for New York when she performed "Empire State of Mind," alongside JAY-Z during the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, that she didn’t even notice Lil Mama.

In promotion for her new album, Keys, the singer/songwriter spoke with Complex News about the infamous stage crash, admitting that she has no recollection of the rapper. "Basically, I remember absolutely nothing," she said of the Radio City Music Hall performance. "I think I was so focused on performing. Because when you perform, it's a lot. You gotta hit it. You gotta nail it. You gotta kill it. It has to be perfect."

Keys explained that the stage positioning of her and HOV prevented her from seeing Lil Mama when the star took to the stage for the final moments of the number and posed dramatically with the pair. "When I tell you, 100 percent, I was oblivious to the idea that next to him was another person, which kind of scared the sh*t out of me later when I figured it out."

It wasn’t until after the performance ended that she caught up with JAY-Z and learned that their fellow New Yorker had taken the stage with them, too. "I go to my dressing room and his face is like funny. I was, like, 'Yo, that was so crazy.' He was, like, 'You ain’t see that?' I was like, 'Huh?'"

Earlier this year, Lil Mama reflected on the incident, revealing that she had not "heard back from either party" after privately reaching out to the stars. "These situations are with mature adults at least 10 years my senior. I reached out in private to create an opportunity for communication and clarity," she explained.

Alicia KeysJay-ZLil Mama
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