Jay-Z Gives Surprise Tony Awards Performance With Alicia Keys: Watch

The rapper reunited with his "Empire State of Mind" collaborator for an epic performance with the company of the musical 'Hell's Kitchen.'

Reading Time: 2 minute
jay-z, alicia keys
View gallery
Image Credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions

Jay-Z made a surprise appearance at the 77th Annual Tony Awards on Sunday, June 16. In the midst of a performance with the cast of Hell’s KitchenAlicia Keys ran out of the David H. Koch Theater’s main room and joined Hov on the theater’s front stairs. The two then performed their classic New York anthem “Empire State of Mind” while the performance was streamed into the auditorium.

At the start of the performance, Alicia sat in the center with a piano, as the cast of Hell’s Kitchen joined her, and she sang a duet of “Empire State of Mind (Part II) with leading lady Maleah Joi Moon. For those who may not know, Hell’s Kitchen is a jukebox musical, telling the story of the singer’s life with her music interspersed throughout it.

As they  finished the partial performance of Alicia’s solo take on the song, she stood up from the piano and ran through the crowd. “Are we in New York City tonight? Are we at the Tony Awards tonight? Had to do something crazy! It’s my hometown!” she said, as the beat from the original “Empire State of Mind” could be heard.

The camera then cut to Jay on the steps of the theater, rapping one of his verses from the classic song, and the crowd went wild. Alicia then ran out and began singing alongside him. It was an amazing performance of the classic tune.

Hell’s Kitchen was the most-nominated musical at the 77th Annual Tony Awards, being up for 13 awards, tying it with the play Stereophonic. Two actresses took home awards from the show. Maleah won the Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical Award, and Kecia Lewis won for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical.

The performance also marked another recent live appearance by Jay. While the rapper has been sparing about his concerts in recent years, Hov did give a surprise performance of his song “Public Service Announcement” at Tom Brady’s  Patriots Hall of Fame induction earlier in the week.