New York reminds me of Christmas anyway, possibly through seeing When Harry Met Sally a dozen too many times, so it feels right to eulogise this love letter right now. But is it a no-holds-barred tribute? Alicia Keys’ commanding, spine-tingling holler sounds like a throaty homage, but The Hov swings between wallowing in the neighbourhood and caution-poem acknowledgement of those who have fallen by the wayside. It adds bite – “Mommy took a bus trip/Now she got her bust out” – and intrigue – “Good girls gone bad/The city’s filled with them” – to a big, ballsy anthem.
As I cue ‘Empire…’ up, Junior asks, “Will it make my shoulders go funky?” Built around samples from The Moments and Isaac Hayes, I should say so. She bounds about, dangerously overexcited, and seems to know every word of Keys’ contribution – until she starts singing her Nativity song over the top, sampling anew. Anyway, this one couldn’t fail to move her; it’s a tune as massive as Alicia’s champion asset.
Don’t bite the apple, Eve: