19 throwback singles we can’t believe are already turning 10 in 2019

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“Empire State of Mind” – Jay-Z (Feat. Alicia Keys)

I strongly believe that, deep down, most people have big city dreams. There’s something magical about a metropolis like New York City, where people from all around the world go to make their big dreams come true. When Jay-Z and Alicia Keys teamed up on the song “Empire State of Mind,” it only made the city that much more appealing.

I called “I Gotta Feeling” an anthem earlier, but “Empire State of Mind” truly is an anthem. In fact, I would argue it’s the unofficial anthem of New York City. In the chorus, Alicia Keys sings “In New York, concrete jungle, where dreams are made of, there’s nothing you can’t do!” and those lyrics perfectly capture the inspiring spirit of NYC. It also inspired a meme about people mishearing what she says, with people singing “Concrete jungle, wet dream, tomato” instead, because it was a weird era for memes.

The song was originally written by Angela Hunte and Janet Sewell-Ulepic and submitted to Jay-Z’s label, and Jay kept the chorus and changed the verses, and brought in Alicia to sing. They originally considered Mary J. Blige but thought the piano loop would be the perfect fit for the singer-pianist instead.

“Empire State of Mind” was on many “best of 2009” lists, and won two Grammy awards. It also became Jay-Z’s first #1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 as a lead artist. To say it was a massive hit would be an understatement, and you can pretty much still hear it in any movie or TV show with an episode that takes place in New York.