It’s been only one year since Alicia Keys’ last album Alicia, and the iconic R&B singer returned on Friday (December 10) with yet another project, a sprawling 26-track effort titled Keys.
The 90-minute album features Lil Wayne, Swae Lee, Pusha T, Khalid and more and is divided into two halves. The first disc is known as the “Originals” side and contains 14 tracks that are more piano driven. The second half of the album, known as the “Unlocked” half, is 12 of Side A’s tracks revamped by producer Mike WiLL Made-It to give them a bouncier feel.
“I think it’s actually really clear, because people do love the piano side of me and they really love hearing songs and they love hearing copyrights and classic, timeless material,” Alicia Keys explained in an interview with Complex. “And for me, growing up born and raised in New York, I always have a duality, different sides in me, so I can never express myself in just one style.”
In a recent sitdown with Drink Champs on December 8, Keys not only talked about her new project, but also opened up about her infamous VMA moment in 2009, when Lil Mama crashed her performance of “Empire State of Mind” with JAY-Z.
“The truth of all the truths — all I know, we was on that stage,” she said. “Jay was here, I was here. In my head, I was such a gorilla at the time and I was like, ‘This is what’s happening. I’m going to destroy this record tonight.’ … Somehow, however she got over here, I didn’t even bear witness to.”
Keys added that she was so focused on her performance, Lil Mama’s interruption didn’t even distract her.
“The whole show I was iced — so focused on making it amazing. I went backstage and Jay was like, ‘So, you ain’t see that?’ And I was like, ‘What?’ And he was like, ‘Nah, you ain’t just see what just happened?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, we killed it. That’s what happened.’”