I love Alicia Keys. I’ve loved her since Day 1. She’s classically trained, she was exposed to some of the best pop music around (in my opinion) growing up in Harlem, she’s a songwriter, and she’s one of those incredible female entertainers who is also an activist and incredible role model of strength and beauty. It has been almost ten years since this song came out, and I love it even more now than the first 50,000 times I heard it. It contains some of the best sampling of styles and sounds combined in a contemporary R&B record, and Kanye West was doing some of his best work as a young producer. For you music nerds out there, there’s also some serious word painting when AK plays the cascading chromatic piano line in the chorus!
As an added bonus: Mos Def. In a fedora.
Also, Alicia Keys wrote a great article on Huff Post: The League of Extraordinary Women.