Jay-Z Surprised The 2024 Tony Awards By Joining Alicia Keys For A Spirited ‘Empire State Of Mind’ Performance

Jay-Z doesn’t exactly have the strongest association with the Broadway world, but he still managed to wow at this weekend’s Tony Awards.

Alicia Keys’ musical Hell’s Kitchen was among this year’s nominees, so she performed during the ceremony. She began with a rendition of “Empire State Of Mind (Part II) Broken Down” before transitioning into the original “Empire State Of Mind,” during which Jay appeared on a giant screen to perform his part of the song, which got a big reaction from the audience. It turned out Jay was performing from the lobby outside of the venue, and Keys made her way out there to perform the track alongside Jay.

This actually isn’t Jay’s first Tonys experience: He was a producer of the musical Fela!, which is based on the life of Nigerian singer Fela Kuti. The show was one of the most-nominated at the 2010 Tonys, racking up 11 nods including for Best Musical. Jay said of the show at the time, “It’s an inspiration, about the power of music. Here’s a guy that’s on the other side of the world who was influenced by James Brown, who takes this thing and makes his own sort of genre of music. I just think it’s fascinating.”

Check out the performance above.