Jay-Z insists that
after the The Black Album, the curtain finally falls on his illustrious
career in hip-hop music.
at Bassline Studios in Manhattan, with engineer Young Guru, Hov quipped with
a group of journalists and media heavies.
At a listening session for his latest, Hova revealed the soundtrack to his victory
lap out of rap’s arena.
“Are you guys
writing this stuff down?,” he asked, looking at one journalist in particular.
either a downlow disciple or extremely quick witted, points to his head, sighting
memory. “Reminds me of myself,” Jay says under his breath.
S Dot Carter wants
your undivided attention and he deserves it. He previewed the thoughts behind
the album and the songs that accompany it like “99 problems” backed
by the legendary Rick Rubin, “Encore,” by Kanye West, the just Blaze-produced
“December 4th,” “A Moment of Clarity," with Eminem’s
beat and others.
Here is an excerpt
from the group conversation that took place surrounding The Black Album.
album is about you going back to your beginnings. Did you have to downgrade
your lifestyle in order to get back into that mentality?
Jay-Z: I just put
myself there. It’s just your memory. It’s like sitting down with a writer. Plus
I was writing a book at the same time so I was in that zone. It’s like sitting
down with somebody and going back to that time. It’s real memory.
are you competing with on this album, if anybody?
Jay-Z: My [creative]
inspiration’s from B.I.G. Like the last time, they brought me “Who Shot
Ya,” I made like four songs. When you see my albums, you look at it, I
was trying to make Blueprint better than Reasonable Doubt. And
I was trying to make Blueprint 2 just as big as Volume 2. So I
used my other albums.
leaving the game is predicting a decline [in the game]…we already see a
decline. What are we gonna do now?
not really my problem.” [Jay says in an Italian mobster voice]. My thing
with the industry is … I was inspired by cats that made different songs.
I was inspired to make a hotter song. I didn’t want to make “Who Shot
Ya.” My thing is, I think when people hear albums or anybody that’s
hot, they try to do tha same thing. They try to duplicate success by making
the same thing. It’s like, the more you hear it, it gets weaker every time.
Hopefully if they don’t have one of those things to follow, they will have
to make their own stuff. That’s what hip-hop is about. It’s like if this
guys is wearing brown and gold, I’m never gonna wear that. I want to where
this. It’s not about going to get the same thing.
AllHipHop: So now
people are going to be forced to innovate?
I mean, I’m not the only one as far as I am concerned.
made you work with Rick Rubin. A lot of people don’t even know who he is
as an innovator in hip-hop? Did you consciously go after him?
Jay-Z: Yeah, I’ve
always wanted [to work with him]. I’ve always admired his work. And this
being the last album, I had a wish list of producers who I wanted to work with.
I got Rick. He was on my wish list of people I wanted to work with.
about the song with DJ Premiere?
Jay-Z: The Primo
song didn’t come out.
about songs with Kanye?
Jay-Z: Did I play
anything from Kanye?
Jay-Z: [To Young Guru]Encore? Encore. [plays unmixed version of the song] Encore is not mixed or put together right. Things are out of place. Vocals are high. You get the idea.
this album, you are going to totally quit rapping?
not going to do any collaborations for at least a year. I’m going to step
away. Maybe a soundtrack. Its going to cost $1.2 [million].
just trying to go into acting or are you taking a more executive-type role?
a little bit of all that. It’s not just one main focus. I mean music is my love.
That was my main focus. Everything else is: ‘I’m going to try to do that.
I’m going to try to do that. I’m going to see what happens over there.’
Not one thing is more important that the other.
does your retirement mean to Roc-A-Fella as a company?
Jay-Z: I think
that my presence at Roc-A-Fella was a gift and a curse. It think it brought
a lot of attention to the label, but also a lot of the artists on Roc-A-Fella
are compared [to me]. It’s not like,’“Let’s go hear the album’ Its
like, ‘Lets go hear the album – this ain’t better than a Jay album.’
So it puts a lot of pressure on them. I think [me leaving] frees them up. They
step up now, I think they’ll be super stars without that burden of having me
on the label.
comfortable was your mom in the studio?
Jay-Z: I tricked
her. It was her birthday and she was having a party at the club. It was around
the corner so I told her to meet me here. When she got here, I was finishing
the verse, I was still in the booth. I was like, “You hear those empty
parts? You think you can fill those out? ”She didn’t get a chance
to think about it. She was already in the studio.
did you hook up with 9th Wonder?
Jay-Z: I don’t
Young Guru [Jay’s
engineer and friend]: I love Little Brother. I went and found them real quick.
I was going to bring them up here and play some beats for Jay. I know Jay f*cks
with Quest from The Roots. So I told him to page Jay and big up 9th.
Jay-Z: Oh sh*t!
They should give you half of that check. Amir called me that day, “I heard
you got a meeting with 9th.” I’m like, “Who’s 9th?”
He’s good. He’s nice. He’s in the same vein as another Primo,
another Pete Rock. He’s really good.
many songs did you record?
Jay-Z: I did 12
songs on the album. Two interludes. I got another six songs.
all the songs we heard guaranteed to make the final cut?
Jay-Z: Yeah, yeah.
AllHipHop: There have been a lot of subliminal messages in your promotions. Like the Buy Black for the Black Album and Get Free for Freeways album. Are you trying to send messages subliminally to those that might get it?
Jay-Z: Im more conscious of my actions and Im working on my philanthropy thing. Its only right.