Here's an interesting article about Jay-Z at Reuters. In it he talks about his forthcoming album, Blueprint 3, which comes out September 11th, eight years to the day the original Blueprint was released. Expect collaborations with producers Kanye West, No I.D. and Timbaland, as well as musician contributions from MGMT, Drake, Mr. Hudson, Rihanna and Kid Cudi.
Here are some eye-opening statements from the man and mogul.
On his success:
"I hear it all the time -- 'Yo, he should let the young guys, the new generation of guys come in.' But you don't become the front-runner in music because someone lets you. You have to claim your shoes," Jay-Z says. "If you grow up listening to hip-hop, you love hip-hop and that's the end of it. But if you're a 30-year-old rapper still trying to make music like you're 15, then you're making it narrow. At my age, I can't relate to a 15-year-old. I deal with mature and relevant topics for my age group -- it has to all be based on true emotions. The more diversity and the more mature we make hip-hop, the bigger the net you cast."
On the next generation:
"Kanye is really the father to the next generation -- he's from the school of Q-Tip, and now Drake and Kid Cudi are from the school of 'Ye," he says. "And, when you look at Kanye, you have to look at Lil Wayne. I think they're like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James."
Jay-Z is perfectly aware that this kind of branding -- done for years in the hip-hop world and only now gaining recognition in the overall music business -- is key to his success. "All these things are just part of the culture -- it's part of living your life," he says. "It's not really separate, and if it all has some type of synergy and is all in one place, it has a cohesiveness that it wouldn't normally have if the guy from Arden was doing your fragrance deal and then this guy was doing your movie deal. They're not really conversing with each other. If the conversation is happening all in one place, then there's a more organic and natural thing."