But Jay-Z has a new and highly anticipated album coming out, Magna Carta Holy Grail, and he’s teamed up with Rick Rubin again. Rubin sat down with XXL Magazine to talk about ‘iconic’ albums he’s worked on, and this one ended the list. That’s high praise for an album that hasn’t even come out yet.
“I liked what I heard, but it was a little difficult—after just coming from the Kanye sessions—to listen to Jay’s album, because they’re so different. I was in a very alternative and progressive headspace, and Jay’s record is a more traditional hip-hop record. It sounded alien to me, even though it sounded much less alien, you know what I’m saying? My frame of reference was so askew. [Laughs] It sounded traditional.
“The point of me being in the commercials was that he was filming a documentary and he asked me—I imagine he’s just comfortable talking to me—to come listen to the songs with him and just talk about the songs. Just listen to it and talk about it, and that’s what we did. It was fun. I heard a lot of songs and it was really fun to listen.
“It’s really nice to hear him talk about what’s behind the songs, what he’s thinking about and how he sees the lyrics, because they operate on so many levels. He’s such a deep writer, that having him explain it might be the only way to understand it. It’s really cool, and if I had just heard the songs I wouldn’t have thought of the lyrics and the layers to that depth.”