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Sway: You did a record with Kanye West, "Never Let You Down," where you rap, "The Eighth Wonder on the way." I assume that's the title of an album?

Jay-Z: Right.

Sway: Is that still coming? What was that about?

Jay-Z: What happened was that that song was done when I was recording Blueprint 2. I was going to name Blueprint 2 The Eighth Wonder. So I was saying, "The Eighth Wonder on the way." And if you notice, I say [I have] four #1 albums [in that song]. I have six. So it was before Blueprint went #1 and Black Album went #1, so that was done two years ago.

Sway: That was an old lyric. All right ... Now, when you shot this video, it had to pass through your mind that with all these different graphic scenes, MTV would say, "No, absolutely not." Especially with the climate the way it is now.

  "At the end of the day it's art, and it's not really supposed to be compromised."
Jay-Z: First of all, Mark couldn't really care less about MTV. He doesn't. He's just straight whatever. I'm like, "Mark, come on. We have to [clean it up]." You know, I'm calming him down. "Mark, we have to get this thing on air, though, we gotta calm it down." But at the end of the day it's art, and it's not really supposed to be compromised. And if y'all can't play it, then that's cool, you know what I'm saying? I mean, I've sold a couple records already; it's not detrimental to my survival. If that was the case, then I'd go right back in the club and give everybody what they like. It seems that people, they always complain about the state of videos, but then when you give them something new and something strong, you know, it's a problem. Which is good, though — I like the controversy. Ban me. Give me the Madonna thing. I'll go right outside with a picket sign and everything.

Sway: That's a good position to be in. But what about the imagery? Were you concerned about young kids seeing the pit bulls fight, the naked men in prison, or even you appearing to be shot and killed?

Jay-Z: Well, that was my biggest worry, as far as younger kids seeing me get shot — that was it, really, because all that other stuff is part of life. You know, when you go to prison you're gotta get strip-searched. I know we're not gonna show full nudity on TV. I know that's blurred out. I know DMX had dogs in a video before, so I never really thought about the dogs being a problem, you know? But as far as me getting shot, I just looked at it as seeing Denzel [Washington] in "Training Day," or seeing any other actor, you know? I was just acting out a part. I was trying to show Hollywood I got some chops too. Maybe I'll get a little job.

Sway: You know, Puff is doing Broadway now.

Jay-Z: Yeah, yeah. I'm on your heels, Puff.

Sway: Is that a possibility?

Jay-Z: Hey, we'll see how it goes.

Sway: Jay, tell me, man. I know somebody must've thrown a script at you.

Jay-Z: I've got a couple right now. ... I'm really excited with how many people want to work with me. You know, ["Training Day" director] Antoine Fuqua, everybody.

Sway: Are you excited about that? I mean, have you actually taken acting lessons?

Jay-Z: Yeah, yeah. I'm going through that right now. But I really just want to touch everything, like as far as writing, as far as directing, everything. I feel like we never really ever had an East Coast movie that really, really told the story of the struggle. The closest thing we had was "New Jack City," you know? I think you guys [on the West Coast] had "Boyz N the Hood." That was good. Y'all had "Menace II Society." I think that captured L.A. life the best. So I'm interested in doing stuff like that, and even going left with it. You know, I'm an artist first.


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