It may be lonely at the top, but Jay-Z has no intent of leaving anytime soon. Never one to get comfortable, Jigga's been working on his new album, tentatively titled The Blueprint, like a hungry rookie.
"I got 15 [tracks] now; I'm ready for them," said an enthusiastic Jay, who has added "Big Vito" to his endless list of nicknames.
"I usually make an album a year. Since Reasonable Doubt in '96, if you listen to any one of my albums it's just the emotion and what I felt at the time. I had a lot going on at the time, so I had a lot to write about. Anything that [went] on in the past year is definitely gonna be included on this album. I went in the studio one day, I made seven songs. From there it just was spilling. Now we up to 15. I don't know, I might make 30."
Some of the inspiration for his rapid recording has been all the disses flung his direction, namely by Jayo Felony and Mobb Deep's Prodigy. But he's not losing any sleep because of his musical foes.
"When you on top of the game, or on top of your game, everyone is frustrated, everyone wants to be in your position," Jay said. "It's ambition. That's what rap is built on. What it does to me, it makes the competitive sprit come out. Like, 'Yeah, lets do it.' It just gives me fire."
Helping Jay on what some members of the Roc are referring to as Jigga's deepest musical expedition to the gutter in years are producers Kanye West, the Trackmasters' Tone and Bink Dog. The album will probably be released November 20, Jay said.
After this album, Jay wants his next project to be a Bell Biv Devoe-like hip-hop/R&B hybrid album with R. Kelly. His failure to lock down a tour with the Chi-Town crooner hasn't hurt their relationship, he said.
"We couldn't get that off the ground. It was so many things. It was so many people involved. Hopefully we could do some dates and perform the records we got together. Hopefully I get to do an album with the dude. We definitely was talking about it."
Another singer Jay is loving is Roc-a-Fella's first solo male singer, Rell. "I listen to R&B music, but I never wanted to be involved with it," said Jay, who admitted having concerns about putting out former Roc R&B group Christión. "That's not my field we come from making rap music. But real recognize real. It's much more than R&B singing. He's a regular good dude with good music. We wanna be affiliated with good music."
Jay recently co-directed "That's My Baby," the first video from Rell's debut, The Remedy.
"It follows the story line of the song," Jay said. "A guy goes outside of the home to find comfort, and it's about the problems that goes with infidelity. When I heard the song, I was driving and started seeing things. Usually in that situation people make it that the girl finds out that you're cheating and she gone. It's not that simple. Sometimes it's a little more difficult than that. Its not that easy to leave someone you love, because after all, we're only human beings and everyone has faults."
The Remedy is scheduled to drop sometime in August, and "That's My Baby" will hit the airwaves in the next few weeks.