Jay-Z Taking It 'Way Back To The Roots' On New Album

Jigga recently began work on The Black Album with producer Rick Rubin.

NEW YORK — With his Rock the Mic Tour starting Wednesday night (June 25), Jay-Z won't have much time for the studio, but Jigga said his next and allegedly final LP, The Black Album, is already under way.

"I just started, and it's going all the way back to the roots," Jay said at the opening of his 40/40 Club in Manhattan last week (see "Beyonce, Magic Johnson, Others Turn Out For Jay-Z's 40/40 Opening"). "I'm bringing y'all back before '96, [the year of] my first album. I just did something with Rick Rubin, and Mike D was in the house. [Mike] ain't doing nothing on the album, but just his spirit and his presence was in there. I'm bringing it back, not all the way old-school, but I'm bringing it back."

Jay is also bringing back some of the producers he's made classic material with. A source working on the project told MTV News that Ski, who produced on Jay's early albums, would probably be banging out beats for the new disc, and Pharrell Williams and DJ Premier have confirmed their participation.

"He wants me to do two joints," Primo said recently. "He wants me to do the intro to the album and another song. Jay reminds me of Guru in that Guru always gives me the title to all the songs and I make the tracks what he gives the title to. Jay is the same way: 'I'mma do a song, and when it gets to this part I want it to do this.' He's well thought out about what he wants to do. He says he wants to explain it to me, but he wants to do it face-to-face."

Another person that may pop up on The Black Album is Pain in Da Ass, known for his impressions of movie gangsters on some of Jay's album intros.

"We were just in the studio the other day," Pain said at the 40/40 opening. "I had to come back, you know, get the street essence. Jay is at the beginning; it's time to do 360 degrees, full circle, ya heard. Ain't nothing gonna be Reasonable Doubt — that's your first album, that's the baby. But I think it'll come pretty close. He's hungry now."