L.A. Reid Has High Hopes For Jay-Z's Blueprint 3

The Island Def Jam chairman also says he still believes in Jermaine Dupri.

Island Def Jam's chairman is watching to see what [artist id="1269"]Jay-Z[/artist] does with Blueprint 3 just as (or even more) intently as the average Hov fan. The record exec says it's not unrealistic to think the album will come out on Def Jam instead of through his Live Nation deal.

"We still have an arrangement with Jay-Z," Reid said recently in Los Angeles. "He and I are really good friends, and we enjoy working together, and we're hoping we could figure it out. If we can't figure it out, it won't lessen my interest in his record and in his career. My relationship with him goes much deeper than what company it's on. To me, the Blueprint 3 is an important album, however it comes out. If it comes out in a cereal box, it doesn't matter to me. As long as it's one of the great records of our time."

Reid says Blueprint 3 is not just important for Jay and the company that releases it.

"I wanna know that artists like Jay-Z and business people like Jay-Z can have a 40-year career," L.A. explained. "I wanna see the first hip-hop artist have a 40 year career. I wanna know that hip-hop has the legs, and it wasn't a trend in music. It wasn't something that can come and go, but it will stick around and last. No different from rock music, no different from pop music."

When Jay left Def Jam as a business exec last year, Reid said it was done very amicably. The same cannot be said for [artist id="450135"]Jermaine Dupri[/artist], who was in charge of the acts coming out of Island Records' Urban Music department, including girlfriend [artist id="1090"]Janet Jackson[/artist]. When JD left the label in January, it was in a huff, and he publicly accused L.A. of being jealous and hindering his performance.

"I'm dealing with a lot of jealousy and have been since I first came in the business," Dupri told Essence.com. "When you're younger, they don't want to listen to you because they know you are keener and people listen to the younger person in the office. In corporate America, this is something that I started feeling a lot.

"I saw a side of him that I had never seen before and that to me was a jealous side," Dupri added. "I don't know if I should be around people who are jealous of me. Mariah Carey sold more records in that entire Def Jam building, and all of that was through my singles; so I'm looking like the golden boy. I only started thinking about it after I left."

For his part, Reid says he didn't take Dupri's comments to heart. He says in his mind, nothing has changed between the two of them.

"Jermaine is a hit maker," Reid said. "Jermaine will always be a hit maker. Maybe this wasn't the best fit for Jermaine. It doesn't lessen my belief in him or affect my friendship with him, no matter what have may been said or written."