[artist id="1269"]Jay-Z[/artist] may heap praise on [artist id="1230523"]Kanye West[/artist], [artist id="510062"]Lil Wayne[/artist] and [artist id="2545682"]Drake[/artist] as the leaders of the new class of MCs, but that doesn't mean the Brooklyn wordsmith is ready to give up his crown just yet.
The rapper graces the cover of the upcoming October issue of XXL and inside he tells the magazine he believes he's still as good as he's ever been.
"But when I say I'm the best, I don't say that outta my ass," he explained. "I say that with all my stats behind me. I put that against anybody. I mean anybody. I really believe that ... I believe in a lot of things. I believe that 'SportsCenter' is the best thing on TV. I shouldn't have to prove it. But I do have these stats to prove it. I'm talking about real run. I'm not talking about years off. I'm talking about straight — boom, boom, boom — back to back. We're not talking about heritage acts either. We're not talking about respect, what I've done. I'm talking #1 [albums] 10 times. The Beatles is the only one [to have more #1 albums]. They got 19, and if I get a surge of creativity, I could make nine albums next year."
Fans will take just one album, The Blueprint 3. The highly anticipated project — set for release on September 11 — has long been in the works. Earlier this year, Jay-Z told MTV News the album was taking longer to make than usual for him.
"For me, the process of making an album is difficult with so many things going on," he explained. "And me, I wanna make it beyond and above. I'm gonna take my time with it. I don't have any quotas, and that's a good thing. It may be too freeing. It's a good thing and a bad thing. You know, I think I need some restrictions, 'cause if I had restrictions, I would have done it in three weeks. I would have made what I believe to be a great piece of art."
In recent days, a number of new Jay-Z songs have appeared online, including "Off That" with Drake and "Venus vs. Mars," both produced by Timbaland.
The Blueprint 3's main producer, Kanye West, said the album will be worth the wait.
"He's just been working on it and it's gonna be amazing when he drops it," West said. "I think it's good he's taking his time to give people the best product possible and not being rushed by this fast-food, media-outlet, Internet, everything-is-getting-leaked, people-stealing-your-songs-before-you-can-mix-them-and-put-them-online world we're living in right now."
The October issue of XXL is scheduled to hit newsstands mid-September.