Yes, Jay-Z is an enterprising business mogul, but with everything the Roc Nation CEO has going on, he never seems to put anything above the music. With that notion, Hov partnered with Baz Luhrmann to score "The Great Gatsby," a film set in the Roaring Twenties with a soundtrack a bit more modern.
On Thursday (May 2), Jay released "100$ Bill" off the film's soundtrack. The frantic, Houston-inspired production is complete with chopped and screwed samples, church-like wails, jazz flutes and Leonardo DiCaprio sound-fills from the film.
On the track, which found its way onto the Internet Thursday (April 2), Hovi compares the ascent of his empire to Jay Gatsby's storied hustle, but with a dash of hip-hop modernism. In just a few short bars there are references to literary greats, rap icons, Houston hip-hop culture and Jay's chain of 40/40 sports bars. "I write like Mark Twain, Jay Gatsby I park thangs/ Yellow cars, yellow gold, like Slick Rick, still tip/ On four-fours, fo-fos at the four-O, four-O" he rhymes effortlessly.
"It's not the typical soundtrack, or a standalone piece. The songs are pretty much in the film, so it goes hand in hand with each other. It had to fit pretty snug, it wasn't an afterthought," Jay told Blacktree.TV of the soundtrack, which not only includes himself, but Florence and the Machine, Lana Del Rey, Jack White and his wife Beyoncé.
The idea to bring the rap star onboard to help situate music in the film came about during a Watch the Throne recording session in New York's Mercer Hotel. Jigga and his WTT partner in rhyme Kanye West were recording "No Church in the Wild" when Luhrmann paid them a visit. "We just talked about collaborating, because it was a collaboration with Kanye at the time. We just talked about the act and the art of collaborating," Jay recalled. "I guess that was the seed of the idea."
Fitting modern music in a string period piece such as "The Great Gatsby" couldn't have been easy, but Jay sums it up with one single thought. "Music is music no matter what," he said. "Timeless music is timeless music. It doesn't matter what genre."