Exclusive: Rick Rubin Speaks On Jay-Z’s ‘Magna Carta Holy Grail’

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In the many commercials teasing Jay-Z’s forthcoming Magna Carta Holy Grail album, Jay is surrounded by a supergroup of his longtime collaborators—Swizz Beatz, Pharrell Williams, Timbaland—as he plays new music and explains the songs. Also seen in the snippet videos is the legendary Rick Rubin, founder of Def Jam Records and producer of LL Cool J’s Radio, The Beastie Boys’ Licensed To Ill and most recently, Kanye West’s Yeezus. While Rubin and Jay have had a working relationship since their collaborative “99 Problems”—a single from Jay’s Black Album —according to a spokesperson for Rubin, he was reportedly not involved in the making of Magna Carta, but was rather merely in town when they shot the commercials, thus his presence in them.

When we recently caught up with Rick over the phone, he explained: “The point of me being in the commercials was that he was filming a documentary and he asked me—I imagine he’s just comfortable talking to me—to come listen to the songs with him and just talk about the songs. Just listen to it and talk about it, and that’s what we did. It was fun.” He went on to divulge what he initially thought of Magna Carta, saying, “I liked what I heard, but it was a little difficult—after just coming from the Kanye sessions—to listen to Jay’s album, because they’re so different. I was in a very alternative and progressive headspace, and Jay’s record is a more traditional hip-hop record.”

For more with Rick, check back with us tomorrow for an in-depth interview about his contributions to albums by Run-D.M.C., Public Enemy and The Geto Boys.

  • KingToro

    “I was in a very alternative and progressive headspace, and Jay’s record is a more traditional hip-hop record.”

    Translates to: Jay-Z’s album is ok, but it’s just another Jay-Z album

    • http://www.die.com/ Grumpy Cat

      Oh, just another platinum album?

    • Philly Ciz

      meaning it lacks distortion and EDM beats

    • Reignman

      i dint think he meant it was trash, just play rnb for a while then listen to hard rap

  • mas3:13

    ok follow ……ig mountmasmore

  • Mr. Bubbsy

    kanye album sucks , stick to the real hiphop

  • http://www.recklesscognition.tumblr.com/ Reckless Cognition

    Rubin’s rep should be taken a notch down after having a hand in the disaster known as Yeezus.

  • u

    Rick Rubin IS the most interesting man alive…..

  • Gimphole

    Garbage