Being hip-hop royalty, Jay-Z can bring the world's top musical artists together in one mega project, and that's what he did when he signed up as an executive producer on the soundtrack for Australian filmmaker Baz Luhrmann's forthcoming adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby". By doing so, the 43-year-old rapper was able to put the modern jazz age energy he wanted to infuse into the latest film version of the novel set in 1920s America.
"As soon as I spoke with [director] Baz [Luhrmann] and Leonardo [DiCaprio], I knew this was the right project. 'The Great Gatsby' is that classic American story of one's introduction to extravagance, decadence and illusion. It's ripe for experimentation and ready to be interpreted with a modern twist," the Grammy Award-winning artist said in a press statement.
Jay-Z was introduced to Luhrmann by Leonardo DiCaprio, who plays the lead role of mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby in the new movie. That meeting kicked off their 2-year collaboration.
"Not only is Jay-Z a great artist, full stop, but I had heard that he was a great collaborator," Luhrmann was all praises for his movie soundtrack EP, whom he said was "a credible and natural fit" to the entire project. "Leonardo and I were lucky enough to be present in a recording session over two years ago as Jay-Z was recording 'No Church in the Wild', and the collaboration grew from there."
By working mainly with composer Craig Armstrong, Jay-Z was able to complete work on the soundtrack ahead of the film's May 10 release date in the U.S. and its May 15 screening at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival in France.