By Jocelyn Vena
Jay-Z has never been shy about stepping outside of the hip-hop arena for collaborations, so when he got the call to craft tunes for “The Great Gatsby” he probably knew that he’d found his next great alliance.
“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,” he said in a statement. “The imagination Baz brought to `Moulin Rouge’ made it a masterpiece, and `Romeo + Juliet’s’ score wasn’t just in the background; the music became a character. This film’s vision and direction has all the makings of an epic experience.”
The rapper joins the project as the executive producer on the soundtrack. Not only did he work with composer Craig Armstrong on it, but he will also perform on the release. According to Reuters, he also enlisted the help of some of his musical comrades to make appearances on the album.
Hova and Kanye West’s Watch the Throne track, “No Church In the Wild,” appeared in a trailer for the flick that dropped last year. Then in January news broke that Jay, along with The Bullitts, was working to score the flick.
And, in case anyone was wondering how the collaboration came about, they have Jay Gatsby himself to thank for it. It was their mutual pal Leonardo DiCaprio that brought them together. Hova and Luhrman’s team worked together for two years on the project, ahead of the film’s May release.
Luhrman said that the rapper was “a credible and natural fit,” adding, “And in our age, the energy of jazz is caught in the energy of hip-hop. Not only is Jay-Z a great artist, full stop, but I had heard that he was a great collaborator. 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.”
The film opens in the states on May 10, before landing in France for Cannes Film Festival on May 15. In addition to DiCaprio in the title role, it also stars Carey Mulligan in the pivotal role of Gatsby’s lost love, Daisy, as well as Tobey Maguire, Joel Edgerton, Isla Fisher and Jason Clarke.