Rick Rubin Isn’t Actually Producing Jay-Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail

By Maurice Bobb

Looks like the joke’s on us. After appearing in most of the behind-the-scenes Samsung commercials for Jay-Z’s upcoming Magna Carta Holy Grail LP, Rick Rubin, who was featured in the spots alongside fellow superproducers Pharrell Williams, Timbaland and Swizz Beatz, admits that he had nothing to do with Hov’s new project.

“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,” Rubin told XXL Magazine. “Just listen to it and talk about it, and that’s what we did. It was fun.”

Although he was just in the room to lend an ear, the iconic producer, who recently helped Kanye West to pare down Yeezus to the point of “aspiration minimalism,” liked what he heard of Jay’s 12th studio album.

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

The legendary founder of Def Jam was most recently featured in MCHG‘s “Heaven” clip, where the Roc Nation Sports agent gets introspective with arguably the most introspective and spiritual man in all of hip-hop and pondered the “the idea of [there] being heaven or hell on earth.”

“Have you ever been to heaven? Have you ever seen it?” he asks, rhetorically while talking to Rubin. “For me, my idea is heaven is in your daughter’s laughter; hell could be if your child is missing for three minutes — you’re in three minutes of hell. It’s just not my belief that a just God would make you burn or eternity for [the] free will that He gave you.”