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Posted by Robert
Rap News Network
11/15/2003 6:51:24 PM

Tags and topics realted to this article include Jay-Z and Timbaland.

ay-Z is bored with hip-hop. It was around 1 a.m. on a Thursday in late June, and he was in the V.I.P. room at the 40/40 Club, the sports bar he owns on West 25th Street in Manhattan. The professional basketball stars Antoine Walker and Tracy McGrady sat on one side of the room playing cards while Jay-Z was in a corner holding court with the producer Timbaland and the 18-year-old basketball phenom LeBron James, who seemed more interested in playing a video game on his cellphone. There was a neo-Rat Pack vibe to the scene: lounging millionaires, tall models playing pool, and a sexy waitress in a short skirt offering cognac and cigars. Jay-Z seemed to be on top of the world. But then he let slip that he would soon retire from hip-hop. His next album, "The Black Album," would be his last. "It's not like it was with Big and Pac," he said, referring to the rappers Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur, whose deaths in the late 90's ushered in a new era in hip-hop. "Hip-hop's corny now."....

He recalled getting a phone call from a friend one night a few years ago. "He was like, `Yo, meet me up on 125th Street.' It was like we was doing a drug deal or something. So I shoot up there. He gets in my car and puts on `Who Shot Ya' " — Notorious B.I.G.'s incendiary classic. "He knew what type of guy I am. If somebody makes something hot, I'm going to be inspired. The song comes on, and he's looking at me and sees me be like whoo! He got out and said: `Keep that. It's yours.' I went to the studio the next day and made four songs."

But hip-hop hasn't made him feel that way in years. Asked if his best work came five or six years ago, he said, "Absolutely."

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