Hov has teamed up with writer/producer/director Baz Luhrmann to curate, arrange and contribute songs to the soundtrack to the upcoming adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel. According to Luhrmann – who was introduced to the Brooklyn legend via the film’s star Leonardo DiCaprio – Hov’s contributions to the soundtrack will accompany composer Craig Armstrong’s original score.
“[Jay-Z is] a credible and natural fit. [Gatsby author] Fitzgerald was a pioneer, famed and controversial for using the then-new and explosive sound called jazz in his novels and short stories-not just as decoration, but to actively tell story using the immediacy of pop culture,” Luhrmann said in a statement. “He coined the phrase ‘the Jazz Age.’ So, the question for me in approaching Gatsby was how to elicit from our audience the same level of excitement and pop-cultural immediacy toward the world that Fitzgerald did for his audience? 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.”
Hov echoed Luhrmann’s sentiments, saying, “As soon as I spoke with Baz and Leonardo, 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 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.”
Jay-Z’s last original film-related music project work came in 2007 with the release of his tenth album American Gangster. Although the LP was not release as an official soundtrack to the film of the same name, Hov said that it was inspired by the Ridley Scott biopic of drug kingpin Frank Lucas.