Don’t count him out just yet! JAY-Z might not be in the studio right now, but he’s not saying he’s retired from the music game, either. The 52-year-old sat down with Kevin Hart for the comedian’s “Hart to Heart” series on Peacock, where he addressed those pesky retirement rumors, and how taking his first-ever vacation and becoming a father impacted his approach to his career.
Explaining that his future plans are up in the air, the hip-hop mogul said he doesn’t know “what happens next.”
“I’m not actively making music or making an album or have plans to make an album,” he added. “But I never want to say I’m retired… It’s a gift, and who am I to shut it off? It’s open to whatever. It may have a different form, a different interpretation. Maybe it’s not an album. Maybe it is. I have no idea, but I’m just gonna leave it open.”
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It’s no secret the father of three has made a name for himself both in music and in business. With 24 GRAMMYs under his belt and a diverse business portfolio spanning from his streaming service, Tidal, to his 40/40 Club franchise, the star’s resume is packed. But, after welcoming his children — daughter Blue Ivy, 10, and twins Sir and Rumi, 5 — with his ultra-famous other half, Beyoncé, JAY-Z’s outlook on how he spends his time has shifted.
The rapper has definitely flirted with the idea of retirement, famously declaring he was hanging up the mic in 2003 with a blowout party at Madison Square Garden. But he couldn’t stay away from the recording booth, continuing to collaborate with various artists, including Linkin Park, until his official return to the stage in 2006, with the album Kingdom Come.
JAY-Z, born Shawn Carter, told Hart that he was “terrible” at retirement, but “just needed a break” when he decided to call it quits in 2003.
“I was really burnt out that time. I was releasing an album every year — ’96, ’97, ’98. And then in between that, soundtracks, other people’s albums, Roc-A-Fella, touring back-to-back,” he recalled. “And you know, I just looked up one day and I was like, ‘I’m tired.’ I had never been on a vacation until, like, I want to say 2000. Like, my whole life. And I was just really burnt out at that moment.”
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The rapper’s most recent solo album, 4:44, was released in 2017. He put out the collaborative album Everything Is Love with Beyoncé a year later, and the duo co-headlined the On the Run II tour.
JAY-Z also explained how his children made him realize how vital his time spent was.
“Time is all you have. That’s the only thing we control, is how you spend your time,” he told Hart. “You’re reckless with your time before. You’re just all over the place and then you have to… What are you leaving your house for? Every second that you spend, you’re spending away from the development of these people that you brought here, that you love more than anything in the world. So what are you going to spend that time on? That changed a lot. That changed practically everything.”
“Hart to Heart” is streaming now on Peacock.