How did Jay-Z end up becoming one of the executive producer’s of the soundtrack for the upcoming The Great Gatsby film? It turns out that Hova’s role in the film starring Leonardo DiCaprio can be traced back to when he was recording “No Church In The Wild” for his collaborative album with Kanye West, Watch The Throne.
Jay-Z teamed with the movie’s director Baz Luhrmann to bring a modern touch to the “Jazz age” music affiliated with the F. Scott Fitzgerald book the film is based on. Luhrmann was introduced to Jay-Z by DiCaprio, and their work on the Gatsby soundtrack, where Jigga will also be contributing music as a performer, turned into a two-year collaborative effort.
Luhrmann explained in a press statement:
“[Fitzgerald] 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.”
It turns out that Jay-Z, who also worked with the film score’s composer Craig Armstrong, was just as impressed from the start. “As soon as I spoke with Baz and Leonardo, I knew this was the right project,” said the American Gangster rapper in a press statement. “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.”
The Great Gatsby, the film, is in theaters May 10. The theatrical trailer for the film featured “No Church In The Wild,” which features the vocals of Grammy award winning R&B/Hip-Hop crooner Frank Ocean, as its background music.