Jay-Z Talks To Billboard



Ringing in the holidays on a sleigh full of Grammy nominations (26 for Def Jam overall and five of his own, including best rap album for “Kingdom Come” and song/record of the year for his featured role on Rihanna’s “Umbrella”), Def Jam president Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter has more than music on his mind.

He’s set to open his third 40/40 Club in Las Vegas (Dec. 30) and recently invested in a real estate development venture called J Hotels. Billboard.com caught up with an ebullient — and frank — Jay-Z, who addressed those deafening rumors about his executive future at Def Jam and what else 2008 holds for him.

So, 26 Grammy nominations; that’s not too shabby. Were you surprised?

Yes, I was. But we definitely put the work in and it’s great to be recognized for it. And “Umbrella”‘s nominations for song and record of the year were fantastic. Rihanna came out of the gate with huge records; our whole thing was to make sure she didn’t get buried under those records and become the “‘Pon the Replay” girl. So to see her come full circle and get her Grammy nods was an incredibly rewarding feeling.read more