It has been five long years since the release of Jay-Z‘s most recent album, 4:44. With the break — and the upcoming arrival of wife Beyoncé‘s forthcoming LP, Renaissance, later this month — fans are wondering if the 52-year-old rapper’s time away from music is permanent. But according to Jay, retirement is not in his cards.
Speaking with Kevin Hart in a season two sneak peek of Hart to Heart, the 24-time Grammy award winner addressed what’s ahead for his career in the coming years, and says he’s leaving it up to chance, but does not have plans to fully step away from music.
“I don’t know what happens next. I’m not actively making music, or making an album or have plans to make an album, but I never wanna say I’m retired. It’s a gift and who am I to shut it off?” the rapper told Hart.
Jay-Z famously announced his retirement from hip-hop following the release of 2003’s The Black Album and threw a star-studded retirement party and concert at Madison Square Garden — only to return with another album, Kingdom Come, in 2006.
“I tried that [retirement]. I’m terrible at that. I just needed a break. But I really thought that I was really burned out at the time,” the rapper explained. “I was releasing an album every year — ’97, ’98 — and then in between that, soundtracks, other people’s album, ROC-A-FELLA, touring back to back … and I had just looked up one day and I was like … ‘I’m tired.'”
Now, Jay is leaving his music plans up in the air. “It’s open to … whatever. And it may have a different form, a different interpretation. Maybe it’s not an album. Maybe it is. I have no idea. I’m just going to leave it open.”
Watch Jay-Z’s chat with Kevin Hart in full below. Hart to Heart season two premieres July 14 on Peacock.