Jay-Z, The Film Composer: Jigga Set To Score “The Great Gatsby”

January 3, 2013  |  

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There have been a few African-American musicians who have scored major motion pictures. Some have even won Academy Awards, such as Prince who became the first black winner of Best Original Song Score for 1984’s Purple Rain and Herbie Hancock who became the first black winner of Best Original Score for 1986’s Round Midnight. Now Jay-Z may add composer to his list of  music credits.

Hollywood is abuzz with the news that the Jigga will score The Great Gatsby alongside The Bullitts. “Rumors of Jay-Z’s participation with the film started swirling when the first trailer debuted online in May,” reports Billboard. “Director Baz Luhrmann chose Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch the Throne track, ‘No Church in the Wild,’ as the music for the film’s trailer.” According to reports, the soundtrack may include songs from a range of artists — from Prince to Lady Gaga. The Great Gatsby, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, and Carey Mulligan, opens on May 10.

There have been many hip-hop artists who have worked on scores for rap features, but Jay-Z may be the first hip-hop artists to score a general audience feature film. Various African-American musicians of other genres have scored feature films, going back to Duke Ellington, who was the first back person to be nominated for Best Original Score for the film Paris Blues in 1961. Other musicians who have scored films and have been nominated for an Oscar include Quincy Jones (In Cold Blood, 1967; The Wiz, 1978; The Color Purple, 1985), Isaac Hayes (Shaft, 1971), and  Terence Blanchard, who has scored a number of Spike Lee movies including Malcolm X and When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, among other movies. The most prolific probably is Jones who has scored  more than 50 film projects.

It will be interesting to see if Jay-Z will be nominated — or even win — an Academy Award for his Gatsby composition. ICYMI: The trailer for the film is available on the next page.

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  • Fester T. Jewble

    Within the last 6 years he just learned how to read and write, but he made it, but don’t
    call him a film composer, that’s an insult to the real Composer’s.

  • Binky Hogan

    Madame Noire how dare you call him a Film Composer, someone who samples other peoples music and uses a drum machine to make beats,! A Composer? how much did
    he pay you guys for that title? put down the pipe and get real.

  • Big C. jimmy

    Composer my A_s, he can’t read a lick of music, can’t play any Instruments, and you call
    him a composer? &*^%^$$%$#$#$#%$%$&$

  • Love to see black folks doing big things and still making history! That’s a good look, Jigga! Of course somebody is mad right now! LOL!