Have you seen The Great Gatsby yet? If so, you’ve noticed just how big a role hip-hop mogul Jay Z played in producing the movie’s score and soundtrack, which included several prominent African American artists, despite the utter lack of speaking parts for black actors in the film.
At the opening of the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday, Gatsby director Baz Luhrmann told reporters that Jay’s involvement was key to the film, The Associated Press reports.
“We wanted the film to feel like how it would have felt to read the novel in 1925,” Luhrmann said. “[Author F. Scott Fitzgerald] put music front and center in his novel. He took African-American street music called jazz and he put it right as a star in the book. People said, ‘Why are you doing that? It’s a fad, it’ll be gone next week.’ And [Fitzgerald] said, because I want this book to feel right here, right now.”
Jay-Z’s own tracks – “$100 Bill” and the Grammy-winning jam “No Church in the Wild,” with Kanye West and Frank Ocean – are featured on the soundtrack and prominently in the movie. There were also contributions from his wife Beyonce, Andre 3000 of Outkast, will.i.am, and Q-Tip.
“Jay said that music is a star in the film so I think there is a great African-American presence in this film and I am very, very grateful for it,” Luhrmann added.