Don’t call it a comeback–’cause he never really went away.

Jay-Z has made the rather superfluous announcement that he is returning to the music world he allegedly forsook three years ago, telling Entertainment Weekly he will release a new album, Kingdom Come, this fall.

The revelation negates his 2003 departure from the biz, when Hova announced The Black Album would be his last.

“It was the worst retirement, maybe, in history,” he told magazine.

The 36-year-old rapper, born Shawn Carter, also defended the integrity of his retirement announcement, dismissing rampant speculation that the hiatus was never intended to be permanent and was a stunt to increase sales of his last album and create a demand for his return.

“I believed it, yeah,” he said of his 2002 declaration. “I believed it for two years.”

The rapper’s golden years, of course, were slightly more prolific than the average retiree. While “away,” Jay-Z performed several one-off gigs, staged an ill-conceived tour with R. Kelly and produced and wrote several hit tracks for the hip-hop set, including a couple on girlfriend Beyonce’s new album, B’Day.

In his spare time, he also became co-owner of the New Jersey Nets and president and CEO of Island Def Jam Recordings.

Still, the “99 Problems” singer said the root of his decision to return to the limelight “wasn’t like a defining moment.”

“Something, when you love it, is always tugging at you and itching at you, and I was putting it off and putting it off,” he told EW. “I started fumbling around to see if it felt good.”

It must have.

For Kingdom Come, which, fans may be interested to know, the artist likens more to The Black Album than Blueprint, Jay-Z worked with a roster of talent.

He told EW he’s teamed up with a slew of bona fide hitmakers, including Timbaland, Kanye West, Dr. Dre, and–wait for it–Mr. Gwyneth Paltrow himself, Coldplay frontman Chris Martin.

“We met a charity dinner and just really kept in touch,” he said. “He sent me these beautiful chords for this song called ‘Beach Chair.’ I had Dre put some drums on it. It’s really, really incredible.”

Jay-Z has also announced plans to embark on a two-month international tour this fall, though not just in support of his album.

In between gigs in Africa, the rapper will go on a United Nations-backed trek to visit regions suffering shortages of clean drinking water. The excursion will be filmed for a Nov. 24 special on MTV, Diary of Jay-Z: Water for Life.

Jay-Z promises Kingdom Come will drop this fall, but hasn’t announced an official release date.

Credit: E! Online


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