Jay-Z is “more gritty” after the birth of baby Blue Ivy, according to his record producer friend The-Dream.
The rapper and his wife Beyoncé Knowles became parents to the little girl in January 2012.
Speaking to RapFix, The-Dream dismissed suggestions that fatherhood had softened the rap star.
"Nah, I think he's gotten a little bit more gritty," he declared.
The singer-songwriter revealed he had been in the studio with Jay doing “a little something,” but refused to comment on whether the rapper is working on a 12th solo studio.
Apparently his collaborators require strict silence.
"It's so hard because on one hand, I'm really always anxious and excited about new music with everybody that I'm working with,” he said.
“On the other hand, they're always A-List, high-profile, so nobody really wants them to know. So it's hard for me to actually explain what I'm working on, when it's coming."
Jay-Z’s last big release was the collaborative album Watch the Throne with Kanye West back in 2011.
His last solo studio album was 2009 effort The Blueprint 3, which took the number one spot on the US album chart.
But according to The-Dream, Jay-Z’s next musical effort will be even better.
"I think he's becoming more of a painting. It's just moving. It's just travelling through time now," he said.
"There's no way to be surprised again. If any one of us does anything great, it's hard to surprise you. You already have an expectation level that's so high.
"So he's definitely more skilled and better than he was, but are you really surprised?"
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