As the 'Blueprint 3' hype machine kicks into high gear in anticipation of the record's September 11, 2009 release, Jay-Z stepped up to provide one of his trademark hip-hop State of the Union addresses. Instead of responding to the Game's recent disses with a track, Hov decided to fight back the most effective way he knows: an interview with Reuters.

"I hear it all the time -- 'Yo, he should let the young guys, the new generation guys come in.' But you don't become the front-runner in music because someone lets you. You have to claim your shoes," says Jay-Z. "If you grow up listening to hip-hop, you love hip-hop and that's the end of it. But if you're a 30-year-old rapper still trying to make music like you're 15, then you're making it narrow. At my age, I can't relate to a 15-year-old. I deal with mature and relevant topics for my age group -- it has to all be based on true emotions. The more diversity and the more mature we make hip-hop, the bigger the net you cast."

On the topic of that new generation, the aging Michael Jordan of rap built on his recent anti-autotune/new-rappers-are-dropping-the-ball stance. He praised Kanye and Lil Wayne as the new era's ideal role models for up-and-comers.

"Kanye is really the father to the next generation - he's from the school of Q-Tip, and now Drake and Kid Cudi are from the school of 'Ye. And, when you look at Kanye, you have to look at Lil Wayne. I think they're like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James."

A high compliment from the King with some potentially pointed words. Michael Jordan is still considered the greatest ever.