Jay-Z wants to grow old gracefully.

The 40-year-old rapper - who is married to pop star Beyonce - admits his career trajectory is unusual, and he made his latest album 'Blueprint 3' to challenge himself to remain relevant in the music landscape.

He said: "One of the reasons I wanted to make 'Blueprint 3' was because of the challenge.

"We've seen people like LL Cool J have longevity, and we respect the heritage of what he's done, but it's not like, right now, he's competing on the same level as Lil Wayne. So for me to still be able to compete at that level at my age, that's rarefied air. It's never been done."

The '99 Problems' hitmaker believes the evolution of his sound has helped him maintain popularity throughout his career.

He told Rolling Stone magazine: "I think the problem with people, as they start to mature, they say, 'Rap is a young man's game,' and they keep trying to make young songs. But you don't know the slang - it changes every day. You can visit the topic, but these young kids live it every day, and you're just visiting. "So you're trying to be something you're not, and the audience doesn't buy into that. And people wonder why. 'I made a great Southern bounce song!' You're from New York, and you're 70! Why are you bouncing?"

Jay-Z is currently in the UK ahead of a performance at the Isle of Wight festival tonight (11.06.10).