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Jay-Z felt "really burned out" before he announced his retirement in 2003.
The 52-year-old rap star retired from the music industry after releasing 'The Black Album' - but Jay now realises that he "just needed a break" before he returned with a new record, 'Kingdom Come', in 2006.
The award-winning rapper - who even threw a star-studded retirement party - told comedian Kevin Hart on 'Hart to Heart': "I tried that [retirement]. I’m terrible at that. I just needed a break. But I really thought that I was really burned out at the time.
"I was releasing an album every year - ’97, ’98 - and then in between that, soundtracks, other people’s album, ROC-A-FELLA, touring back to back … and I had just looked up one day and I was like … ‘I’m tired.'"
Meanwhile, Jay previously revealed that he doesn't try to follow trends.
The rap legend insisted he wants his music to last the test of time, even if that means it's not appreciated in the short term.
Jay - who released his critically-acclaimed debut album, 'Reasonable Doubt', in 1996 - explained: "Would you rather be a trend, or you rather be Ralph Lauren? You know what I mean; like, you rather be a trend, or you rather be forever?
"I’m the person that looked at the Mona Lisa and be like, Man, that’s gonna be cool in 40 years. I play forever. And so my whole thing is to identify with the truth. Not to be the youngest, hottest, new, trendy thing."
Despite this, Jay accepts that age is a more relevant issue in rap than other genres of music.
He said: "I think that rap in particular is a young man's sport."