No matter how many new hip-hop acts emerge, Jay-Z remains at the top of the list when it comes to who’s hot … even at 40 years old.

That’s one of his goals … to adjust to a younger audience in a believable way while maintaining his spot atop hip-hop’s hot list.  In a new cover story for Rolling Stone, out this week, Jay-Z explains.

“One of the reasons I wanted to makeBlueprint 3 was because of the challenge,” Jay told the magazine. “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.

“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,” the rapper continued. “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?”

So far, Jay’s formula has worked.

In September 2009, the New York rapper earned his 11th no. 1 album, which put him ahead of Elvis Presley and right behind the Beatles for most no. 1s albums of all-time.

Despite 11 albums worth of material, Jay tells MTV that he’s only told about 10 stories in his career. All those albums consist of the same narratives re-told with varying details and elements. However, on his next project, he plans to experiment more and it may result it the project not debuting at the top of the charts.

“It’s not gonna be a #1 album. That’s where I’m at right now. I wanna make the most experimental album I ever made,” Jay told MTV in September 2009.

Jay’s Rolling Stone issue is on newsstands now.

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