The heavyweights of rap and R&B give the lowdown on the eagerly awaited 'The Best Of Both Worlds'...

Rap superstar Jay-Z and R&B heavyweight R Kelly officially announced the release of their collaborative album, THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS’, at a press conference in NEW YORK yesterday (24 January).

Featured guests at the event included Puff Daddy, rap mogul Russell Simmons and high-profile lawyer Johnnie Cochran.

DJ Funkmaster Flex led off the proceedings with a brief set at the conference, and also offered a sneak preview of the record during the conference by playing two songs: ‘Honey’, the record’s bouncy, party-geared first single and ‘Get This Money’ a smoother, more downbeat track with a Latin-tinged beat.

“I’m here as a fan,” Puff Daddy told the crowd, avoiding the spotlight. “These are my two favourite artists in the whole wide world. Biggie is definitely my most favourite rapper, but living, right now Jay-Z is my favourite rap artist and R Kelly is my favourite R&B artist. It’s as simple as that. I go to all the concerts, I’ve got all the albums, I know every lyric to every song. It’s just a pleasure to be here.”

After R Kelly explained the genesis of their joint project.

“It’s like mad scientists in the basement,” he said. “You know, Jay-Z‘s real creative, I’m real creative – you want to get together and mix potions, just to see what happens.”

The stars also revealed that there will be a tour to support the project. ‘The Best of Both Worlds’ will be released on 25 March in the UK on Jive Records and the following day through Island Def Jam in the US.