Ron Howard didn't know much about Jay Z before he directed Made in America.

The documentary film follows Jay Z's Budweiser Made in America music festival, which kicked off in 2012 in Philadelphia. The annual event will this year take in a date in Los Angeles, as well as playing simultaneously in Philadelphia.

Ron's film focuses on the festival's 2012 debut, which included live sets from Janelle MonĂ¡e, Rita Ora and Kanye West.

"[I only knew] basic stuff, that he was from poverty and crime, and he's turned himself into this laudable, inspiring figure. He's a businessman who wants to make a profit - he's open about that - but there's an integrity there," Ron told British magazine NME.

"They asked me a few weeks before the festival, so I didn't have time to say no. I'd have chickened out if I'd have thought about it too much."

Jay Z has spoken openly about his desire to create a festival that brings together diverse musical genres, which people from all walks of life can enjoy. Ron echoes the Holy Grail rapper's sentiments, saying that his inclusion in the project further demonstrates that.

"The festival represents the breaking down of genres, race and expectation across America. Inviting me in is an extreme vision of that," he smiled.

Ron is one of the most well-respected men in Hollywood and has won two Oscars for his directorial efforts. His psychological thriller A Beautiful Mind took home Best Picture and Best Director at the Academy Awards in 2002, as well as two other prizes.

But Made In America gave Ron a chance to cultivate some new musical tastes.

"I didn't know Jill Scott or The Hives. Loved them. Rita Ora was a blast. And Odd Future. I won't listen to them every day but I was impressed with their energy," he revealed.