Jay-Z's album Magna Carta Holy Grail is reviewed by artist Ellen Grossman following a chance encounter on the New York subway last December.
Jay-Z at the premiere of The Great Gatsby in New York.
Grossman met the Hip-Hop artist whilst travelling on the R-train to Brooklyn (Jay-Z was due to perform at the Barclay Centre). Perplexed by the amount of attention Jay-Z was receiving by fellow travellers, she asked him "are you famous?" To which he replied "not very famous, you don't know me. But I'll get there some day". He introduced himself as "Jay" and only when Grossman questioned him further and he revealed he was "Jay-Z" did she realise who he was.
Jay-Z showed footage from the train where he encountered Grossman in his documentary Jay-Z's Life and Times: Where I'm From.
Grossman attended the Jay-Z's New Year's Eve show, she said of his performance that "he does a lot of the glamour stuff - the lights and the good clothing, or even the casual clothing, but incredible lighting, strobing and audience reaction".
Of the Magna Carta Holy Grail's lyrics Grossman said "it sounds like he's really going deep into his heart and into fatherhood and even the meaning of fame". Jay-Z and his wife Beyonce's daughter was born in January 2012, named Ivy Blue Carter. The first time he discussed fatherhood, with the exception of these lyrics, was in his most recent Samsung Galaxy commercial. The parents "marvel at her", whilst Jay-Z mentions how he intends to be a very different parent from his absentee father.
Beyonce and Jay-Z pictured leaving the New York Bergdorf Goodman in December 2012.
Grossman continued, in her interview with MTV, to say that Jay-Z has "depth to him" which she understood "from the papers but I felt it in he man too, when I met him". This was a reflection prompted by Jay-Z's references to money in his lyrics which Grossman feels he thinks is "nice but there's life beyond that and he's exploring".
The visual artist admits that although she doesn't " get all of the words", she does enjoy "innovative" and "new music" hence her interest in Jazz and. most recently, Jay-Z.
Reviews for Magna Carta Holy Grail have been varied. Primarily, Jay-Z has been criticised for striking a deal with Samsung in order for their smartphone customers to get first dibs on the album. The release date for Samsung customers was on July 4th, general release was yesterday (9th July).
Jay-Z performing at Radio One's Hackney Weekend, London 2013.