Photo Credit: Courtesy of YouTube
Remember when Jay-Z met Ellen Grossman? Most subway interactions aren't caught on camera, but we feel confident in saying that this was one of the most adorable N.Y.C. train encounters ever. Now the sweet old lady is getting re-acquainted with the rapper -- by getting a first listen of his new album, Magna Carta Holy Grail. Check out her reaction in the video below!
"I don't get all of the words but I get a lot of them and I'm really enjoying it," Grossman, who admits to a hearing problem, told MTV. "I like jazz and what's called 'new music' and I can relate to all the soundscapes. It's really innovative stuff."
If Ellen isn't reacting to Jay-Z like your grandma would, you should remember that she's also an artist in her own right -- a contemporary visual artist, and a famous one at that. When MTV asked her to react to specific Manga Carta tracks, her responses were thoughtful and informed.
For example, about "Holy Grail," Jay-Z's track with Justin Timberlake, Grossman observed, "Even though it started out as a complaint about lovers and relationships, it was pretty mellow and you could go with it. ... But when Jay-Z came in and he was talking about Kurt Cobain... [he was saying] 'Okay, fame has its price.' And even someone very famous and rich is capable of suicide. It really hit you hard and the soundscape was just exquisite, so it was pretty amazing."
She also praised Jay's "sexy" collaboration with wife Beyonce, "Part II (On the Run)," saying, "There's real connection and real willingness to show their vulnerability, even though I suspect they would want [their relationship to] remain private. What they're putting out in their art is really opening themselves up. It was pretty awesome." No, you're pretty awesome, Ellen!
Back when they first met on the R train, a moment captured in Jay's mini-documentary Where I'm From, Grossman praised his charisma and energy. "He really, genuinely spreads an aura of empowerment around him," she told NYMag.com. "And I suspect he was always able to do that even before fame. It's not just directed at younger people. I picked up that feeling, too."
Her appreciation for Jay-Z may have contributed to her feelings about the album, which is getting mixed reviews from critics. His fans, however, are greeting the new album with open arms -- particularly after Jay did a charming impromptu Twitter Q&A to promote it. Among the revelations: his favorite cereal growing up was Cap'n Crunch, and he finds the experience of tweeting "creepy."