An extremely charming clip from Jay-Z’s new documentary appeared on his YouTube channel a few days ago, in which Jay is seen riding the New York City subway and chatting up an older woman who was not aware of his status as the God of Rap.
The clip is part of Jay’s newly-released 24-minute film “Where I’m From” detailing his role in the building of Brooklyn’s new arena, the Barclays Center, and revitalizing the Brooklyn Nets basketball team, of which he is part-owner.
Jay-Z headlined the grand opening of the new arena in October, performing eight live concerts. In a clear publicity stunt that tied up the subway for what felt like hours, on the day of his eighth and final show, Jay took the subway from his swank pad in lower Manhattan to still-shitty-but-getting-better downtown Brooklyn, accompanied of course by his bodyguards and hordes of crazy fans.
In the full documentary, you see Jay-Z waiting on the subway platform, looking a bit claustrophobic and uncomfortable, while the crowd goes berzerk around him, snapping pictures and trying to get his attention. The shorter clip begins with him boarding the train and taking an open seat next to Ellen Grossman, a 67-year old artist from Manhattan, who is one of maybe five people on earth who couldn’t immediately recognize him.
Interviewed afterwards, Ellen said:
“There were all these photographers and a crowd of happy people around him, and security people. So it sort of dawned on me as I was looking around that he was someone famous.”
After he sits beside her, Ellen asks Jay-Z if he’s famous, to which he humbly replies:
“Yes, not very famous … you don’t know me…but I’ll get there someday.”
Then Jay intruduces himself and Ellen’s reaction is very charming.
“Oh! You’re Jay-Z? I know about Jay-Z!”
Though the clip captures less than one minute of the conversation, it apparently continued for the 15 to 20 minutes that it took the train to travel from Manhattan to Brooklyn.
The subway trip was obviously a publicity stunt … he cannot possibly be silly enough to indulge in such an ill-conceived trip down memory-lane … but Jay comes across as quite gracious and pleasant in his exchange with Ellen. For her part, Ellen has told the media that she is enjoying her 15 minutes of fame and she has nothing but praise for HOVA himself.