Jay-Z makes being famous look as effortless as his ability to switch rap flows at blazing speeds. Ever since his breakout solo record, Reasonable Doubt, to the mogul status he currently enjoys, the Brooklyn native is a rags-to-riches story for the ages. Along the way, Jay has been known to hobnob with white folks outside his rap world confines, but nothing could have been more random than the millionaire riding the subway and chatting it up with a subway passenger on his way to the one of his eight sold out shows at the Barclays Center earlier this year.
The exchange between spry 67-year-old visual artist Ellen Grossman and the Roc Nation honcho – with the woman qupping “are you famous” to Jay – was as genuine a meeting as any. Filmed as part of the “Where I'm From” documentary, the clip has made its rounds online and the heartwarming image is lasting.
According to a New York Magazine Daily Intel profile on Grossman, who also shares the same stomping grounds as Hov, she even happens to know a little about rap music.
“I was on a fairly sparsely populated subway car, and I was sitting in the corner," Grossman shared. “At Canal Street, a surge of people got on, and since my son was in the buildings on 9/11, my first reaction was that there had been a disaster upstairs. But everyone was laughing and smiling. My second reaction was, 'Oh there's a flash mob.' They were filming this one guy that I didn't recognize, which is why I said, 'Are you famous?'”
Although Grossman had some scant knowledge of Jay-Z, her tastes are more firmly rooted in the 90s. “LL Cool J, Ice Cube, it's old stuff,” she said listing her facves.
Grossman is suddenly the envy of her family and friends, obviously stoked by her chance run-in with one of Hip-Hop's elite. But after expressing she wants to catch Hov on stage, perhaps someone in the Live Nation offices can slide Ms. Grossman a ticket on the low.
Check out the exchange below: