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Jewish Journal

Ellen Grossman reviews new Jay-Z album

by Jillian Scheinfeld, JTA

July 8, 2013 | 1:54 pm

Ellen Grossman sitting next to Jay-Z on a New York Subway, December 2012. (YouTube)

Ellen Grossman sitting next to Jay-Z on a New York Subway, December 2012. (YouTube)

After befriending rapper Jay-Z on the R train to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, Ellen Grossman is now reviewing his latest album, “Magna Carta Holy Grail,” for MTV News.

Grossman, a Brooklyn born visual artist, was contacted by MTV News after a clip of her subway encounter with Jay-Z was featured in the documentary “Jay-Z’s Life and Times: Where I’m From.”

The unlikely reviewer analyzes a few of the rapper’s rhymes and metaphors, honing in on the trials and tribulations of his rise to fame.

“It sounds like he’s really going deep into his heart and into fatherhood and even the meaning of fame,” Grossman said. “[He’s saying] that the money’s nice, but there’s life beyond that, that he’s exploring. I picked that up from the papers but I felt it in the man too, when I met him. That he had a depth to him.

On one of the album’s 16 tracks, Jay-Z shows love to his Jewish fans — and his lawyers in particular – with the song “Somewhereinamerica.” The first line of the first verse reads, “Shout out to old Jews and old rules.”

This isn’t the only time Jay-Z has mused on Jews in his lyrics. ‘This Can’t Be Life,” from his fifth album, “Roc La Familia: The Dynasty,” has the lyric: “flow tight like I was born Jewish.” Jay-Z has used “Jewish” as an adjective to describe those that are smart or conservative with money.

In “What More Can I say?” from “The Black Album,” he refers to himself as, ”The Martha Stewart that’s far from Jewish,” due to his money savvy mind.

Can’t knock the hustle.

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