*Jay-Z’s subway conversation with an elderly woman has gone viral since it was released this week as part of his documentary short “Where I’m From,” which includes footage of him taking the R train to his eighth and final concert at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
While the swirl of Jay-Z’s security, fans, entourage and cameras bustled around them, he managed to have a quiet conversation with Ellen Grossman, age 67, who had no idea what was going on or who exactly was sharing her subway seat.
“Are you famous?” Grossman asked him after he sat next to her. ”Yes,” the rapper smiled. “Not very famous, you don’t know me. …But I’ll get there someday.”
“My name is Jay, what’s your name?” the rapper said, shaking her hand.
“Ellen,” she said. “What do you do?”
“I make music,” he responded.
Later, during a phone interview with The Washington Post, Grossman talked about her encounter with the famous hip-hop artist.
“In general I have poor face recognition unless I know someone really well. I was aware Jay-Z was famous and existed, but I didn’t know how famous,” she said. “I’ve become much more aware of what he’s done and who he is. And as I checked him out, I realized, how embarrassing that I didn’t know who he was. 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.”
At first, Grossman thought that some sort of 9/11-style attack had taken place because the subway had been “sparsely populated” before Jay-Z’s entourage and fans started filling up the platform and train. According to the newspaper, she quickly realized that the crowd was more excited than worried.
According to The New York Daily News, Grossman has come to respect Jay-Z as a fellow artist after doing some research on his work as a rapper. She also has reportedly received a CD of his music from an assistant in the studio where she creates her art.
Watch a video of the entire encounter here.