Jay-Z was filmed taking the New York underground to his latest gig, surrounded by his entourage of man-mountain bodyguards, producers and a film crew.
Jay-Z, 43, starts a near riot when he enters the Canal Street Station, ticket in hand.
He is first seen passing a sign to the J/Z subway line to Brooklyn, the line that he rode home as a child and later named himself after
But when he boards the line for the Barclays Center and sits down on the only available seat, a grey-haired woman on the adjoining seat asks: “Are you famous?”
Jay-Z, who is worth nearly $500 million, has sold approximately 50 million albums and received 14 Grammy Awards for his work, responds: “Not very famous, you don’t know me. But I’ll get there some day.”
He adds: “My name is Jay, what’s your name?”
“Ellen,” she smiles.
“What do you do?”
“I make music,” he replies before explaining that he has just completed eight shows and was en route to the Barclays Center to perform the last.
“Fabulous,” Ellen replies.
“And you are getting on the subway. I’m proud of you.”
She then asks him to repeat his name.
“Jay. Jay-Z,” he replies.
Then the penny drops and Ellen exclaims: “Oh, you’re Jay-Z. I know about Jay-Z.”
It was a touching vignette that reveals how the barrier of fame can be broken down with a few small words.
Ellen is in fact Ellen Grossman, a successful Brooklyn-based artist herself.
The episode is part of a 24-minute documentary about the opening of Brooklyn’s new Barclays Center, posted by Jay-Z’s culture website Life+Times.
The video takes viewers behind the scenes of his string of gigs at the venue, with footage of rehearsals and the live shows, climaxing at the center on September 28.
Jay-Z said that performing in his hometown was better than performing at the Grammys, Glastonbury or Coachella. He yelled to the crowd of 18,000: “Nothing feels like tonight!”
The arena was full of exciting concertgoers, as the chaotic crowd made way to their seats after waiting outside to enter the building. Jay-Z emerged onstage as a video about Brooklyn’s history played in the background.
He opened with his songs about Brooklyn – Where I’m From and Brooklyn Go Hard. He also performed two songs from fellow Brooklynite Notorious B.I.G. He then held a moment of silence for the late rap veteran.
He told the crowd when B.I.G.’s Juicy played: “Sing loud so he can hear you in heaven.”
The rapper is the co-owner of the Brooklyn Nets, who play at the new arena.