Pop culture

Jay-Z's subway friend raves about his new album

July 8, 2013 at 5:37 PM ET

She may not be able to hear very well, but 67-year-old Ellen Grossman is a big fan of Jay-Z's new album, "Magna Carta Holy Grail."

Grossman, a New York City-based artist whose subway conversationwith the music mogul appeared in Jay-Z's 2012 documentary "Where I'm From," was recently commissioned by MTV News to do a review of the new album. While the album has received mixed reviews from music critics and fans, Grossman praised Jay-Z for "going deep into his heart" on his latest offering.

"(He's saying) that the money's nice, but there's life beyond that, that he's exploring," Grossman said in a video posted on MTV.com. "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."

Grossman's favorite tracks on the album include "Holy Grail," a profanity-laden tune that features Justin Timberlake, and "BBC," a party track that features, among other special guests Jay-Z's wife, Beyonce Knowles. Although Grossman said she had trouble understanding the words due to her hearing problems, she thought the track was "wonderful" and even made her want to get up and dance.

After listening to "Part II (On the Run)," which also featured Knowles, Grossman commented that the song was "sexy."

"I don't get all of the words but I get a lot of them and I'm really enjoying it," she said of the album. "I like jazz and what's called 'new music' and I can relate to all the soundscapes. It's really innovative stuff.

"What they're putting out in their art is really opening themselves up."


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