In the latest issue of Rolling Stone, contributing editor Mark Binelli goes one-on-one with the New York legend, watching Jay-Z try on a new suit in his sprawling Manhattan office and tagging along to the Four Seasons, where the rapper goofs by mispronouncing actor Kelsey Grammer's name at a watch auction (after calling the Frasier star "Chelsea," he asks Binelli how to spell "faux pas"). It seems the man who made his name rhyming about hustling and hos in Brooklyn's Marcy Projects is actually more comfortable around an unlikely new crowd: indie rockers. "I love the energy coming out indie rock right now," he says, name-checking Grizzly Bear. "It has this rebellion thing that hip-hop is missing now, the thing that made hip-hop hip-hop."
While Jay is notoriously private about his life with wife Beyoncé, Binelli gets the rapper to let down his guard, and Jay reveals his superstar better half vetoed a piece of artwork he'd bought for their 8,000-square-foot Tribeca penthouse. The black-and-white Laurie Simmons photograph in question depicted "a noirishly lit pistol with a pair of women's legs emerging from the handle… Beyoncé sent it back and had it replaced with a similar Simmons piece, only depicting a perfume bottle instead of a gun." Binelli also encourages Jay to open up about his biggest challenges as president of Def Jam (the most frustrating meeting? "Honestly? All of them") and his one and only experience in therapy, when as Binelli writes, "The psychiatrist gave him tea that made him sleepy and asked him questions like, 'Who are your best friends?' "
Find out why Jay isn't trying to lure pal LeBron James to the Nets and why he thinks many rappers have failed to age gracefully in our new issue, on sale at newsstands now.