By Rob Markman
Turns out that fan Amit Wehle and the rap icon have something in common, the Brooklyn-based writer lives in 560 State Street, the building that Hov once called home, hustled drugs from and famously rapped about in his #1 hit “Empire State of Mind.” That commonality would bring Jay-Z and Whele together on October 4 for a once in a lifetime meeting; the writer detailed the encounter in a first-person account on Fuse.TV on Wednesday.
Wehle’s tale begins with Hov’s request for a menorah. As unusual as it sounds, the rapper, who isn’t Jewish, was looking for a menorah so he could light a candle for each of the eight shows. Wehle, of course, obliged. “Already feeling a kinship with Hova from my chance living at his old residence, I jumped at the idea,” he wrote.
In return for supplying the menorah and eight candles, the writer and his wife were rewarded with a pair of VIP tickets for the Barclays opening night on September 28. But that wouldn’t be the last he heard from Hova’s people. A few days later, Wehle got an email with another request. “The producers for the upcoming Ron Howard-directed documentary on Jay-Z, called ‘Made In America,’ were hoping to shoot footage of Jay (yes, now I call him Jay) at his old stash spot apartment,” he wrote.
On October 4 the God MC returned to his old stomping grounds, toured his old apartment and greeted the new tenants. “He pointed out where he slept, how he had the place set up with music equipment and where he worked on some of his hip hop masterpieces in the late ’90s,” Wehle recounted. “While waiting for roof access, a few lucky residents got to chat with Jay-Z and snap a pic or two with him. His ability to normalize a rather unreal moment and focus his attention on each of us was both humbling and powerful.”
Wehle himself only got a chance to meet the world-famous rap star and business mogul for a moment, but it was all pretty unforgettable. During my brief exchange, I brought up the menorah and said how great the opening night show was,” he wrote. “He thanked me and said he’d try to take a picture with the menorah backstage.”