dream teams

When Jay-Z Bought Zadie Smith a Fish Sandwich

Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Hats off to the people over at the Times’ T Magazine, who very smartly paired beloved novelist Zadie Smith with beloved rapper-father-entrepreneur-human Jay-Z for their latest issue. The result, which you will want to read in its entirety, is here, but we can reliably inform you right now that Jay-Z paid for lunch, he wore jeans, and he can tell when someone is doing that reverse-camera iPhone trick. Other highlights:

50 Cent is Avon Barksdale, and Jay-Z is Stringer Bell.

“Yeah, 50 Cent told me that one time. He said: ‘You got me looking like Barksdale’ ” — the hot-blooded drug kingpin from HBO’s “The Wire” — “and you get to be Stringer Bell!” — Barksdale’s levelheaded partner. The rapper Memphis Bleek, who has known Jay-Z since Bleek himself was 14, confirms this impression: “He had a sense of calm way before music. This was Jay’s plan from day one: to take over. I guess that’s why he smiles and is so calm, ’cause he did exactly what he planned in the ’90s.”

Jay-Z didn’t really understand Occupy Wall-Street.

“I think all those things need to really declare themselves a bit more clearly. Because when you just say that ‘the 1 percent is that,’ that’s not true. Yeah, the 1 percent that’s robbing people, and deceiving people, these fixed mortgages and all these things, and then taking their home away from them, that’s criminal, that’s bad. Not being an entrepreneur. This is free enterprise. This is what America is built on.”

Kanye writes lyrics in fancy places.

(“Like ‘New Day,’ Kanye told me that — the actual rap — last year at the Met Ball, in my ear at dinner”)

Jay-Z orders lunch for other people. (Also, Jay-Z maybe only does interviews at Torrisi?)

I’m at a little table in a homey Italian restaurant on Mulberry Street waiting for Mr. Shawn Carter, who has perfected the art of triangulation. It’s where he likes to eat his chicken parms … He likes to order for people. Apparently I look like the fish-sandwich type.

The whole piece is here.

When Jay-Z Bought Zadie Smith a Fish Sandwich