Can Drake reinvent the Toronto Raptors à la Jay-Z?


The Toronto Raptors are gearing up for a makeover from none other than Drake, the city’s very own Jewish rap sensation.

We know, you’re probably wondering if it’s even possible to infuse cool into a losing team with a tougher, redder Barney for a mascot. But according to the Toronto Star, the execs behind it all are modeling the re-branding on another very successful rapper-basketball joint venture: Jay-Z and the Brooklyn Nets.

“Hip hop’s cool uncle took an (incredibly tiny) ownership position in exchange for polishing the shield,” the Toronto Star says of Jay-Z. “He didn’t have to do much. Switch from Yankees to Nets ball-caps. Show up to a few games. Whisper in the ears of a few guys who grew up on The Blueprint.  The result is an almost instant contender, the sort of marquee brand future hall of famers want to be associated with.”

Now it’s Drake’s turn. In addition to hosting the 2016 NBA All-Star game, the self-described “Raptors fan to the death,” will launch a team-based clothing line and consult on the redesign of the their image for the 20th anniversary of the franchise in the 2014-2015 season.

The hope is that Toronto will soon become a city NBA players are willing to go to. And that Drake does something with that dinosaur.

Ellen Grossman reviews new Jay-Z album


After befriending rapper Jay-Z on the R train to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, Ellen Grossman is now reviewing his latest album, “Magna Carta Holy Grail,” for MTV News.

Grossman, a Brooklyn born visual artist, was contacted by MTV News after a clip of her subway encounter with Jay-Z was featured in the documentary “Jay-Z’s Life and Times: Where I’m From.”

The unlikely reviewer analyzes a few of the rapper’s rhymes and metaphors, honing in on the trials and tribulations of his rise to fame.

“It sounds like he’s really going deep into his heart and into fatherhood and even the meaning of fame,” Grossman said. “[He’s saying] that the money’s nice, but there’s life beyond that, that he’s exploring. 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.

On one of the album’s 16 tracks, Jay-Z shows love to his Jewish fans — and his lawyers in particular – with the song “Somewhereinamerica.” The first line of the first verse reads, “Shout out to old Jews and old rules.”

This isn’t the only time Jay-Z has mused on Jews in his lyrics. ‘This Can’t Be Life,” from his fifth album, “Roc La Familia: The Dynasty,” has the lyric: “flow tight like I was born Jewish.” Jay-Z has used “Jewish” as an adjective to describe those that are smart or conservative with money.

In “What More Can I say?” from “The Black Album,” he refers to himself as, ”The Martha Stewart that’s far from Jewish,” due to his money savvy mind.

Can’t knock the hustle.

Jay-Z’s Brooklyn menorah


Jay-Z lit up the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn not only with his performance but a menorah. The rapper, a part owner of the arena and its main tenants, the NBA's Brooklyn Nets, put in a special request for his debut performance, wanting to light a candle for each of the eight nights he performed there (even with Chanukah nearly two months away).

Who provided the menorah?

That would be Brooklynite Amit Wehle, whose brother-in-law is the concert producer. Before the first show, Jay-Z stopped by Wehle’s apartment to thank him and offer two VIP tickets to his performance the next night. Also noteworthy at the new arena: two homecoming concerts by Barbra Streisand, a native of the borough's Flatbush section.