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SIGN OF THE TIMES

Two months before the Recording Academy and its voters showered Jay-Z with a field-leading eight Grammy nominations, New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet personally conducted an extensive two-hour interview with the 47-year-old artist/entrepreneur. With seeming prescience, Baquet kept the filmed conversation under wraps until the nominations were announced on Tuesday, but he obviously had the elaborate Times rollout planned well in advance.

The interview, edited down to 35 minutes and accompanied by commentary from critic at large Wesley Morris and pop-culture reporter Reggie Ugwu, appeared in video and text form Wednesday; it will be the cover story in the 12/3 holiday edition of the paper's glossy T magazine.

While the Grammys obviously aren’t discussed, the appearance of this wide-ranging conversation in America’s most-respected newspaper not only underscores Jay-Z's cultural significance, it also further validates the Academy’s anointment of the trailblazing artist/entrepreneur as the embodiment of its embrace of diversity.

Read and watch here.

Portrait by Henry Taylor      

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