Novelist Zadie Smith accepted the challenge of profiling the self-proclaimed “greatest rapper alive” and the resulting piece is one that embodies hip-hop’s current struggle. No longer in its infancy, the genre still confront questions of legitimacy as a positive cultural force, much like the man himself. Via The New York Times:

He is mildly disappointed that after publishing “Decoded,” his 2010 memoir, people still ask the same old questions. The flippancy annoys him, the ease with which some still dismiss rap as “something that’s just this bad language, or guys who degrade women, and they don’t realize the poetry and the art.” This is perhaps one downside to having the “flow of the century.”

At this point in his career, Jay-Z can do just about anything he wants. Well, almost anything. He can collaborate with everyone from Linkin Park to Pearl Jam, but one thing that still feels awkward? Ordering food for a female. When Smith sat down with the rapper, Jay got a little presumptuous and ordered her a fish sandwich. The question remains, is it chivalry or sexism? Via NY Mag:

I guess the real crime is that it reeks of awkward, amateur formality, especially considering what’s on the menu. I’ll have the chicken parm, and the lady will have a fish sandwich. Great. Now I can picture Jay at a pre-prom dinner.

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