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Even if you have not even heard of Him, his story is worth getting to know. After listening to an interview on NPR, my interest was piqued and gave Decoded a try. I've never read an autobiography quite like this and was thrilled with the window Jay-Z gives to the reader into not just himself, but his music and his generation.

Not to sound melodramatic, but Decoded changed me Anonymous More than 1 year ago First, I have to say, you don't have to be a serious fan of Jay-Z to enjoy this book. Really, you have to be a student of business and the interesting people who build empires.

Mystery auf HISTORY

If you listen to Jay-Z's music, then you realize it exposes you to very little of Shawn Carter. This book opens that door and shows us how a child of Brooklyn's Marcy projects transforms himself from aspiring rapper to drug hustler to global superstar to corporate mogul. He is the self-made man of American myth, remixed with a bass-heavy beat. Under the guise of his invented name, Jay-Z has become less person than persona. As he once rapped with characteristic concision: "I'm not a businessman, I'm a business, man. That is what makes Decoded such an unexpected and welcome gift.

At over three hundred pages, it is a multimedia, multi-genre extravaganza: part memoir, part coffee table book, part annotated compendium of lyrics, part polemic in the defense of hip hop's poesy. Jay-Z with the aid of the respected hip-hop journalist dream hampton intersperses personal anecdotes, rhetorical broadsides, and deep reflections with rich images and typography. What the book isn't -- and what many hip-hop fans have long anticipated -- is a tell-all memoir.

Though rich in anecdotes, the narrative is organized thematically rather than chronologically, underscoring the continuities across Jay-Z's career. The themes range from poverty to fame, from sports to politics. At times, these subject-driven sections leave one dissatisfied with the level of revelation and reflection, such as in his cursory treatment of race relations.

Combined, though, they provide a penetrating glimpse into the mind of one of the greatest American artist-celebrities. This book is definitely one of the top business books of the year, and I rank it right up there with Emotional Intelligence 2. Apart from the lyrical transcripts, the voice of Jay-Z, the persona, scarcely appeared. It's an unmistakable voice, recognizable by its bravado, its misogyny, its unabashed prioritizing of the self. Here, instead, I heard a narrative voice humming with graciousness, sharpening on occasion but tending toward softer, more elegant rhythms and tones.

Was this disembodiment the work of a ghost? I presume that, for a man whose trade demands mastery of language, pride would not allow it.

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I wondered, more plausibly, if Jay-Z had dissembled so as to please a literary crowd that's leery of the method and message of contemporary hip-hop. It felt too honest to be artifice. Confronted with the contradictory personalities of Jay-Z and Shawn Carter, I realized I needn't embrace one and decry the other.

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Both could be genuine. The rapper persona is a paradoxical being - a character that lets the artist dissociate into a fictional form, yet, in so doing, provides heightened means for genuine expression.

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This is not a book, however, that's primarily concerned with its creator or his alter ego; the prevailing authorial desire in "Decoded" is outward-oriented: to advocate for hip-hop as a legitimate art form. He does this by analyzing bars and verses - a sometimes tedious, sometimes illuminating undertaking.

He does it through an audacious-but-successful likening of braggadocio rap tracks to Shakespeare sonnets. And he does it through deft navigation of the social and political aspects of the African-American ghetto experience, thus providing a vivid context for the rise of hip-hop. In a particularly incisive passage, he writes, "We came out of the generation of black people who finally got the point: No one's going to help us.

So we went for self, for family, for block, for crew - which sounds selfish; it's one of the criticisms hustlers and rappers both get, that we're hypercapitalists concerned only with the bottom line and enriching ourselves. But it's just a rational response to the reality we faced. For instance, Carter discusses ghetto violence, but sanitizes his own experiences. He examines Darwinian competition in rap culture, but avoids comments on his own battles with fellow rappers. In this sense, the book does not satisfy the taste for autobiography that it activates.

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Still, focusing on what is included, "Decoded" is a refreshing book. Thoughtfully constructed, it has emotional and intellectual heft. Because of its author's renown and the inclusivity of the subject matter, it also has broad appeal. Carter proposes that great characters compel the audience to feel connected to their motivations and actions, as if they own them.

The dissonance between Carter and Jay-Z, the person and the persona, is striking but, for this reason, not absolute. Both perceive and evoke their reality with acuity, allowing us to hear our voices in theirs. Anonymous More than 1 year ago Being a Jay Z fan this is a good book to read. Breaks down the lyics in depth. Art work is also provided.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago This is a book i would recomend by any body who likes jay z its a good buy. Brando97 More than 1 year ago This book is great! It goes into such great detail about living in the ghettos of New York. It has so many emotions and feelings that are being expressed!

Good book! Great job Jay-Z!

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JeBr on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago I really enjoyed reading Decoded by Jay-Z, I knew this book would be good because you have to be a good writer to be a good lyricist but even I was surprised of how great it really was. I really enjoyed getting deeper into some of Jay's lyrics and loved some of the stories he told. In this story Jay-Z explains how he got to where he is now through the ruff times and the fun times.

Jay-Z ,as you learn in the text, isn't all about raping and money he is just like you and me learning the hard struggles of life. He explains how he has almost been arrested and things like that but he also doesn't sugar code everything he tells it as it is. I would recommend this book to some one who is interested in other peoples lives and needs to see the world from another persons point of view. Anonymous More than 1 year ago.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago Actually really got into this book even though it was initially assigned for a class. I'd recommend reading it either way, great detail into Jay-Z's upstart and philosophies as well as the highlites and possitives of hip-hop and rap as a whole. Anonymous More than 1 year ago He walks out, crying. Anonymous More than 1 year ago Hmmm. Anonymous More than 1 year ago Smiles. Landeeezzy More than 1 year ago Decoded is a great first person view of hip hop music itself.

Jay-Z portrays the struggle as something everyone can relate to. I especially became accustomed to Jay-Z's simple writing style and the contrast from his music and his book. The only drawback from this is sometime in some stories Jay makes some leaps that are hard for the reader to make connections, but the gaps aren't too prevalent, so it doesn't affect the overall piece. Overall a very good novel, and an easy read over vacation. It should not be made into a movie though, it would be too long or too hard to follow.

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  7. As a young boy Jay-Z became apart of Brooklynns gang life; dealing drugs and facing other gangs while writing down his own ryhmes and lyrics that were extremely valuable to him. I really enjoyed this book because Jay-Z is one of my favorite artists and understanding what the lyrics mean gives it greater story to tell in his music. The books writing style changes a lot in the book but that is mostly to keep it sounding like Jay-Z and his voice.

    This book is perfect for music lovers and people looking for a great story about making it big by doing what he loved so much. Anonymous More than 1 year ago Amazing. Related Searches. View Product. Beyond Recall. But for one member of the clan, the day turns dark. Chris Napier, prodigal son, suddenly spots the ragged specter of In the tradition of the 1 best-seller SeinLanguage, Bantam Books proudly presents the first book Ruth Reichl is a born storyteller.

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