decoded cover imageDecoded

People & Profiles
Spiegel & Grau, 2010
Hardcover - 336 pages

When one encounters the Andy Warhol Rorschach on the cover of this book, one is not disposed to think “Hip-Hop”! But, it turns out to be a first-hand account of Jay-Z’s artistry and the culture and community that so powerfully shaped him and his work. That experience informs his lyrics and the book brilliantly “decodes” them. Jay-Z attended to every detail of this beautiful book from the content to the presentation. Here it is in his own words: “When I first started working on this book, I told my editor that I wanted it to do three important things. The first was to make the case that hip-hop lyrics—not just my lyrics, but those of every great MC—are poetry if you look at them closely enough. The second was I wanted the book to tell a little bit of the story of my generation, to show the context for the choices we made at a violent and chaotic crossroads in recent history. And the third piece was that I wanted the book to show how hip-hop created a way to take a very specific and powerful experience and turn it into a story that everyone in the world could feel and relate to.”