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Decoded [Hardcover]

Jay Z
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
RRP: 20.00
Price: 17.92 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

18 Nov 2010

This is the intimate, first-person chronicle of the life and work of Jay-Z, born Shawn Carter in Brooklyn's notorious Marcy Projects, now known to many as the greatest rapper alive.

Told through lyrics, images and personal narrative, Decoded shares the story of Jay-Z's life through the 10 codes that define him, giving an unparalleled insight into his background, influences and the artistic process that shapes his work. Each chapter features a highly personal narrative section followed by a visually captivating selection of his most famous and provocative lyrics underlining the chapter's themes, along with Jay-Z's own 'decoding' of each lyric, uncovering the wordplay and stories behind the song.

This is a brilliant insight into the art and poetry of hip-hop, as well as the life of one of the genre's greatest artists.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Virgin Books (18 Nov 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753522691
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753522691
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 18.5 x 23 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 134,964 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"People don't just expect new records from Jay - they expect epochal events, game-changing statements" (Rolling Stone)

"Hip-hop's undisputed king" (The Times)

"The most successful rapper alive" (Guardian)

"The undisputed king of rap" (NME)

"Will Self dismissed rap as unmelodic, inarticulate ranting - until Jay-Z's eloquent memoir and an anthology of lyrics came along to change his mind" (The Times)

Book Description

'Hip-hop's undisputed king' shares his story, his lyrics and his inspiration

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inside Jay-Z And The Art Of Hip Hop 2 Dec 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It's hard to define just what this book by Jay-Z actually is; it's not autobiography, not picture book and not lyric sheet. But somehow it manages to be all these things. In an incredibly engaging and intriguing style, Jay-Z reveals anecdotes about his life, notes on some of his favourite lyrics and thoughts on many subjects usually involving rap, hustling and life on the streets. The content is accentuated throughout with pictures of himself and others that have inspired or interested him.

Decoded is a fairly short read, but a thoughtful one as well, which demands to be returned to. If you're interested in Jay-Z you'll find it essential; similarly, if you want to study the art of hip hop, you won't go far wrong, as it contains many insightful comments and advice. For casual readers, with little interest in the author or in rap music, it may not hold your attention as avidly. Me? I thought it was awesome.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jay-Z Decoded 6 Dec 2010
I've been a Jay-Z fan for a while now, I own most albums by Jay and would consider him one of my favourite artists in hip-hop, so when I stumbled across this book, a possible in sight in to a man that has always seemed very closed and some what a mystery, you don't hear anything about his celebrity marriage with beyonce, a very high profile couple that did not become a tabloid story, the next posh & becks, I respect this man, he seems real. In my eyes it was a must read, so much so it was the first book I ever pre-ordered.
To start, a very well presented book. Even of you don't get round to reading it, the appearance of this book is striking, the gold design on a white back ground is, to play it down, eye catching.
Threw out the book, at the end of most chapters, Jay decodes lyrics, which gives good insight in to the style and influences on the man. Particularly enjoyable on the songs you know, as you pick up on things that you may have miss heard or not put thought into. The only down side of this is that at times it can be hard to read.
One thing to note is that it's a quick read, just over 300 pages but with lots of full colour, full page pictures that aid the reader into understanding.
As with any musician writing a biog he mention though out the book his influences on him and his music, this I found really entertaining, so much so that I'm re reading and taking names, as a means to understand the man more.
BUT, I felt this book lacked. We get a glimpse of the man but I want a good look. There is no talk of him marriage, I respect his privacy, but this is a biography after all so where's the life story.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Legend. 5 July 2011
I have not yet had time to finish the book, and I hope I never do. After reading parts here and there, I know that this book is going to be something I have looked for for years. Jay-Z is unmatched. He has also had a heightened sense of the world and its workings. However, these past years, after he made his "comeback", his depth and perspective have become even more developed and giving.

This book is epic. He is covering unchartered territory, which I, as a complete rap fan, could not be more happy for. Yes, he's commercial and all that, but I get caught up in the actual meaning of his most important rhymes, and that is where this book is amazing. Especially since I am a middle class, white girl, from Norway.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Jay Z decoded 15 May 2014
By Bubbles
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Totally rubbish never been so bored in my life this book was just pointless waste of money, waste of post and packaging. And most of all waste of my time I read most of it but gave up half way through cause I was bored.
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5.0 out of 5 stars great read 13 Mar 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
if your a jay-z fan then this is a great read. The product was delivered in great condition. highly recommended
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great 5 Jan 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Great book about Jay-Z and what he's been through. It's also great to decode his songs. Well worth it. Awesome book
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5.0 out of 5 stars Jay Z-Decoded 10 Jan 2012
i am a big fan of jay z but never thought anything of his books and right away when i got a kindle i thought i would look into sampling this one. i was glued to it. it so interesting and hooks you right in with all the details of shaun carters amazing life and how he started with nothing. this is a realy good buy and i would recomend it to anyone. an amazing and facinating book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Decodedly Interesting 13 Nov 2011
This book took me to a place I didn't even know existed. It was a birthday present from my sister who knows I'm a Jay Z fan. Not in the screaming, die-hard, I hate Beyonce cos she's got my man way. When I first bumped into his music, I thought his gift was interesting. About 12 years ago, I realised that he was peotic. I'd listened to rap for a long time before Jay Z but he was the one who made me realise that these cats really have a way with words; they're telling a story which weaves in and out with a beginning, middle and an end and there was real darkness and humour in the way they put their words together. If it wasn't for my love of the English language and my fascination with words and their meaning, I probably would have never given Jay Z a second thought, but somehow the way he composed his lyrics made me sit up and listen.

So... the book. I thought it was going to be a light biography for some reason. Instead, it was another reason for me to sit up and listen. This man is extra-ordinary in many different ways. In parts of the book I clearly understood him, I also admired him and I think he's a total one-off and in others, especially some of the lyrics; he came across like some kind of mad-cryptic-scientist... in a good way. I mean, he's incredily deep with a humourous flip-side.

The book is interesting, insightful and intriguing and I dread the day I reach my final page which is quite likely going to be within the next 24 hours!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Was well recieved.
Brought this as a gift for my other half, who is a Hiphop/Rap fan. He was delighted to recieve it, as he'd tried and failed to get hold of a decently priced copy. Read more
Published on 11 Nov 2011 by Ladybigz
3.0 out of 5 stars v good but...
U don't learn much about jay z. Great if u interested in lyrics and writing as he breaks down a lot of his work. Recommend to rap fans only, casual jay z fans maybe dissatisfied.
Published on 28 Jun 2011 by Moff itch
4.0 out of 5 stars Great idea for a gift
Bought this as a birthday present for my friend. He loves hip hop, but finds books are too much hard work. Read more
Published on 6 Jun 2011 by Hammad
4.0 out of 5 stars Jay-Z by Jay-Z
In this book we follow the author as he talks about his life growing up, the musical influences he had and the effect of having a troubled past. Read more
Published on 13 April 2011 by gamblor
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent gift
Bought as a gift for someone who loves hip hop and R & B and they loved it. Good gift
Published on 17 Jan 2011 by Ms. C. J. Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
My husband in reading and loving this. He has told me about some of Jay Z's experiences with his father and learning from him. I am glad I bought it.
Published on 16 Jan 2011 by aspirant
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for Jay-Z, hip-hop lovers! 5 STAR
Simply its great. Gives you an insight to his lyrics, his thoughts, what it was like growing up. For people who are big into hip hop and know a lot about its past would really... Read more
Published on 9 Jan 2011 by Joe Balfe
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