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Decoded Hardcover – 18 Nov 2010
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"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)
'Hip-hop's undisputed king' shares his story, his lyrics and his inspirationSee all Product description
Top customer reviews
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.
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.
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!
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. He recent opened up in an interview about how he once shot his brother, when I heard this I thought this might be some side marketing for the book but there was no mention of this in the book.
DONT GET ME WRONG, if you like jay you will like this book, maybe love it, but I want more. Maybe my mistake is I read a biography of Jay-Z and expected biography Shawn Carter.
There is also a focus on the business side of the music business. From starting his own label, to releasing his own music and finding new talent. Here we learn that he had to cover many fronts at a time to keep everything in check. As the man himself put it: "I'm not a businessman, I'm a business, man"
All this is accompanied by Jay-Z's lyrics and his explantation for them. If you ever wondered what a certain rhyme of wordplay meant, this book is for you. The book contains many beautiful photo's and anecdotes about his past and the people he collaborated with.
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