(Spiegel & Grau, Hardcover, 9781400068920, 336pp.)
Publication Date: November 16, 2010
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Decoded is a book like no other: a collection of lyrics and their meanings that together tell the story of a culture, an art form, a moment in history, and one of the most provocative and successful artists of our time.
“Hip-hop’s renaissance man drops a classic. . . . Heartfelt, passionate and slick.”— Kirkus, starred review
Jay-Z is one of the most successful hip-hop artists of all time. On Fresh Air, he discusses growing up in Brooklyn surrounded by drugs and violence, and the stories behind many of his famous songs. More at NPR.org
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“Compelling . . . provocative, evocative . . . Part autobiography, part lavishly illustrated commentary on the author’s own work, Decoded gives the reader a harrowing portrait of the rough worlds Jay-Z navigated in his youth, while at the same time deconstructing his lyrics.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“One of a handful of books that just about any hip hop fan should own.”—The New Yorker
“Elegantly designed, incisively written . . . an impressive leap by a man who has never been known for small steps.”—Los Angeles Times
“A riveting exploration of Jay-Z’s journey . . . So thoroughly engrossing, it reads like a good piece of cultural journalism.”—The Boston Globe
“Shawn Carter’s most honest airing of the experiences he drew on to create the mythic figure of Jay-Z . . . The scenes he recounts along the way are fascinating.”—Entertainment Weekly