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Decoded [Hardcover]

4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 40.00
Price: CDN$ 25.08 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

Nov. 16 2010
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

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Product Description

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Amazon Best Books of the Month, November 2010: Like its multi-hyphenate author, Jay-Z, Decoded is many things at once. At its core, Decoded is an eloquent and candid memoir detailing the story of a man who was born in a Brooklyn housing project, spent his teen years dealing drugs on the streets of Trenton, New Jersey, and grew up to be one of his generation’s most successful artists and businessmen. But Decoded is much more than a memoir: it is an intensely personal homage to hip-hop, as written by a man who so clearly adores the art form; it is a rare glimpse of the unexpectedly deep meanings behind the most recognizable rap lyrics of the last decade; and it is a truly moving collection of essays on topics ranging from Hurricane Katrina to the decline of the music industry. Unconventional type design, line drawings, and photographs visually emphasize the author’s message that rap is a form that transcends and defies easy categorization. There’s not much in the way of celebrity gossip here, but what we get, instead, is a gritty and enormously compelling look inside the cultural phenomenon of rap, from one of the men who contributed so much to its shape. --Juliet Disparte


“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

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining Feb. 21 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Decoded takes you through the life of Jay-Z in a pretty entertaining way. He talks about a different theme in each chapter (politics, drugs, etc.) and has lyrics of some of his songs at the end of each chapter that relate to those themes. He also has notes on those lyrics telling you about his thought processes and references behind his words.

The only downfall of the book is that he doesn't go into enough detail about the rap game. I would've liked to have heard his thoughts about specific rappers (and other musicians), but he rarely mentions names and only talks superficially when names do come up. The vast bulk of the book chronicles his life in the drug game, so if you think that will entertain you (like it did me), then this book is for you.

He also does a great job of bringing the book to life through the design. Pages are colorful and filled with pictures, quotes and designs. Decoded does an amazing job here.

One last thing -- get his songs on your ipod and listen along when you go through the lyrics at the end of each chapter. The ability to interact brings the book to life even more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a good read, informative and fun Feb. 8 2011
By chanaha
This book's aesthetics really reminds me of Rem Koolhaas' S,M,L,XL. I'm still in the middle of it, but I think it's surprisingly well written and very entertaining. I'm a relatively recent fan of his, and I'm still appreciating it. At times I find that he toots his own horn a bit to much, but nothing too drastic. Every 5-10 pages or so there are cream colored pages with lyrics to his songs and he annotates them with footnotes. It's kinda like the director's commentary in a movie, if the movie's good, you're interested. And Jay-Z is good.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Perspective Jan. 8 2011
By phelps
The book is a mixture of jay-z's life intertwined with his rise to fame and a detailed explanation of how the entire culture of hip-hop grew into its current state. Overall a very insightful and intelligent look at the culture and also a biography of how one of the greatest musicians of our time transitioned from rags to riches.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Love him or hate him, Jay is fascinating man March 30 2011
By Raf95
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've never appreciated Jay's work very much or been to interested in hip hop in general, but this book really transcends that for me. Well written, detailed and even profound at times "Decoded" is an essential to any book collection. The lyric pages may not interest those who aren't familiar with specific songs, but they're really cool if you know the song(s).
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