- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Spiegel & Grau (Nov. 16 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1400068924
- ISBN-13: 978-1400068920
- Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 2.8 x 23.9 cm
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 Kg
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #83,368 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Decoded Hardcover – Nov 16 2010
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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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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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