Featuring an image of Andy Warhol’s Rorschach on the cover, the beautifully designed, fully-illustrated book decodes 36 songs from JAY-Z’s extensive catalog. By telling the stories behind some of Jay-Z’s most famous and provocative lyrics, Decoded offers an intimate, first-hand account of an artist, his work, and the culture that so powerfully shaped him.
When I first started working on this book, I told my editor that I wanted it to do three important things. The first was to make the case that hip-hop lyrics—not just my lyrics, but those of every great MC—are poetry if you look at them closely enough. The second was I wanted the book to tell a little bit of the story of my generation, to show the context for the choices we made at a violent and chaotic crossroads in recent history. And the third piece was that I wanted the book to show how hip-hop created a way to take a very specific and powerful experience and turn it into a story that everyone in the world could feel and relate to.
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