Monday, November 29, 2010


Virgin - RRP: $42.99

Hip-hop’s undisputed king’ shares his story, his lyrics and his inspiration.

This is the intimate, first-person chronicle of the life and work of Jay-Z, born Shawn Carter in Brooklyn’s notorious Marcy Projects, now known to many as the greatest rapper alive.  And of course he has been in New Zealand this past week, (with his wife Beyonce), as a support act with U-2.
His resume is remarkable. It includes passing Elvis Presley’s record with 11 No. 1 album, grabbing ten Grammy’s and to date, selling close to 50 million albums.

Told through lyrics, images and personal narrative, Decoded shares the story of Jay-Z’s life through the 10 codes that define him, giving an unparalleled insight into his background, influences and the artistic process that shapes his work. Each chapter features a highly personal narrative section followed by a visually captivating selection of his most famous and provocative lyrics underlining the chapter’s themes, along with Jay-Z’s own ‘decoding’ of each lyric, uncovering the wordplay and stories behind the song.

This is a brilliant insight into the art and poetry of hip-hop, as well as the life of one of the genre’s greatest artists.
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.” – JAY-Z

The cover for Decoded, features Andy Warhol’s Rorschach. This beautifully designed, fully-illustrated book decodes 36 songs from JAY-Z’s extensive catalogue to offer an intimate, first-hand account of one of the most prolific artists of our time.

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