Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Jay-Z: Decoded (Busby's Review)
This year Jay-Z is not dropping an album. Is he retiring again? Well no not exactly, but this year Hov decides to be an author. Decoded is part memoir and part collection of Hov's favorite songs. Through out the book, Hov breaks down lyric by lyric of certain songs from his catalog and gives you the background on certain lines. Hov also gives you almost a social commentary on the culture of hip hop and how it shaped him into the person that he is.
Now the author of this book is Jay-Z, NOT Shawn Carter. So if you are expecting Hov to talk about his personal life (I.E. relationship with Beyonce, his family, friends, etc) this is not the book. Hov tells you mostly about his life on the streets and how he "hustled" his way from the Marcy projects to where he is now. Also don't expect a a lot of pictures of Hova either. The only picture you see of him is the pic behind the book cover. The book is instead filled with artwork and pictures of people and events that shape the hip hop culture for what it is today. The book is very neatly written and made, it almost plays in my mind like a documentary.
The songs Hov picked for the book kinda surprised me. Instead of picking a lot of his singles, he picks a lot of album cuts, freestyles, and unreleased tracks that you will not know about unless you actually research them. I found myself actually reading along and listening to the songs and pausing the track at the words that are highlighted. The words that are highlighted are the lines that Hov either breaks down the rhyme pattern, or gives you the back story on why he made the statement. It brings the tracks more life and also makes you appreciate the songs a lot more.
Hov put the Rorschach test on the cover for a reason. He wanted the reader to make up their own mind on how to view him as an artist or as a person. Jay-Z is a very private person when it comes to his personal life. When you read the book you can tell that he gives you a little peek into his mind, however, it's only his artistic and business side. You can tell he is very careful with his words and what he says about his life, he is a very calculated person, but in the end its up to you to decide.
"I'll tell you half the story, the rest y'all fill it in.."