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Expanded paperback edition of the acclaimed New York Times bestseller features 16 pages of new material, including 3 new songs decoded.
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.
“As a collection of lyrics alone, “Decoded” is an essential contribution. It joins a growing body of works . . . that place the rap lyric in its proper context within the American popular songbook and the broader tradition of poetry through the ages. Throughout the book, he continually makes the case for understanding rappers as poets, complex artists capable of rendering the familiar unfamiliar, embodying paradox and tension in their lyrics, and making things beautiful – and ugly too – as artists at their best always do.”
— Adam Bradley, co-editor of The Anthology of Rap and contributor, Salon.com
“Compelling…. 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…. [P]rovocative, evocative….”–Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“One of a handful of books that just about any hip hop fan should own.” —The New Yorker
“[Decoded] is a classic American story. . . . But it's darker–more real–than the usual Horatio Alger myth. . . .[A]n 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