Thursday, November 03, 2011

What I'm Currently Reading: Rerelease Version Of "Decoded".

The highly acclaimed New York Times bestselling book—DECODED—by multi-platinum, 13-time Grammy Award-winning artist, entrepreneur, and icon JAY-Z, was released on November 1 in a new, expanded paperback edition featuring a new Afterword and three new decoded songs.
What still excites me about rap is that it’s an open thread, a cipher that listeners find their own meanings in. The point of this book is not to settle arguments or transform rap songs into neat stories with a beginning, middle, and end. Rather, I’m trying to point readers to some ideas and information, get them to see deeper into the music than they saw before and learn more about worlds different from their own (or find new ways of looking at the worlds they already know)—to find their own meanings and connect them back to their own lives. I want readers to see the craft and learn the context—and I want them to still be able to feel the magic, and enjoy the show.
—JAY-Z, from the new Afterword

Last November DECODED hit the shelves and was an instant national New York Times Bestseller. This narrative journey through the lyrics and life of one of the most prolific artists of our time sparked an intense and ongoing conversation about art, hip hop, popular culture, and race in America. 

Now, the new paperback edition includes seven new illustrations and three new decodings—“I Know,” from the American Gangster album; “Young Gz,” his last collaboration with Biggie; and one of his most personal songs; and “Lost One,” which fans voted the song they most wanted decoded. Also featured is a new chapter in which JAY-Z reflects on the process of creating the book, what it means to decode a song, and the responses the book received. DECODED was widely praised by critics, but JAY-Z admits: “I was probably most moved by the tweets I read from kids who wrote things like, This is the first book I’ve ever read all the way through. For all the other accolades the book received, the thing that makes me happiest is knowing that it’s working as a gateway drug for kids to get into reading and into thinking about new ways to use their own experiences.”

DECODED tells the story of a culture, an art form, a moment in history. It is a story as unforgettable and as amazing as its subject. 


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