Jay-Z can add another accolade to his already crowded list of accomplishments: New York Times best-selling author.
Decoded, Jay-Z’s groundbreaking reflection on his rhymes, debuted at number three on the hardcover nonfiction list. Jay’s used to selling out stadiums, going multi-platinum, and having heads clamor over his music, so was there any wonder his first literary foray would be anything less than a success?
Since it’s release earlier this month, media outlets have been singing its praises. Entertainment Weekly called Decoded “Shawn Carter’s most honest airing of the experiences he drew on to create the mythic figure of Jay-Z.” And Oprah dubbed it one of her favorite things. With all of the media buzz, Jay-Z’s memoir has quickly becomes one of the most talked about book this season.
Recently, Dream Hampton, co-author and editor of Decoded, spoke with SOHH.com about the book and the genius of Jay-Z’s ability to flip words.
“I think people are going to be surprised at how careful Jay-Z is when they read the book and how much of a thinker he is and how much he thinks about what he does. When Jay told me in 2005 that the Black Book wouldn’t come out and that he wanted to do a book about lyrics, even back in 2005, he was thinking about what this book was going to be. Even when you’re in the studio with him looking like he’s talking to himself, I’ll try to talk to him and he’ll be like, ‘Yo, you’re f*cking up my lyrics,’ I didn’t know he was sitting over there writing a song in his head. And so I guess that’s what he’s been doing with this book.”
Jay-Z’s lyrical prowess stems from his childhood love of words. “Everywhere I went I’d write,” Jay-Z pens in Decoded. “If I was crossing a street with my friends and a rhyme came to me, I’d break out my binder, spread it on a mailbox or lamppost and write the rhyme before I crossed the street.”
Part memoir, part meditation on his lyrics, Decoded gives Jay-Z’s fans a glimpse into the mind of the man behind the iconic hits.