Decoded by Jay-Z

75%

10 Critic Reviews

...what emerges is anything but bland: while not as well written (indeed, it's a ghostwrite, with journalist Dream Hampton), it is a book as revealing in its way as Bob Dylan's Chronicles or even Charles Mingus's Beneath the Underdog.
-Guardian

Synopsis

Expanded 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.
 

About Jay-Z

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Author ResidenceNew York, NY



Author HometownNew York, NYJAY-Z (Shawn Carter) is one of the most successful hip-hop artists and entrepreneurs of all time.
 
Published December 7, 2010 by Spiegel & Grau. 336 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Arts & Photography, Humor & Entertainment, Business & Economics. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Feb 13 2011
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for Decoded
All: 10 | Positive: 8 | Negative: 2

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Michiko Kakutani on Nov 22 2010

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, in much the way that Stephen Sondheim does in his new book, “Finishing the Hat.”

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Caspar Llewellyn Smith on Dec 04 2010

...what emerges is anything but bland: while not as well written (indeed, it's a ghostwrite, with journalist Dream Hampton), it is a book as revealing in its way as Bob Dylan's Chronicles or even Charles Mingus's Beneath the Underdog.

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AV Club

Good
Reviewed by Leonard Pierce on Nov 18 2010

Decoded’s autobiographical sections read much more like they’re authentically in Jay-Z’s voice, and as a result, they’re the best part of the book. Like any celebrity biography, Decoded gets self-aggrandizing at times, but it’s written with a tone that suggests restless intelligence...

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LA Times

Good
Reviewed by Evelyn McDonnell on Dec 03 2010

..."Decoded" is an illustrated history lesson. It may not convince the haters, but it's an impressive leap by a man who has never been known for small steps.

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Entertainment Weekly

Good
Reviewed by Simon Vozick-Levinson on Nov 10 2010

After reading Decoded, you won?t doubt for a second that he deserves the same level of respect as any of those great scribes.

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The Telegraph

Good
Reviewed by Helen Brown on Dec 02 2010

Although some of the lyrical analysis in Decoded is written in a professorial jargon that reveals the hand of Jay-Z’s collaborator (the journalist and film-maker Dream Hampton) it does celebrate the complex wordplay for which he’s not always given full credit...Even with large areas of his life roped off, this book is still eye-opening.

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Review (Barnes & Noble)

Good
Reviewed by ADAM BRADLEY on Nov 12 2010

That is what makes Decoded such an unexpected and welcome gift. At over threehundred pages, it is a multimedia, multi-genre extravaganza: part memoir, partcoffee table book, part annotated compendium of lyrics, part polemic in thedefense of hip hop’s poesy.

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Salon

Above average
Reviewed by ADAM BRADLEY on Nov 21 2010

At times, these subject-driven sections leave one dissatisfied with the level of revelation and reflection, such as in his cursory treatment of race relations. Combined, though, they provide a penetrating glimpse into the mind of one of the greatest American artist-celebrities.

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B***h Media

Below average
Reviewed by Katie Presley on Dec 29 2010

It is a valuable piece of pop culture history AND an impressive work of art...But it has done very little to decode the machismo and misogyny which are seemingly inherent to so much of hip hop culture, when the platform to do so was presented so nicely.

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The Root

Good
Reviewed by REBECCA WALKER on Dec 13 2010

The gift of the book is that it isn't about Jay-Z as much as it about the Jay-Zs to come. Decoded isn't full of BS words of wisdom but, rather, hard-earned truths to share with the kids coming up -- including, no doubt, the ones Jay-Z himself looks forward to having.

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Reader Rating for Decoded
87%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 386 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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