In 2010 I read a book that inspired me to make a life changing decision. Decoded was published by the best rapper alive in early November of 2010. I read Decoded like Martin Lawerence ate the ‘white only pie’ in Life. I inhaled the words on each and every page. I was thrilled to receive content from my favorite content creator in a different form. This is still a bible for the hiphop generation shedding light on the artistic impact this genre has deposited around the world. I wanted to share this review in honor of the five year anniversary of the book that inspired me to move to London and follow my dreams.

Read a book!

‘Decoded’ is a collection of culture. Not only can you find lyrics from one of the greatest rapper and poets of our time but you also unearth Shawn Carter’s (Jay Z) personal thoughts about social issues, influential people he has encountered around the world, and why he continues to carry himself in the same way he always has. A reader can anticipate visual art and lyric poetry littered throughout the pages of ‘Decoded.’ The discussion ranges in topic from his similarities to Annie, the redheaded orphan girl, to his endorsement of President Obama in the 2008 United States presidential election. ‘Decoded‘ has something for everybody.


“I wanted it (‘Decoded’) to do three important things. The first thing as to make the case that hip-hop lyrics-not just my lyrics, but those of every great MC-are poetry if you look at them closely enough. The second was I wanted the book to tell a little bit of the story of my generation, to show the context for the choices we made at a violent and chaotic crossroads in recent history. And the third piece was that I wanted the book to show how hip-hop created a way to take a very specific and powerful experience and turn it into a story that everyone in the world could feel and relate to.” Jay-Z ‘Decoded’

‘Decoded’ keeps it really real. Copious social issues are addressed within this book which will undoubtedly help expand the perspective of all readers regardless if you are a fan of hip-hop music. This book is not about rap, its about overcoming whatever obstacle you find in your path and exploiting that obstacle to better yourself, your family, and your community.

Leave a Comment