Epub ♦ Decoded ⚖ Renegades-bempflingen.de

When I finished this book, I knew that I wanted to review it, but I wasn t sure what I had just read I flipped through other goodreads reviews and some people called it a memoir it is Some called it a scrapbook it is Some called it a tabletop book it is I guess that s why I found it so hard to categorize, because it was all of these types of books contained in around 300 pages, but what is most important about this book that the covers these different mediums is that it works in each one, and it works as a collective.To be honest, before even reading this book, I think I was inclined to give it five stars I mean, it s Jay Z, Hov, Jigga man, Reasonable Doubt, Blueprintand on and on I remember when Hard Knock Life came out with the little orphan Annie chorus I was in high school I can recite every line from The Blueprint and Reasonable Doubt, along with individual songs from other albums I can even remembering hooking with Jay Z on the radio So yes, I was biased going in, but I m glad that Jay s book was as well put together as his music is.If I were to specifically recommend this book, it would be to two types of people Those who love Jay Z and those that hate hip hop because they believe it is misogynistic, violent, etc If you love Jay, then you ll love how he breaks down the lines of his songs You ll love the looks into his personal life, especially as a public figure that guards his private life as well as he does The book is a glimpse through hip hop history through the eyes of one of the greatest that ever picked up a mic This is Mozart talking about classical music, Jordan talking about basketball, Shakespeare talking about literature you may or may not believe that Jay Z belongs in that company, but in hip hop, he stands on that mountain top I ve always analyzed lyrics on my own so much of what he said was known to me However, the way he analyzed the sounds and the breakdown of rhythm such as Run and his percussion like rhymes really got to me I tend to listen to rap for the lyrics, so I ve always loved the Jay Z s Tupac s, Biggie s, and Outkast s while looking past the rappers who were lyrically challenged However, after reading this book, I have a new perspective in which to view hip hop, which is amazing because this is something that I ve loved and studied for so long.For the people who dislike hip hop, I think this is a book they would enjoy and a book that would clear some preconceived notions It will not, however, make someone like hip hop if they already don t Instead, the book will showcase the reasons why people love hip hop, and show that it isthan just thugs talking about shooting each other and having sex Whether or not you come away from this book liking hip hop will be relative to the individual, but after reading this book, you will have respect for the craft and for the man at its forefront H O V. This book really surprised me I m always curious about the lives of musicians and have always had an appreciation for a select roster of hip hop artists, but I genuinely found this book compelling and hard to put down.Jay Z doesn t come off as arrogant as I d have thought Instead, he seems very self aware and conscience of how unique his life is He also lets readers into a world that most probably know little about His explanations of drug dealing, rapping, and the music industry are given matter of factly without the glorification that you hear from others The sections dealing with the perception of rap and it s validity of an art form create a strong polemic and I found myself coming away with a different appreciation His ruminations on the history of rap were also enlightening.Finally, I loved the annotated lyrics Not only do they explain vocabulary that I have no understanding of, but they also show his thoughtfulness and his artistry with words While it s risky to over explain any writing, the payoff is worth it in this instance.I m excited to recommend this to others and see the surprise on their faces I m also excited for the told you so moment if they actually read it and come back to me. Epub ♜ 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 Hip Hop S Renaissance Man Drops A Classic Heartfelt, Passionate And Slick Kirkus, Starred Review I was riding with Jay, through the whole book, and I think the videos in this enhanced edition are invaluable and definitely add to the work To hear him explain his thought process on certain songs is a bonus to the literature Being a fan of Jay Z, I wasn t just interested in the decoding of his songs, I was decoding his words about the songs So when it gets near the end and Jay offers up his defense of the word n , everything in the preceding 300 odd pages becomes cloudy, or a hustle You can t reduce n to just a word, when you just spent an entire book talking about words and meanings of words You can t describe situations where you heard words and reacted based on what you were hearing, and then reduce arguably the most potent word in the English language to just a word Utterly ridiculous Because if n is just a word, then they are all just words, so none of it actually matters, why then try to decode anything, if the most muscular word has no meaning, then the little words have even less meaning And I ve heard all the arguments for the use of the word, the spelling, context, etc., even read the book For me it s about courage, if you are courageous enough to take the pain and history out of n , then why stop there Why not take on other words that are offensive and derogatory towards other ethnic groups Why Because we know the use of n is cheap, it doesn t cost one anything, it won t prevent your record from being released, it won t prevent you from being invited to the White House, it won t keep you from riches There is no cost to using that word Now, think of a degrading word directed at any other ethnic group and imagine the liberal use of it, could any artist have achieved the heights of Jay in such a scenario The answer is so obvious it s laughable I digress, back to the book I found it potentially inspirational and his defense of the culture of hip hop is definitely laudable For those who don t really listen to music and lyrics, this is a good book for you to understand all the nuances that can exist in a song And Jay is one of the best to ever do it in the rap genre, so to read about and see on the pages layers in lyrics and rhymes within rhymes, will help those gain a better or deeper understanding There were some surprises in the decoding of certain songs, some I heard and others I missed until I read the book Jay takes you through a chronological history of rap, delineating how the styles changed along with the times and even providing context for the alliance with hustling I think it is a worthy achievement and if not for the lame excuse and explanation of n , I may have gone higher on the rating, but that cop out is tremendous, and Jay is talented enough to offermeaning to his use of n , but alas as he tells us throughout he has a hustler s spirit And so that becomes just another part of his hustle As long as you get that, it s all good. This was a mostly enjoyable account of Jay Z s life and work, narrated by him and through dream hampton, which is why I m counting it for this month s female authors challenge The format of this book is really interactive, and it often readslike a picture book or liner notes than a formal memoir.This is another book for my Unpacking the Elevator course, and so a lot of the themes I found relate to our class conversations, which currently focus on the interiority Solange and Jay Z s art creates for oft pathologized black folk In Decoded, Jay Z shares some worthwhile thoughts about rap s narratives of the hustler, Che Guevara and Brooklyn revolutionaries, the importance of an inner sanctum to ward off artistic insanity, and his musical embrace of everyday people He sees his art as a way to explain the interior space of a young kid s head, his psychology, because to tell the story of the kid with the gun without telling the story of why he has it is to tell a kind of lie This conceptualization of hip hop, as a soul searching, healing artistic process is all thebelievable being explained by one of the genre s best I won t lie these themes were about as much of his decoding as I could stomach I skipped past most of the song lyric footnotes, which are easily a third of this book Explaining his lines with such detail was an impossible project on such a grand scale, and after a couple of song decodings, Jay Z s insights had the same magic ruining effect as explaining a joke I definitely think hip hop heads, music nerds, and bigger Jay Z fans than myself would still find a lot to appreciate in this book While the first hundred pages were nice, by the end, I personally felt like I d spent a bit too much time with somebody s long winded uncle. The Life and Times of Shawn CarterThrough the early chapters of Decoded, I was dogged by a sense of dissonance Apart from the lyrical transcripts, the voice of Jay Z, the persona, scarcely appeared It s an unmistakable voice, recognizable by its bravado, its misogyny, its unabashed prioritizing of the self Here, instead, I heard a narrative voice humming with graciousness, sharpening on occasion but tending toward softer,elegant rhythms and tones.Was this disembodiment the work of a ghost I presume that, for a man whose trade demands mastery of language, pride would not allow it I wondered,plausibly, if Jay Z had dissembled so as to please a literary crowd that s leery of the method and message of contemporary hip hop After all, in this very book, he contends that every emcee is part trickster and that art elevates and refines and transforms, but sometimes it just fucks with you for the fun of it As Decoded wound on, the steady stream of humble prose, despite being uncharacteristic, eventually compelled me to dispatch my suspicions It felt too honest to be artifice Confronted with the contradictory personalities of Jay Z and Shawn Carter, I realized I needn t embrace one and decry the other Both could be genuine The rapper persona is a paradoxical being a character that lets the artist dissociate into a fictional form, yet, in so doing, provides heightened means for genuine expression.This is not a book, however, that s primarily concerned with its creator or his alter ego the prevailing authorial desire in Decoded is outward oriented to advocate for hip hop as a legitimate art form He does this by analyzing bars and verses a sometimes tedious, sometimes illuminating undertaking He does it through an audacious but successful likening of braggadocio rap tracks to Shakespeare sonnets And he does it through deft navigation of the social and political aspects of the African American ghetto experience, thus providing a vivid context for the rise of hip hop In a particularly incisive passage, he writes, We came out of the generation of black people who finally got the point No one s going to help us So we went for self, for family, for block, for crew which sounds selfish it s one of the criticisms hustlers and rappers both get, that we re hypercapitalists concerned only with the bottom line and enriching ourselves But it s just a rational response to the reality we faced No one was going to help us These cultural observations, while mostly fascinating and artful, substitute for deeper probing into the author s life For instance, Carter discusses ghetto violence, but sanitizes his own experiences He examines Darwinian competition in rap culture, but avoids comments on his own battles with fellow rappers In this sense, the book does not satisfy the taste for autobiography that it activates.Still, focusing on what is included, Decoded is a refreshing book Thoughtfully constructed, it has emotional and intellectual heft Varied in form, with text lyrics footnotes graphics, it s an expedited read Because of its author s renown and the inclusivity of the subject matter, it also has broad appeal.Carter proposes that great characters compel the audience to feel connected to their motivations and actions, as if they own them The dissonance between Carter and Jay Z, the person and the persona, is striking but, for this reason, not absolute Both perceive and evoke their reality with acuity, allowing us to hear our voices in theirs. Jay Z s Decoded is part biography, part commentary on American events and issues from the 1980 s to the present, part poetry anthology, part history of rap and hip hop music, and part sociology textbook Don t be fooled into thinking it is going to be a quick, light read It was interesting to read this book after Keith Richards s Life Illegal drugs had a huge effect on the lives of both of these men Richards as a consumer, and Carter as a dealer Both men found inspiration and solace in American Black music, and are fans of music of all kinds It is wonderful to read books about and by people who are passionate about what they do It was also thought provoking to read Decoded in such close sequence to Richard Wright s Native Son These books both ask the same question If a marginalized group has a very limited set of choices in their means of survival, and most of the choices are bad, or even deemed illegal by the majority, can they be faulted for making one of these choices out of desperation I don t know the answer I am a fan of Jay Z s and was quite sure of his genius before even reading this book While I enjoyed reading the featured lyrics and their annotations, at times, I felt he was trying too hard to prove his intelligence That said, I did learn a lot For example, I didn t know that Lucifer, one of my favorites, was inspired by the death of Biggie s brother, Bobalob I also enjoyed the funky layout of this book, its different fonts and hip graphics Bonus fun fact for U2 fans Bono and Jay Z are co owners of the restaurant The Spotted Pig in NYC.12 2 11 update update I wonder how this book would have been different if he had written it after his daughter s birth. A friend lent Decoded me after I expressed a desire to get into hip hop This is not a whim on my part but a recognition of a gap in my otherwise wide musical listening Although I would say that my favourite music tends towards a fairly narrow swath of sound, and my tastes are decidedlypop than hard rock in later years, I appreciate a lot of different sounds, albeit perhaps not equally I rock out to classical music cranked loud with my windows down I dance around my kitchen to Florence the Machine or my classroom to well, pretty much anything My music collection is not devoid of hip hop either, but those songs are few and far between More importantly, though, I lack any clear idea of who I should try to listen to My typical musical discovery involves hearing a song that I like somewhere, figuring out who performs it, and then going through their catalogue to discover if I want all the things or just that track, then buying accordingly.This strategy hasn t worked for hip hop Part of it is that I don t often understand the lyrics when I hear a rap song I might like the beat or the flow, maybe there s a hook that stands out that I enjoy, and I can groove to it when it comes on Basically, when Jay Z says Which is the other reason hip hop is controversial People don t bother trying to get it The problem isn t in the rap or the rapper or the culture The problem is that so many people don t even know how to listen to the music.he s talking about me Except I am trying to get it, but very slowly and probably poorly because I have no idea what I m doing This book helped, a little, but in the end I suspect I amlike Kathleen Norris, whose reaction to reading proofs Jay Z quotes in his afterword of this edition She speaks as a poet who has been given a better understanding of something she knew was important but had no way of interpreting I m hobbled further by ageneral antipathy towards poetry sorry Norris , and so maybe that s why rap, which seems so muchpoetical than other genres of music, intimidates me.Because rap is poetry I pity people who dismiss it as anything less, and Decoded proves them wrong Consider how Jay Z breaks down Public Service Announcement and compares rap to sonnets But even when a rapper is just rapping about how dope he is, there s something a little bit deeper going on It s like a sonnet, believe it or not Sonnets have a set structure, but also a limited subject matter They are mostly about love Taking on such a familiar subject and writing about it in a set structure forced sonnet writers to find every nook and cranny in the subject and challenged them to invent new language for saying old things It s the same with braggadocio in rap When we take the most familiar subject in the history of rap why I m dope and frame it within the sixteen bar structure of a rap verse, synced to the specific rhythm and feel of the track,than anything it s a test of creativity and wit It s like a metaphor for itself if you can say how dope you are in a completely original, clever, powerful way, the rhyme itself becomes proof of the boast s truth And there are always deeper layers of meaning buried in the simplest verses I call rhymes like the first verse on Public Service Announcement Easter egg hunts, because if you listen to it once without paying attention, you ll brush past some lines that can offermeaning and resonance every time you listen to them.I love this paragraph so much It is an eloquent explanation of what rappers are doing when they front Moreover, it demonstrates the commitment required to create memorable and powerful verses Jay Z is not claiming that every rapper knows the structure of sonnets and is labouring to recreate them in rap Many rappers probably cannot explain how they rap as clearly and academically as Jay Z has here but they still know their stuff Indeed, they know it on an intuitive level that far surpasses someone like me with an English degree, because they live the flow A good MC can spit rhyme any time inspiration strikes, as Jay Z recounts the days he had to rush into a store to buy something so he could get a brown paper bag to write sudden lyrics on before he forgot them.Jay Z says he wants 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 I believe he makes that casethan adequately Structure and cleverness, as mentioned above, aside, some of these verses are just so deep and so beautiful that it s difficult to believe they might be juxtaposed next to a line about bitches coming on to him or the money his character has made from hustling They are, though, and time and again Jay Z returns to the idea that it isdifficult to separate these two things in hip hop than one might want to believe that is, clean rap is largely an illusion However, he isthan willing to mock both himself and his critics by serving up self satirizing songs like Ignorant Shit or the almost a deliberate provocation to simpleminded listeners of 99 Problems with its clickbait chorus line but ultimately unrelated subject matter The art of rap is deceptive It seems so straightforward and personal and real that people read it completely literally, as raw testimony or autobiography And sometimes the words we use, nigga, bitch, motherfucker, and the violence of the images overwhelms some listeners It s all white noise to them till they hear a bitch or a nigga and then they run off yelling See and feel vindicated in their narrow conception of what the music is about But that would be like listening to Maya Angelou and ignoring everything until you heard her drop a line about drinking or sleeping with someone s husband and then dismissing her as an alcoholic adulterer.I grok Jay Z s frustration I really do It s so weird that our society is fine with giving PG ratings to movies that show brutal violence, yet a little bit of nudity or sex suddenly makes it R rated Showcase a specialty channel here in Canada is fine with showing a rabbit getting its head ripped off in The Magicians or Eliot getting the shit kicked out of him in Mr Robot, but they make sure to bleep the F word I assume because they think if their viewers hear a single F bomb their brains will implode Yet I am also somewhat complicit in this I admit to qualifying my appreciation for rap with things like but not gangsta rap or I like rap, except the parts with misogynistic lyrics While my intentions here might have been good, it shows an ignorance regarding the nuance that Jay Z articulates about this genre To be frank, it s a little racist of me here I am, a privileged white dude, bursting onto the scene like the Kool Aid man and insisting I ll take the good rap but not the offensive stuff , as if I can pick and choose Obviously it s up to me what I listen to But Jay Z s stories and explanations are a stark reminder that I am so incredibly lucky with my lot in life Most of us come from communities where people are just supposed to stay in their corners quietly, live and die without disturbing the master narrative of American society Simply speaking our truths, which flew in the face of the American myth, made us rebels.It s worthwhile having a conversation about the meanings within rap lyrics, as it is with lyrics from any genre But such a conversation taken out of the context of those lyrics birth is littlethan tone policing I have the privilege of ignoring the pain and poverty that the predominantly Black communities face, the constant violence and aggressions that result in a vicious cycle of drug selling and buying Jay Z is very critical, rightly so, of the ways in which the American government launched a war on drugs even as it funded drug cartels in other countries.There is pain here, but there is also a buoyant sense of optimism and hope that hip hop is a way to improve the future lots of Jay Z s brothers and sisters Jay Z observes that in some cases the potential for rap to influence social change must be there, or else why would authorities go to such lengths to suppress it Rappers, as a class, are not engaged in anything criminal They re musicians Some rappers and friends of rappers commit crimes Some bus drivers commit crimes Some accountants commit crimes But there aren t task forces devoted to bus drivers or accountants Bus drivers don t have to work under the preemptive suspicion of law enforcement The difference is obvious, of course Rappers are young black men telling stories that the police, among others, don t want to hear Rappers tend to come from places where police are accustomed to treating everybody like a suspect.Opposition to rap on the basis of character, then, is another form of culturally inculcated anti Blackness While I suppose I was aware of this in some latent sense, it took these words to make me realize it consciously There s nothing wrong with finding rap music unappealing, for whatever reason but condemning it or the offensive words so often used in its lyrics in a wholesale fashion is another example of wilful silence in the face of the oppression that Black people and communities face Hip hop is the latest in a long line of musical genres used and often even piloted and popularized by Black musicians before being co opted and made safe by white musicians to express the angst, pain, and raw emotion of the oppression or, as it is put, the struggle Jay Z believes that hip hop s power is far from confined to Black experiences, though This is why the hustler s story through hip hop has connected with a global audience The deeper we get into those sidewalk cracks and into the mind of the young hustler trying to find his fortune there, the closer we get to the intimate human story, the story of struggle, which is what defines us all Emphasis his This statement, lavishly splayed in white text on a black page early in the book, resonates deeply with me despite zero experience with the hustling lifestyle I get it, because as a storyteller and reader and educator I get that need to connect on a human level with the stories we tell in all avenues of our lives.This book is part song explanation, part autobiography, and part rumination on the politics and pressures on African Americans Jay Z explains the meaning behind many of the lines in the selected songs, and he also comments on his choice of words and rhymes, as demonstrated above The songs are not ordered chronologically rather, they are grouped around loose themes that dip in and out of his history Part 1 heavily features his adolescence, growing up on the streets, and life as a hustler, to which he compares the life of a hip hop artist Part 2 isabout the business of hip hop and the pressure of being known Part 3 getspolitical and Part 4 is an attempt to capture the zeitgeist and issues around which hip hop crystallized Throughout this book, Jay Z openly discusses his time selling drugs, his relationship with other rappers, music that influenced and inspired him, and his attitude towards politics, particularly the election of President Obama I imagine fans already familiar with his work will relish the first hand explanations herein as well as the frankness of his reflection there isShawn Carter here than rapper Jay Z As someone who until this book only knew Jay Z second and third hand, Decoded is now a firm anchor going forward in my exploration of hip hop.Jay Z says that he s happiest knowing that Decoded s working as a gateway drug for kids to get into reading and into thinking about new ways to use their own voices and experiences I have long talked about books being my drug And I too like to use them as a way to help people express themselves I ve known other teachers to use hip hop in their classrooms I still need to get around to reading Emdin s Urban Science Education for the Hip Hop Generation even though I don t teach science , though I did pick up his latest, For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood and the Rest of Y all Too Largely I ve eschewed using hip hop because my lack of familiarity makes me worry that I ll use it in a inauthentic way Hence, my exploration of hip hop is not merely a desire for cooler tunes.In my latest iteration of an English class I worked hard to improve my unit on stereotypes, drawing on the unfortunate proliferation of police shootings of Black men in July of this year We discussed Black Lives Matter, and I did take the chance and include both Jay Zs Spiritual and Beyonc s Formation in this discussion Though my mastery of this content is incomplete, that just means my students and I are on a quest for knowledge together Sometimes it can be tough as a teacher to let go of needing to have all the answers, but the rewards are often worth such a risk Although Decoded came too late for this version of the unit, it will doubtlessly inform my planning next time around I ll need at least that much time to mull it over anyway. Jay Z and Dream Hampton put together something which is not quite memoir, not quite manifesto and not quite full blown lyrical analysis Instead they just sort of dip in and out of each of these things, usually for just a few pages at a time before shifting moods As someone who has beenor less conditioned to think of Black Pop Stars as eccentrics who live in their own insular, occasionally tragic little worlds Prince, George Clinton, Michael Jackson, Sun Ra, Sly Stone et al , I found his pragmatism and ice cold level headedness both refreshing, and daunting Yet no amount of business acumen or street smarts can disguise his giddy enthusiasm for both rapping and, breaking down said raps for the rest of us And what a delirious, crazy verbal ballet it all is Turns out, a bunch of poor kids from Brooklyn who wanted to make some easy cash are actually doingto functionally expand our idea of what our language can do, and what it can express, than many rooms worth of portentous linguists and writers Figures.Oh, and it s beautifully designed and laid out, so have some respect for yourself and your eyes and find a physical copy. Jay Z is my favorite rapper for a reason That reason is not just the words We used to use umbrellas to change the weather Now we travel first class to change the forecast It s not just that in Allure he alludes to All the Laurels in the world I feel your pain As Hov himself d say, he can spit over any beat But he knows the power of the music, of the words, of the memories and the self reliance and the heartache and the buying your nephew a car just to have him die in it When Jay mentions that that tiny horn sample from Curtis The Impressions Man oh Man I want to go backin Jeezy s Go Crazy telegraphs just as much about the struggle as the words in the song, you know I know exactly what it means And you know it too.The best part about this book to me is that it reconfirms to me that after listening to Jay Z for fifteen years, I do know what he s talking about I get the verbiage, I know the references I know Beware Of The Boys is telling me to be antagonistic to those who thought the war in Iraq was justified, not just because of the Bhangra music which Americans may hear and think Oh, this some Middle Eastern shit, and not know its Punjabi , but because Jay s there, guiding me through it.I knew Lucifer wasn t proof that Hov worships the Baphomet, but that Kanye is just really good at speeding up dub samples ever so slightly But I m glad he mentioned it, like, Hey just so you know, despite what 4 hour YouTube conspiracy videos claim, I am not actually an Illuminati Satanist I know that everyone gave him shit for that Coldplay collabo in which Hov actually sings a hook that says Life is but a beach chair I know we should probably refuse to acknowledge it But Jay tries to let us know it does mean something, explaining away the haters, without resorting to saying, I m so rich, only Gwyneth Paltrow s husband understands me Jruss asked me, after reading parts of the book, You think Jay Z loves David Foster Wallace Cuz, like, footnotes boo.My sister got this book for Xmas, even though we d both asked for it Does Hov ever rap about the Hollys of the world No, but he feels yr pain too.