Customer Reviews for

Decoded

Average Rating 4
( 458 )
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(216)

4 Star

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(67)

2 Star

(39)

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(40)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

24 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

A New look on Jay-Z' life

I Pre-ordered it in September, Just got it last night. It is very interesting the way it's set up, a hybrid between memoirs and an autobiography it definatley was original in not only design but as an entirety. This book might mean more to somone like myself who has bee...
I Pre-ordered it in September, Just got it last night. It is very interesting the way it's set up, a hybrid between memoirs and an autobiography it definatley was original in not only design but as an entirety. This book might mean more to somone like myself who has been a fan since a kid of Jay-Z. Since Elementary school, through junior high and senior high school ive always bought his albums, and downloaded his music. I never thought he would come out with a book but now that he has i think my respect grew a little more. I believe you dont have to be from Brooklyn to get inspired by Jay-z' story and success, for me a kid who grew up outside of Philly and Baltimore his advice can help out a lot of teens anywhere. Even if you have not even heard of Him, his story is worth getting to know.

posted by Paramedic92 on November 17, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

10 out of 44 people found this review helpful.

More expensive than hardcover?

im having a hard time understanding how a hardcover book costs more than digital. random house needs to stop trying to fleece loyal customers.

posted by appeal2u on November 16, 2010

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 473 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 24
  • Posted November 17, 2010

    A New look on Jay-Z' life

    I Pre-ordered it in September, Just got it last night. It is very interesting the way it's set up, a hybrid between memoirs and an autobiography it definatley was original in not only design but as an entirety. This book might mean more to somone like myself who has been a fan since a kid of Jay-Z. Since Elementary school, through junior high and senior high school ive always bought his albums, and downloaded his music. I never thought he would come out with a book but now that he has i think my respect grew a little more. I believe you dont have to be from Brooklyn to get inspired by Jay-z' story and success, for me a kid who grew up outside of Philly and Baltimore his advice can help out a lot of teens anywhere. Even if you have not even heard of Him, his story is worth getting to know.

    24 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 19, 2011

    An amazing look inside a different world

    I'm not huge fan of rap and I really didn't know much about Jay-Z. After listening to an interview on NPR, my interest was piqued and gave Decoded a try. I've never read an autobiography quite like this and was thrilled with the window Jay-Z gives to the reader into not just himself, but his music and his generation. Not to sound melodramatic, but Decoded changed me...like any kind of education. I'm probably not going to go out and buy a bunch of rap/hip-hop albums, but I have a better understanding of the force behind this music.

    11 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Insight into a fascinating individual

    First, I have to say, you don't have to be a serious fan of Jay-Z to enjoy this book. Really, you have to be a student of business and the interesting people who build empires. If you listen to Jay-Z's music, then you realize it exposes you to very little of Shawn Carter. This book opens that door and shows us how a child of Brooklyn's Marcy projects transforms himself from aspiring rapper to drug hustler to global superstar to corporate mogul. He is the self-made man of American myth, remixed with a bass-heavy beat.

    Under the guise of his invented name, Jay-Z has become less person than persona. As he once rapped with characteristic concision: "I'm not a businessman, I'm a business, man." Though he's released a staggering eleven albums in fourteen years, the man behind the business still remains a mystery -- often seen, but rarely heard.

    That is what makes Decoded such an unexpected and welcome gift. At over three hundred pages, it is a multimedia, multi-genre extravaganza: part memoir, part coffee table book, part annotated compendium of lyrics, part polemic in the defense of hip hop's poesy. Jay-Z (with the aid of the respected hip-hop journalist dream hampton) intersperses personal anecdotes, rhetorical broadsides, and deep reflections with rich images and typography. From Andy Warhol's striking "Rorschach" on the book's front cover to the interior art, which ranges from Michelangelo's "Pietà" to a vintage Little Orphan Annie button, the book is a visual feast.

    What the book isn't -- and what many hip-hop fans have long anticipated -- is a tell-all memoir. Though rich in anecdotes, the narrative is organized thematically rather than chronologically, underscoring the continuities across Jay-Z's career. The themes range from poverty to fame, from sports to politics. 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.

    This book is definitely one of the top business books of the year, and I rank it right up there with Emotional Intelligence 2.0

    10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 16, 2010

    More expensive than hardcover?

    im having a hard time understanding how a hardcover book costs more than digital. random house needs to stop trying to fleece loyal customers.

    10 out of 44 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 4, 2011

    The Life and Times of Shawn Carter

    Through 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, more 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, more 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 fu*** 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." 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.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2010

    expensive

    This book is $10 for the Kindle.

    EDIT: 12/4 - Now this ebook is $10. Before it was upwards of $20. Thanks for changing the price, B and N!

    2 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2012

    If you are a fan.

    Being a Jay Z fan this is a good book to read. Breaks down the lyics in depth. Art work is also provided.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2011

    Decoded

    This is a book i would recomend by any body who likes jay z its a good buy

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 10, 2011

    Highly Recommended- One of my favorites!

    This book is great! It goes into such great detail about living in the ghettos of New York. It has so many emotions and feelings that are being expressed! Good book! Great job Jay-Z!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2011

    so+far+so+good

    im+a+13+yr+old+n+i+love+this+book

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 4, 2011

    books way overpriced

    who would pay 28 for this book!!!!

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 3, 2010

    it's $9.99

    ..

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2013

    Please lend

    Please i would LOVE A LEND

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2013

    jraubenolt@yahoo.com

    Friend me

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 15, 2013

    Decoded is a great first person view of hip hop music itself. Ja

    Decoded is a great first person view of hip hop music itself. Jay-Z portrays the struggle as something
    everyone can relate to. Even though rap music as a whole is very provocative, the message is not, and 
    is simple enough to be applicable to everyday life. Easily a top recommendation because of a more in
    depth look of HIp-Hop and the artist himself. I especially became accustomed to Jay-Z's simple writing
    style and the contrast from his music and his book. The only drawback from this is sometime in some
    stories Jay makes some leaps that are hard for the reader to make connections, but the gaps aren't too
    prevalent, so it doesn't affect the overall piece. Overall a very good novel, and an easy read over vacation. It should not be made into a movie though, it would be too long or too hard to follow.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2013

    Jay boy

    Lala hehehe good bye

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 19, 2013

    Decoded is an autobiography of the rapper Jay-Z and the challeng

    Decoded is an autobiography of the rapper Jay-Z and the challenges he faced growing up in Brooklynn. As a young boy Jay-Z became apart of Brooklynns gang life; dealing drugs and facing other gangs while writing down his own ryhmes and lyrics that were extremely valuable to him. I really enjoyed this book because Jay-Z is one of my favorite artists and understanding what the lyrics mean gives it greater story to tell in his music. The books writing style changes a lot in the book but that is mostly to keep it sounding like Jay-Z and his voice. This book is perfect for music lovers and people looking for a great story about making it big by doing what he loved so much.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2013

    Outsyanding

    Amazing

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2012

    Worth a read

    I am a fan of hip hop and jay-z, this book gave me a whole new perspective into things i have missed in the music.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2012

    Amazing

    Great reading and a great gift

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 473 Customer Reviews
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