Jay-Z Previews ‘Decoded’ in New York Newspaper
From Miami swimming pools to Gucci jackets, Jay-Z has stayed creative with the Bing puzzles of his debut novel 'Decoded.' The literary MC seems to be getting used to being an author. He chose the New York Daily News to premiere his newest piece of 'Decoded' and received a rare byline in the well-read newspaper.
Billed under Shawn Carter rather than Jay-Z, the selection at hand finds him discussing his father's role in building the "observational skills" required to be a great MC. He then takes a wider view and shows how those very same skills have transformed American ghetto expression by giving the underrepresented a strong voice.
"For my pops it was just as important to take in places as people," Jay writes about the figure he has often targeted for being absent throughout the bulk of his life. "He wanted me to know my own neighborhood inside out. When we'd go to visit my aunt and uncle and cousins my father would give me the responsibility of leading, even though I was the youngest."
Jay claims that that the ability to watch and study small details and then accurately report what's around have been integral to hip-hop since the genre evolved from its early party-centric days. He praises the work of Public Enemy, Ice Cube, Melle Mel, KRS-One and more for carving the path to his unique point of view as a reporter of the streets.
"The hip-hop generation never gets credit for it, but those songs changed things in the hood," he continues. "They were political commentary, but they weren't based on theory or books. They were based on reality, on close observation of the world we grew up in. The songs weren't moralistic, but they created a stigma around certain kinds of behavior, just by describing them truthfully and with clarity."
'Decoded' is on bookshelves tomorrow (Nov. 16).