Fiercely candid, uncompromising, provocative, inspiring -- Decoded is the long awaited first book by the multi-platinum, 10 time Grammy Award winning artist, entrepreneur, and icon JAY-Z.
At the New York Public Library, JAY-Z will share his thoughts on growing up as a hustler and feeling judged simply because of where he was from. He will also address issues that informed him and his songwriting:
How did visual art and poetry influence his craft? How did he get involved in politics when he never really trusted the system? How did he stay honest to himself in the world of big business and how did he shed stereotypes when he'd been labeled one all his life?
Shawn (Jay-Z) Corey Carter
Shawn Corey Carter, better known by his stage name Jay-Z, is an American rapper and businessman. He is one of the most financially successful hip hop artists and entrepreneurs in America. He has sold approximately 50 million albums worldwide, while receiving ten Grammy Awards for his musical work, and numerous additional nominations.
Jay-Z co-owns The 40/40 Club, is part-owner of the NBA's New Jersey Nets and is also the creator of the clothing line Rocawear. He is the former CEO of Def Jam Recordings, one of the three founders of Roc-A-Fella Records, and the founder of Roc Nation. As an artist, he holds the record for most number one albums by a solo artist on the Billboard 200. Jay-Z also has had four number ones on the Billboard Hot 100, one as lead artist.
Paul Holdengräber is the Director of LIVE from the NYPL.
Cornel West is a philosopher, author, critic, and civil rights activist. His works include The Ethical Dimensions of Marxist Thought, Race Matters, and The African-American Century: How Black Americans Have Shaped Our Century.
World-renowned hip-hop artist Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter discusses the importance of understanding the context surrounding hip-hop lyrics. He highlights the pioneering rap group NWA, who have been written off as "gangster rappers," but become more understandable when viewed in the context of their times.
Hip-hop legend Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter discusses a common misconception about the meaning of the word "bitch" in his hit song "99 Problems." He explains the use of the lyric was intentional, and was included because "people hear certain words and just immediately hear white noise after that."
Jay-Z discusses his views on the future of the recording industry. He argues that the Internet has served as a much-needed "purging" for the record industry, but critiques the industry's lack of focus on artist development.