News: Jay-Z's "Decoded" Takes Over NY Times Best Sellers List

Monday, Nov 29, 2010 9:34AM

Written by Biz Jones

Hip-Hop mogul Jay-Z's new book, Decoded, has officially broke ground on the New York Times Best Sellers list by debuting within the Top 5.

Details of Jay's literary achievement hit the Internet over the weekend.

Jay-Z is no stranger to sitting high on the charts when it comes to his music career, which makes the Brooklyn rapper's No. 3 debut on 'The New York Times' Best Sellers list an expected achievement. The Roc Nation head honcho's memoir 'Decoded' landed on the Hardcover Nonfiction edition of the newspaper's Best Sellers list for the week of December 5. Coming in at the top of the list are George W. Bush's 'Decision Points' and Lauren Hillenbrand's 'Unbroken.' (The Boom Box)

Aside from its placement, Decoded has been highly praised by numerous publications.

The book, which provides insight into Jay-Z's lyrics and life, has seen brisk sales since its release earlier this month. It was included on Oprah's coveted "Favorite Things" show and is currently in the top 10 sellers on Amazon.com. Entertainment Weekly gave Decoded an A-, calling it "Shawn Carter's most honest airing of the experiences he drew on to create the mythic figure of Jay-Z," while The New York Times says "Decoded gives the reader a harrowing portrait of the rough worlds Jay-Z navigated in his youth, while at the same time deconstructing his lyrics." (Rap-Up)

Recently, Decoded contributor dream hampton hit up SOHH to speak on the book's overall vibe.

"I think people are going to be surprised at how careful Jay-Z is when they read the book and how much of a thinker he is and how much he thinks about what he does. Obviously in hip-hop we his fans know he doesn't write anything down, but we shouldn't mistake that for thinking he's not a careful emcee [or] that his music isn't layered. [His songs] often have four or five different meanings. This book we started last year, summer of 2009, so it took a year [to finish]. When Jay told me in 2005 that the Black Book wouldn't come out and that he wanted to do a book about lyrics, even back in 2005, he was thinking about what this book was going to be. Even when you're in the studio with him looking like he's talking to himself, I'll try to talk to him and he'll be like, 'Yo, you're f*cking up my lyrics,' I didn't know he was sitting over there writing a song in his head. And so I guess that's what he's been doing with this book." (SOHH's Buy My Book)

In addition to decoding his rhymes, Jay also reveals his first arrest as a youth and other life experiences within the book.

Jay-Z's first arrest came at age 16. He was dealing in Trenton, because his friend "Hill" had a supplier there. Hill had enrolled in the local high school, and one day when Jay-Z went to meet him, he got caught with crack in his pockets on the campus. Since he had no prior arrests, the police let him go, but they confiscated his supply. In order to make up the cash to the supplier, Jay-Z had to go back to Marcy and deal crack 60 hours straight -- three days in a row, he writes. He kept awake by "eating cookies and writing rhymes on the back of brown paper bags." (New York Post)

To purchase the new book, just click here.

Check out a recent Jay-Z interview down below:

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