Grammy-winning rapper Jay-Z will finally crack open his rhyme book with the upcoming release of his long-awaited published work, Decoded, set to drop this fall.
Scheduled for a November 16th release, Young Hov collaborated with ex-Source editor Dream Hampton for 336 pages looking at his life as a child to rap superstar.
When Rolling Stone spoke to Jay-Z for our June 2010 cover story, he talked about why he was reluctant to release the autobiographical work, even though it was completed several years ago. “It’s too much. For the book, I was interviewed, people close to me were interviewed. So I was learning a lot of things I didn’t know as a child,” Jay-Z told RS. “It’s not anything I haven’t said in the past, in songs. It’s just more detailed. A song is three minutes long. A book doesn’t have to rhyme, and it has no time limit, so you can say exactly how everything went.” Jay-Z also admitted he was most affected by parts of Decoded that concerned his father, who abandoned the family when Jay-Z was 11. “It was still wrong, at the end of the day, but he did stick around at a time where it wasn’t particularly cool or popular,” Jay-Z said. “He married my mom at a time when guys were just leaving, and you’d never even meet your dad. So it made me ease up a little bit in how I felt about him.” (Rolling Stone)
In July 2009, Jay kept details scarce but opened up about what rap fans could anticipate from the release.
“Yeah, the other two books though, you know I had to sign that deal,” Hov confirmed in an interview. “I’ve done the deal to do a book and the name of it is called Decoded. It’s called Decoded because I’m going to decode all the lyrics from my records. I’m gonna pick the select ones, all the double entendres and things that people may have missed or may have gotten but want confirmation on it. That’s what the book is about, it’s called Decoded.” (V103)
Initial summer 2009 reports said Jay’s new venture was on the verge of approval.
Jay-Z is close to finalizing a book deal with the Spiegel & Grau imprint of Random House. The literary agent repping the rapper, Matthew Guma, had no comment, but sources say the book will consist of Jay-Z commenting on and telling the stories behind his lyrics. Sources said that when Mr. Guma originally approached editors and publishers earlier this summer, he was talking about doing a bundle of three books: One was going to be a traditional memoir, one was going to be a business book, and the third was the one that Spiegel & Grau ended up acquiring. When it will be published is unknown however the book will be edited by Spiegel & Grau executive editor Chris Jackson. (New York Observer)
He was previously going to release The Black Book shortly after his Black Album dropped in 2003, however, the book never hit stores.
It turns out Jay-Z isn’t going to share his life story with the world after all. The rapper signed a deal with MTV Books two years ago to publish his autobiography, to be co-written with hip-hop journalist Dream Hampton and called The Black Book. But once the book was finished, Jay apparently got cold feet and decided not to put it out: MTV Books confirmed that The Black Book has been pulled from its release schedule, per a request from Jay, who cited privacy issues. (MTV)
Jay-Z’s Decoded is scheduled to drop Tuesday, November 16th.
Listen to Jay-Z briefly reference his Decoded book below: