During my unexpected winter break last week, I decided to finally crack open Jay-Z’s Decoded, our January book club selection. Before I could even read a word, I was awe struck by the beauty of the book. As someone who has laid out a couple of books, I was fascinated with the layout, graphics, and fonts and how they worked together to create graphic art. Now I understand why people have categorized this work as a coffee table book. It’s so pretty, I can’t even highlight, or write in the margins, or dog-ear the pages.
Once I began reading Jiggaman’s story, I quickly realized that Decoded is more than a memoir. It is U.S. history told from a first-person point of view. Decoded is a historical account of how hip hop and social issues (such as crack, guns, and gangs) changed urban America and the world we all live in. It illustrates the evolution of rap music. It explains how seminal elements of hip hop culture, like Salt & Pepa’s “Push It,” NWA’s Straight Out of Compton, Dr. Dre’s Chronic, and movies like Boys In the Hood and Menace to Society, were birthed and how each influenced people throughout the world. You can’t call yourself a hip hop fan without reading Jay-Z’s Decoded.
Below is a reading guide for the remainder of the book. Please feel free to join us as we read by clicking here. If you haven’t begun reading, no worries. There is still plenty of time for you to pick up the book and start reading. Also please, Please, PLEASE send in your additional quotes, questions, and thoughts. This information will frame our final discussion that will take place on Saturday, February 5th @ 2pm. I can’t wait to see you there! Happy reading!