I have long been a fan of Jay-Z and of hip-hop and when I had heard that Sean Carter (Jay-Z) had written a book that interprets his lyrics, defining and defending the language and the life behind the songs I was very excited. I am one of those that had often spent my time defending the music that I loved to people that said it was just bombastic noise with filthy language. Jay-Z is known for his quick-witted and sometimes abrasive rhymes and in this book, that is kind of like a memoir, he goes deeper and more in-depth.
I have many (nearly all) of Jay-Z's CDs on my iPod or in CD format and I found that the best way for me to enjoy this book was to listen and read along with the song and then read Jay-Z's interpretations. I was pleasantly surprised when I got the meaning as he meant it, but I was equally surprised when I was totally off! His use of double and triple entendres in one stanza is genius at best.
The cover art on this book is a Andy Warhol piece and the art and photos within the book were just as lush and visually stunning. The detail that he put into this book is so like everything else that he does. He speaks almost like a professor teaching a class, sliding in anecdotes from his life here and there. He avoids talking about his wife, Beyoncé and I appreciate that he and she are very focused on keeping their private life private.
I would recommend this book for both hip-hop fans and its detractors. The knowledge that Jay-Z passes on (along with humor and sadness) is very profound and eye-opening. I gained more insight into one of my favorite artists and into hip-hop itself.