Critical Response

Decoded premiered at number three on the New York Times Best Seller list and it also was featured on as the number six book of the month for November 2010, the month it was released.[4] Adam Bradley of Barnes & Noble expresses his pleasure in being able to see Jay-Z’s lyrics written down for the first time because Jay-Z famously does not write his lyrics down while writing songs. Bradley goes on to say that Decoded is “upending assumptions about hip-hop and leaving readers suspended in midair, staring down at a new and complex ground beneath their feet.” [5] Most of the criticism is that the book is not personal enough and does not provide enough detail of Jay-Z’s life. Simon Vozick-Levinson writes in Entertainment Weekly “"Despite the career he has made out of rapping in the first person, Jay-Z is known for prizing privacy. His new book 'Decoded' may not erase that reputation.” Although Vozick Levinson expands and reveals “it is nonetheless Shawn Carter's most honest airing of the experiences he drew on to create the mythic figure of Jay-Z," while giving the book a grade of A-.[6] Adam Bradley of Barnes & Noble criticizes the structure of the book because it is not organized by chronological order, but by subject as well as criticizes its lack of depth in some areas by explaining "At times, these subject-driven sections leave one dissatisfied with the level of revelation and reflection, such as in his cursory treatment of race relations.[5]”

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