Decoded Background

Decoded Background

Decoded is a 2010 memoir and autobiography of rapper and business mogul Shawn Carter, although he is best known by his stage name: Jay Z. 

In the book, Carter combines personal experiences and his own lyrics with his ideas about the interconnectibity of hip-hop, claiming that it is universally relatable.

Through a series of vignettes, Carter tells the story of his start in the industry, his most important influences, and his rise from poverty. A chronological order of major events details Carter's past relations with drug dealers and violence growing up in the apartment complex The Marcy Houses. Growing up a rough neighborhood in Brooklyn, the rapper states, shaped both his worldview and later work in the music industry. 

Carter also tells his life story through his lyrics, annotating and elaborating on thirty six of the artist's songs throughout the book. Decoded also incorporates Carter's experiences in politics as well as his relationship with Barack Obama. 

Decoded received mostly positive reviews, peaking at #3 on the New York Times Bestseller List, as well as Amazon's Book of the Month in November 2010. In 2012, a plagiarism lawsuit was filed against Carter by Patrick White. White claimed that various phrases and expressions used in the book were stolen from his personal computer in 2009. Both Carter and Random House Publishing gave no comment on the lawsuit. 

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