Jay-Z
"Dyson's incisive analysis of JAY-Z's brilliance not only offers a brief history of hip-hop's critical place in American culture, but also hints at how we can best move forward." —QuestloveJAY-Z: Made in America is the fruit of Michael Eric Dyson’s decade of teaching the work of one of the greatest poets this nation has produced, as gifted a wordsmith as Walt Whitman, Robert Frost and Rita Dove. But as a rapper, he’s sometimes not given the credit he deserves for just how great an artist he’s been for so long.This book wrestles with the biggest themes of JAY-Z's career, including hustling, and it recognizes the way that he’s always weaved politics into his music, making important statements about race, criminal justice, black wealth and social injustice. As he enters his fifties, and to mark his thirty years as a recording artist, this is the perfect time to take a look at JAY-Z’s career and his role in making this nation what it is today.In many ways, this is JAY-Z’s America as much as it’s Pelosi’s America, or Trump’s America, or Martin Luther King’s America. JAY-Z has given this country a language to think with and words to live by.Featuring a Foreword by Pharrell

Jay-Z Details

TitleJay-Z
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseNov 26th, 2019
PublisherSt. Martin's Press
ISBN-139781250230966
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Music, Biography, Cultural

Jay-Z Review

  • Donna Hines
    January 1, 1970
    "In many ways, this is JAY-Z’s America as much as it’s Pelosi’s America, or Trump’s America, or Martin Luther King’s America. JAY-Z has given this country a language to think with and words to live by.""This book wrestles with the biggest themes of JAY-Z's career, including hustling, and it recognizes the way that he’s always weaved politics into his music, making important statements about race, criminal justice, black wealth and social injustice. As he enters his fifties, and to mark his "In many ways, this is JAY-Z’s America as much as it’s Pelosi’s America, or Trump’s America, or Martin Luther King’s America. JAY-Z has given this country a language to think with and words to live by.""This book wrestles with the biggest themes of JAY-Z's career, including hustling, and it recognizes the way that he’s always weaved politics into his music, making important statements about race, criminal justice, black wealth and social injustice. As he enters his fifties, and to mark his thirty years as a recording artist, this is the perfect time to take a look at JAY-Z’s career and his role in making this nation what it is today."Truth be told he is a rapper, an artist, a HUSTLER, a man for which less is known about his life beyond his current works.Ergo, why I was interested in picking this one up and learning more.It just was't my thing with the way it was written, the language was off setting for me, the premise wasn't much beyond what we already know.I wanted to love this as back in the 80's I was that gal with the 'boom box' always in tow with Queen Latifah, Ice-T, Digital Underground and all the rappers on my play lists or shall I say cassette tapes for those dating themselves.However, I just didn't find my anything that really excited me to flip the pages.Thank you to Michael, the publisher, NetGalley, and Amazon Kindle for this ARC in exchange for this honest review.As they say variety is the spice of life, so pick it up, and ENJOY!
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  • Jenn
    January 1, 1970
    Humans have always been resourceful – they find ways to increase power and status, even when it means inventing and convincing others of the validity of something. For example – at a time when France’s relative power and strength was troubled, Louis XIV basically invented “luxury” lifestyle and merchandise – fabrics, clothing, perfumes and furniture – in the 16th century, and his ambassadors became marketing managers, selling an idea that possessions of a certain quality meant something and Humans have always been resourceful – they find ways to increase power and status, even when it means inventing and convincing others of the validity of something. For example – at a time when France’s relative power and strength was troubled, Louis XIV basically invented “luxury” lifestyle and merchandise – fabrics, clothing, perfumes and furniture – in the 16th century, and his ambassadors became marketing managers, selling an idea that possessions of a certain quality meant something and inspiring the earliest fear of missing out that we see in modern marketing.Michael Eric Dyson dives into the “art of hustle” in the first chapter – describing the ways that people, particularly African Americans in poor neighborhoods, have sought to find such niches to improve their circumstances and achieve financial and social success. He talks about facets of types of hustle based on poverty and opportunity of location as integral to the black experience in the US.Dyson’s writing works on many levels, skillfully interweaving biographical information about Jay-Z, biographical portraits of other artists, politicians and historical figures, social history, and literary analysis of the lyrics of Jay-Z and other artists. Throughout, there are references to conversations that Jay-Z and other artists have through the lyrics of their music – some are serious and some are light-hearted play acting or “dues.” Dyson also does a deep dive into masculinity and blackness – analyzing the Hegelian dynamics of Jay-Z and Beyonce’s musical conversations around the complexities of relationships between women and men. As a former language major – I really enjoyed Dyson’s analysis of Jay-Z’s lyrics in literary terms, summarized as an “extremely sophisticated romp on poetry’s playground of metaphor and metonymy, simile and synecdoche.” Dyson dives into all the references to philosophy, history, politics and satire and summarizes as “Jay’s lyrical cleverness masks his deeper intellectual reflections on the world and on black culture itself.” “Jay’s openness to a variety of art forms and his understanding that common themes of existential struggle unite disparate genres of music. Thus one of his most successful songs, at a critical point in his career, features a sample from a Broadway musical that highlights the plight of poor, socially invisible children.” Jay-Z is a poet, a philosopher and has a strong political voice – which does not lessen as his popularity and success continue. He’s the first rap artist to become a billionaire, and throughout his career – one where he never writes down his lyrics -- “Jay has also mastered a sneak-and-speak approach to political commentary, He laces his lyrics with pieces of social and political insight, from entire blocs of songs through extended metaphor to just a word or two.”As Ken Burns highlighted in his documentary of country music in the US -- which featured mostly white artists -- the non-white artists he included stressed repeatedly "it's about the stories." Hip-hop and rap are also about the stories, and shifting from stereotyped masculine swagger, avoidance of commitment and personal consumption. There are women calling BS on men treating them poorly and even a young (gay) black artist whose "country trap" song quickly went up the Billboard charts as the most popular song in Billboard history.Hip-hop / rap artists are not just telling their stories and shining light into the dark corners of our cultural consciousness, but they are working into the general conceptions of many concepts, such as who gets to enjoy "luxury" goods? (See https://www.businessoffashion.com/art... ) -- and importantly, they are changing the rules around power and status.One of the most appealing traits of Dyson's writing is his passionate enthusiasm for Jay-Z's oeuvre -- his contextualization and analysis of Jay-Z’s music, achievements and life flows in a way that seems clear and almost obvious (as in "Of course it happened that way!"). Dyson provides a fantastic annotated discography at the end of this lovely synthesis of popular culture, history, capitalism and social class. Or, as my friend Andre says – “Just listen to the music.”
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  • Cristie Underwood
    January 1, 1970
    This was such a well researched biography, as there were so many things I learned about Jay-Z by reading this. I love how the author focused on the impact his music has had on our nation politically. Highly recommend!
  • LiteraryMarie
    January 1, 1970
    Your fave could never be labeled one of the best poets ever. Your fave would not publicly apologize to his wife via a whole album. Your fave is not the fifth black billionaire. Surely your fave could not stay relevant for so long. Your fave just cannot. Periodt.From rap to boardroom to his own lane, JAY-Z is deeper than just a former street hustler turned rapper. He beat the odds! So when I got the opportunity to read and review an advance copy of JAY-Z: Made in America, being the superfan that Your fave could never be labeled one of the best poets ever. Your fave would not publicly apologize to his wife via a whole album. Your fave is not the fifth black billionaire. Surely your fave could not stay relevant for so long. Your fave just cannot. Periodt.From rap to boardroom to his own lane, JAY-Z is deeper than just a former street hustler turned rapper. He beat the odds! So when I got the opportunity to read and review an advance copy of JAY-Z: Made in America, being the superfan that I am, imagine my glee!Writer Michael Eric Dyson delves into the biggest themes of JAY-Z's career, from hustling to rapping to boardroom to art collector and more. His music mirrors his life. However, Dyson takes it a step further. He examines the role that JAY-Z plays in our society today while relating the music to themes such as politics, race, criminal justice, black wealth and social injustice. Dyson also highlights the many accomplishments and business ventures. With a Foreword by Pharrell, this nonfiction read will feel like a master class on one of the greatest artists of our time.Let me break down this recommendation. For general music or memoir fans, this book will give perspective on lyrics as it relates to JAY-Z's life over the years—both personally and professionally. For fans, you may get insight into the meaning behind some of JAY-Z's bars.For Hov stans, like myself, you will devour this book. You will start reading from the very beginning word until the very last, follow along with playing the corresponding tracks, digest the interpreted lyrics, enjoy the hip-hop references and admire JAY-Z's brilliance. All along thanking Dyson for bringing a few things to your attention.I cannot imagine the amount of research that went into the publication of JAY-Z: Made in America. But it is quite evident that Dyson left no stone unturned in his analysis study. In fact, I suggest it as prerequisite reading before listening, at length, to classic albums like The Blueprint, 4:44 and Reasonable Doubt. This book will help music listeners know and understand what they're listening to (without skimming through it) and provide reason as to why JAY-Z is influential in America. Minus the few tangents of hip-hop history or politics, Dyson could not have written this any better!Happy Pub Day, Michael Eric Dyson! JAY-Z: Made in America is now available.LiteraryMarie
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  • Manny
    January 1, 1970
    Not my cup of tea. Was looking for a book on the life and success of a great musician and business man. I am a big fan of Jay Z and have been since his early work in music, clothing, liquor, and record empire. I bought this book because it was 2019 and wanted to get the most updated book. However this book turned out to be what I perceived as a politically, racially charged book I did not want to read. I did not finish it so I may have acted in haste, but I really did not feel the content. I Not my cup of tea. Was looking for a book on the life and success of a great musician and business man. I am a big fan of Jay Z and have been since his early work in music, clothing, liquor, and record empire. I bought this book because it was 2019 and wanted to get the most updated book. However this book turned out to be what I perceived as a politically, racially charged book I did not want to read. I did not finish it so I may have acted in haste, but I really did not feel the content. I read all kinds of books and I do not shy away from books pertaining to race and the like. It may be a good book for someone looking for a Apotheosis of Jay Z where they compare him to a god and talk about how there is a curriculum of Jay Z in universities. I wanted more about the man not the myth. Just my $0.02
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  • Chase Preston
    January 1, 1970
    Unfortunately this book reads like a secret admirer’s narrative about Jay-Z’s social and political agenda with a few nods to his economic success. I was interested in hearing more about his life story with personal insights on the challenges he had to overcome to rise to the top. Yet this book just reinforces the impact he had on society, and all the problems with the world today. Where the Beastie Boys book succeeded, this one failed.
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  • Marvin
    January 1, 1970
    Michael Eric Dyson is a master wordsmith, brilliant scholar and provocative cultural critic. Being a longtime fan of both Dyson's work and Jay-Z, picking up this book was a no-brainer. That said, I expected a lot more from this book. Nothing here felt particularly new or groundbreaking, it almost felt like something that could've been condensed and published in an online essay. I will say that I've read and learned a lot about Jay-Z over the years, so maybe this book wasn't intended for me. Michael Eric Dyson is a master wordsmith, brilliant scholar and provocative cultural critic. Being a longtime fan of both Dyson's work and Jay-Z, picking up this book was a no-brainer. That said, I expected a lot more from this book. Nothing here felt particularly new or groundbreaking, it almost felt like something that could've been condensed and published in an online essay. I will say that I've read and learned a lot about Jay-Z over the years, so maybe this book wasn't intended for me. Also, I've read some of Dyson's writing's on other public figures like Marvin Gaye, Tupac and Martin Luther King were I found his analysis fresh and his critiques bold and new. Much of this book felt like an overview of things I already knew and lyrics I already analyzed. I think it would have been more engaging to see Dyson dive deeper and talk a bit more perhaps be a bit more critical of Jay Z. However, I think a conflict of interests exists because unlike, Tupac, Marvin Gaye and MLK, Dyson actually has a relationship with Jay Z, and I'd argue that it makes him a bit softer in his critiques. Overall, it wasn't a bad book, Dyson's analyses are on point, his social commentary is well-informed, it's just that this book felt more like an echo of things we've learned about Jay throughout his career.
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  • Helen
    January 1, 1970
    a tedious read
  • Peggy
    January 1, 1970
    An in depth look at one of the most enduring poets of our time. The history of hip hop is a big part of this story.Entertaining, enjoyable and fascinating.I loved it.
  • Arlo
    January 1, 1970
    My first time reading Dyson and his prose is as good as his oratory skills. I was hoping to be immersed in his class on Jay Z by reading the book, but in actuality he just skims the surface. The book is about Jay Z, but uses some anecdotes about him to focus on macro issues within the black community and Jay's role as a historical figure. There's some controversial stuff towards the end where he draws parallels of Jay's infidelity and MLK and black sexuality that ties into the hypocritical My first time reading Dyson and his prose is as good as his oratory skills. I was hoping to be immersed in his class on Jay Z by reading the book, but in actuality he just skims the surface. The book is about Jay Z, but uses some anecdotes about him to focus on macro issues within the black community and Jay's role as a historical figure. There's some controversial stuff towards the end where he draws parallels of Jay's infidelity and MLK and black sexuality that ties into the hypocritical standards they are held too.--he mentions Hoovers on going sexual fetishes while servelling MLK.
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  • Marion Hill
    January 1, 1970
    I love getting books as Christmas gifts especially from my 10-year-old daughter. This year’s Christmas gift is Jay-Z (Made In America) by Michael Eric Dyson.I will confess upfront that Jay-Z is not my favorite rapper and I have not listened to a lot of his music. My favorite rappers are Big Daddy Kane and Rakim. I believe they are the best two rappers I have ever heard handle the mic in 48 years I have been on this planet. However, they have never achieved the cultural impact that Jay-Z has I love getting books as Christmas gifts especially from my 10-year-old daughter. This year’s Christmas gift is Jay-Z (Made In America) by Michael Eric Dyson.I will confess upfront that Jay-Z is not my favorite rapper and I have not listened to a lot of his music. My favorite rappers are Big Daddy Kane and Rakim. I believe they are the best two rappers I have ever heard handle the mic in 48 years I have been on this planet. However, they have never achieved the cultural impact that Jay-Z has throughout his three decades long career. Also, I have always been interested in how an artist (irregardless of the artistic medium) taps into their creativity and submits it for public consumption. I heard Professor Dyson speak on the Toure and Barnes & Noble Podcasts about this book. His eloquence and love for Jay-Z’s artistry convinced me to ask for the book as a Christmas gift.Dyson carefully examines the rise of Jay-Z from the Marcy Projects in Brooklyn to becoming hip-hop’s first billionaire. The professor provides proper context to Jay-Z’s musical oeuvre and reveals the art of the hustle as his main artistic theme. Moreover, Dyson shows that Jay-Z had a social conscious to his music from the beginning of his career along with his entrepreneurial spirit.I really enjoyed the detail Dyson writes at length about Jay-Z’s artistic process from beginning a song as a mumble rap until lyrics come from his vivid imagination and experiences from the mean streets of Brooklyn into something that music fans can rock with and get a deeper meaning from simultaneously.Dyson goes further in Jay-Z’s life of social consciousness and his commitment to black culture throughout the 1990s and 2000s. Also, he reveals the rapper’s missteps artistically and personally with his wife, Beyonce and most recently the former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.Jay-Z (Made In America) gave me as a reader a better perspective on one of America’s best artists (not just a hip-hop artist). I have learned a lot more about what fuels Shawn Carter’s art and how he has presented it to the world. If you are a Jay-Z fan, then I recommend you get this book. And if you are not a fan of him or hip-hop, then I still recommend this book to you as a study one of the most unlikely American success stories that this country has ever produced.
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  • Dre
    January 1, 1970
    "The Michael Corleone of the microphone | The Michaelangelo of flow, I paint pictures with poems." - Jay-Z"Jay can protect the complex and coded conversations he has in his music, for instance, with folk who are still hustling or with those whose racial struggles tie them to him. And then, at his discretion, he can, as the title of his memoir suggests, decode his work, both for those who are new to his lyrics and for those who wonder just what he may have had in mind as they pour over his "The Michael Corleone of the microphone | The Michaelangelo of flow, I paint pictures with poems." - Jay-Z"Jay can protect the complex and coded conversations he has in his music, for instance, with folk who are still hustling or with those whose racial struggles tie them to him. And then, at his discretion, he can, as the title of his memoir suggests, decode his work, both for those who are new to his lyrics and for those who wonder just what he may have had in mind as they pour over his secular scriptures."-Michael Eric Dyson, Jay-Z: Made in AmericaI am a fan of both Michael Eric Dyson and Jay-Z, so it's no surprise that I jumped at the opportunity to read this book as soon as possible. And I'm glad that I did. Jay-Z: Made in America is an in-depth look at the rapper's definition of the hustle, with images of his life and lyrics to reflect that. Not only does Dyson share well-researched facts to support his claims, he also dissects Jay's lyrics bar-for-bar to mirror them. An ode to the artist, or as Dyson often refers to as "poet," this book illuminates the way Jay's music paints pictures in a way that the streets feel acknowledged and the rest of society gets a bird's eye view of a lifestyle far removed from them. Parallels to the lives of basketball star Lebron James and late great musician Nipsey Hussle are also surprisingly noted here. Jay-Z: Made in America gives readers a glimpse of Jay's transition from street hustler to high-profile celebrity by way of his rhymes in a way I could appreciate. However, if you are a big fan of Jay-Z or have listened to his albums over the last 20+ years, you may not find anything new in this book. While this is no biography on Jay, I did expect to see more of his life experiences and how they were reflected in his music noted. But since Jay's hustle and lyricism was the main subject matter, I will give that a pass. Seeing Jay for the poet that he is and going back to listen to his catalog with a renewed perspective makes up for it. I encourage anyone who appreciates the art of Jay-Z's hustle to check out this book, for sure!*3.5 Stars*Special thank you to Dyson, St. Martin's Press, and Netgalley for the ARC of Jay-Z: Made in America in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Lindsey Keys White
    January 1, 1970
    WORTHINESSJay-Z, otherwise known as Shawn Carter, has made it in America. Literally and figuratively. He is one of the few black billionaires in this country. Michael Eric Dyson poignantly reminds us that all of his success started with…the hustle. That hustle, whether blight or bright, is unequivocally all American. From the jump, this book reminds the reader that Mr. Carter made the best of bad options. Is that worthy of celebration? Is he really a poet laureate of this country? Can we as WORTHINESSJay-Z, otherwise known as Shawn Carter, has made it in America. Literally and figuratively. He is one of the few black billionaires in this country. Michael Eric Dyson poignantly reminds us that all of his success started with…the hustle. That hustle, whether blight or bright, is unequivocally all American. From the jump, this book reminds the reader that Mr. Carter made the best of bad options. Is that worthy of celebration? Is he really a poet laureate of this country? Can we as Americans view him as a true artist, thinker, and ultimate action taker? Damn right. You can, and we should!!!This book does justice to the evolution of Jay-Z as an entertainer, poet, humanitarian, entrepreneur, and social justice representative. It highlights Black intelligence and the indelible link to wealth, power, and politics. It solidifies Jay-Z as an innovator and influencer, not just of hip-hop culture, but American culture. He, as a bonafide poet, has hustled his way into the mainstream with rhymes that highlight the underbelly of American urban life. He does this not for glorification, but clarification, with an earnestness to seek mutual understanding and empathy. All in all, I can recommend this book because I am a true fan of Jay-Z and his lyrical body of work. He is a true lyricist. And he does everything from his head. But, if you want to catch sparks of discussion on Blackness vs. Anti-Blackness, toxic masculinity, infidelity, cooperative economics, gentrification and lastly the promulgation of hip hop into the future it is all there. It’s there, woven ever so delicately into the story of a man with the uncanny ability to wax-poetic and hustle American culture like nobody’s [email protected]
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  • Matt Fitz
    January 1, 1970
    Disclaimer. THIS IS NOT A BIOGRAPHY! Readers of MED are probably already familiar that he is a professor of sociology and preacher who grew up out of racial and economic hardships from Detroit Michigan. His ability to speak the streets wrapped up in the erudite language of academics has made him a profound contributor to critical race theory with his evocative words, provocative ideas, and bombastic courage.This book grooves in nicely with his other works and speaks to how Jay-Z comes to be an Disclaimer. THIS IS NOT A BIOGRAPHY! Readers of MED are probably already familiar that he is a professor of sociology and preacher who grew up out of racial and economic hardships from Detroit Michigan. His ability to speak the streets wrapped up in the erudite language of academics has made him a profound contributor to critical race theory with his evocative words, provocative ideas, and bombastic courage.This book grooves in nicely with his other works and speaks to how Jay-Z comes to be an iconic American figure in spoken words and corporate success on his own terms. Now fifty years old, Jay-Z has had a 3 decade enduring presence in hip-hop culture that both endure and expand when not many imagined that hip-hop would endure as it has.This book pays homage to that hustle and embraces it where it is often derided. Places it alongside other hustles that have boomed into essentially our current gig economy (what some would call a "white hustle") of Ubers and EBays brought about not BY a cultural shift...but BECAUSE of a cultural shift. Thirty years of living the "hard knock life" bridges the gulf between my own son and me as we appreciate different eras of hip hop culture. We can't (and don't) have that conversation without talking about Jay-Z. I was pretty proud to hand this book off to my son.
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  • Greg
    January 1, 1970
    I like Michael Eric Dyson for being able to jump into the fray of pop-culture-politics and give context to things that otherwise may be lacking perspective.That said, Dyson’s Afrocentric dissection of Jay is interesting at a larger cultural context but at times I feel even as a 25 year Jay-Z fan that some of the rhymes that Dyson dissects are oversold, and Jay’s more sexist or materialistic lyrics are given a light treatment, when acknowledged at all. I do hate the double standard that non-hip I like Michael Eric Dyson for being able to jump into the fray of pop-culture-politics and give context to things that otherwise may be lacking perspective.That said, Dyson’s Afrocentric dissection of Jay is interesting at a larger cultural context but at times I feel even as a 25 year Jay-Z fan that some of the rhymes that Dyson dissects are oversold, and Jay’s more sexist or materialistic lyrics are given a light treatment, when acknowledged at all. I do hate the double standard that non-hip hop has when it comes to violent or sexist content but when discussing the cultural context of Jay, he’s dope but not exactly the carrying the torch of enlightenment in hip hop, but rather pop rap. You’re not going to find the insight of Q-tip “Hip hop, a way of life, It doesn't tell you how to raise a child or treat a wife”. Jay-Z has struggled for two decades to achieve that level of introspection. Tip dropped that line under the age of 25. This isn’t to say Q-Tip is better, I just wish there’d been a bit of a nod given to the underground that gave the foundation for Jay to move the needle commercially... Jay nearly lost his core fan base with his bling era raps and Blueprint probably marks one of the greatest pivots in hip hop, where Jay-Z transcended to a more soulful and self actualized artist. The key for Jay has been able to read and predict the mood of contemporary audiences. Dyson does delve into the ugly parts of his Nas rivalry though with a pretty spot on analysis (sans misattributing a slight to Nas missing a session for Dead presidents which isn’t quite accurate as it was for another song). All in all, I was interested and entertained, and liked the attempts to contextualize Jay in a larger sense but perhaps as a long time fan with pension for lyrical pondering hopes for more enlightenment. Worth reading and depending on your familiarity of Jay’s will determine how much you get from this.
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  • Corey Burton
    January 1, 1970
    Decent read...it wasn't what I thought it was going to be. It was cool to hear about his love of and admiration of Jay Z and his lyrics and mentality, but I thought it would be more....Maybe I thought Jay Z himself would be reflected more and have commentary? It was underwhelming, though worth the read. I also haven't really studied Jay Z's lyrics, but after reading this, I really want to delve deeper. My favorite quote/lyric was "to be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you Decent read...it wasn't what I thought it was going to be. It was cool to hear about his love of and admiration of Jay Z and his lyrics and mentality, but I thought it would be more....Maybe I thought Jay Z himself would be reflected more and have commentary? It was underwhelming, though worth the read. I also haven't really studied Jay Z's lyrics, but after reading this, I really want to delve deeper. My favorite quote/lyric was "to be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment." I also liked the following observation : "As with Jay's hustler (in American Dreamin), black folks' lives have been shaped by restrictions on social mobility, economic prosperity, employment opportunities, and housing prospects." It simply didn't go deeper and felt more like a listing of lyrics and commentary on his lyrics.
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  • LeeTravelGoddess
    January 1, 1970
    No Dr. D didn’t throw a little rhyme at the end !!! I enjoyed this lyrical lesson of, if not THE GOAT, definitely top 5... Jay-Z. I wish there were more books like this on classical Rap & R&B albums. No really because we are such a complexly layered sect of humans so why not give a more in depth glimpse of US! This book was cleverly written as it ebbs and flows in and out what makes Jay-Z such a great talent— especially the people around him. What a testament of he himself and the trials No Dr. D didn’t throw a little rhyme at the end 😹😹😹!!! I enjoyed this lyrical lesson of, if not THE GOAT, definitely top 5... Jay-Z. I wish there were more books like this on classical Rap & R&B albums. No really because we are such a complexly layered sect of humans so why not give a more in depth glimpse of US! This book was cleverly written as it ebbs and flows in and out what makes Jay-Z such a great talent— especially the people around him. What a testament of he himself and the trials that he endured to become the mogul that he is today! It’s for sure a tops and apart of my library— thoroughly enjoyed this work of art ON Jay’s many artworks! 💚💚💚
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  • Danielle Jeffcoat Wilson
    January 1, 1970
    First off- this is not a bio in case that’s what you expect. This is a sociological study with an artist and pioneer at the center. As a social worker with a degree in history and political science, I soaked up this unpacking of the social implications of a street-drug-dealer turned billionaire and his influence on culture. As a white woman whose career has mostly been spent working with black urban-dwellers, I found this to be an important read in my ongoing pursuit of adequate cultural First off- this is not a bio in case that’s what you expect. This is a sociological study with an artist and pioneer at the center. As a social worker with a degree in history and political science, I soaked up this unpacking of the social implications of a street-drug-dealer turned billionaire and his influence on culture. As a white woman whose career has mostly been spent working with black urban-dwellers, I found this to be an important read in my ongoing pursuit of adequate cultural competency, and I’m thankful for artists and academics like Michael Eric Dyson for being willing to do the taxing work of telling these stories.
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  • Elizabeth Wolkowicz
    January 1, 1970
    JAY-Z has evolved as our world has evolved and this book, by Michael Eric Dyson, utilizes that evolution to discuss the broader issues surrounding being aBlack man in America. This book is at its best when itit explores the themes in JAY-Z’s rap lyrics to discuss these larger thoughts... it is at its worst when it zooms in on the lyrics and analyzing them from a poetry lens. There are interesting views on a new definition of a self-made man that JAY- Z personifies and that makes this a worthy JAY-Z has evolved as our world has evolved and this book, by Michael Eric Dyson, utilizes that evolution to discuss the broader issues surrounding being aBlack man in America. This book is at its best when itit explores the themes in JAY-Z’s rap lyrics to discuss these larger thoughts... it is at its worst when it zooms in on the lyrics and analyzing them from a poetry lens. There are interesting views on a new definition of a self-made man that JAY- Z personifies and that makes this a worthy read.
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  • Jonathan
    January 1, 1970
    I picked up this book because I was expecting a biography of Jay-Z, one of my favorite musicians, instead what I got was a dissection of Jay's lyrics and how they relate to the issues facing America today. I was at first disappointed that I wasn't going to be getting a full biography of Jay in this book, but as I read, I really enjoyed the breakdown of the lyrics that Dyson used to tell his story.
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  • Shenard Robinson
    January 1, 1970
    Awesome read!!! Dyson, as usual, provides a thorough glimpse into the world of Hip Hop through the lens of one the most prolific writers of our time. Jay-Z definitely deserves the mantle he now stands on after paying dues necessary to build an empire state of mind not only for himself but for those who come from a similar situation as himself. A must read!!!
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  • Joshua E. McCoy
    January 1, 1970
    This book is a necessary entry into the canon celebrating the “life and times” on one Shawn Corey Carter as it properly positions his work and influence at the utmost heights of modern literary greatness.I enjoy and appreciate this in-depth exploration and exposition of the complicated character, JAY-Z, and the evolved man, Shawn Carter. Salute to you, Dr. Dyson.
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  • Leaguez
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this book. As a follower/fan of JAY-Z since ‘95, this book shined so much light on how impactful Jay has been to the culture. I was able to get a different view of Jay, his lyrics, and his growth. I see it like this now, the bigger the impact on the lives of others tends to be a reflection of the pain and struggle you’ve survived.
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  • Anthony Locke
    January 1, 1970
    Was hoping for more of a biography, but Dyson's book was a cultural analysis of Jay-Z's influence on hip hop culture, American culture at large, and social justice movements. The book reads a bit more like a series of long-form articles than a biography. Got to learn a bit about Jay-Z as an artist, politician, and social justice advocate.
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  • Dustin Griffin
    January 1, 1970
    Very short. More of an extended essay on Jay-Z and his influence on and by America, than a book length examination. Poetically well written. Fascinating insights. Academic presentation. Which also causes it to be slightly dry and stuffy at times. But a great read you could easily crush in a single sitting.
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  • Katie Burke
    January 1, 1970
    Super interesting account of Jay-Z's impact on culture, his work as a poet, his ties to the art community, and his genius written by a Georgetown professor who has taught his work for years--I found it really interesting, a bit long-winded at times on tangents, but overall an important and interesting reflection of a legendary poet, rapper, and business man.
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  • Byron
    January 1, 1970
    If you were to publish a verbatim transcript of his remarks in interviews to promote this book, without any additional organization, it might honestly be more coherent, and possibly even more substantive, than what he's presented here.
  • Michael Olson
    January 1, 1970
    Need a 3.5 option. I am rarely harsh enough for a 2. But was interesting and educational. Still gonna keep on the Michael Eric Dyson book-wagon!
  • Rafael Suleiman
    January 1, 1970
    A very good examination of the rap career of jay-Z by a noted public intellectual.
  • Qwantu Amaru
    January 1, 1970
    A picture made of wordsEric Michael Dyson’s intellectual dissection of JAY-Z, his art, politics, rise, impact, and place in history is the most revealing introspection I have yet to consume about the first hip-hop billionaire. This should be consumed together with Decoded for maximum impact!
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