Decoded, a book published by Spiegel & Grau that mixes first-person memoir with detailed discussions of his most famous and provocative lyrics, will hit bookstores on November 16th, 2010. Jay-Z collaborated with former The Source editor Dream Hampton on the book, which includes interviews with Jay-Z’s family and friends as well as the rapper, himself. Over its 336 pages, Decoded will trace Jay-Z’s life from his childhood in Brooklyn’s Marcy Projects to his years as a teen drug dealer to becoming a hip-hop superstar. The hardcover, illustrated book will also explore Jay-Z’s creative process.
When Rolling Stone spoke to Jay-Z for our June 2010 cover story, he talked about why he was reluctant to release the autobiographical work, even though it was completed several years ago. “It’s too much. For the book, I was interviewed, people close to me were interviewed. So I was learning a lot of things I didn’t know as a child,” Jay-Z told RS. “It’s not anything I haven’t said in the past, in songs. It’s just more detailed. A song is three minutes long. A book doesn’t have to rhyme, and it has no time limit, so you can say exactly how everything went.”
Jay-Z also admitted he was most affected by parts of Decoded that concerned his father, who abandoned the family when Jay-Z was 11. “It was still wrong, at the end of the day, but he did stick around at a time where it wasn’t particularly cool or popular,” Jay-Z said. “He married my mom at a time when guys were just leaving, and you’d never even meet your dad. So it made me ease up a little bit in how I felt about him.”
Since Decoded was completed several years ago, it remains unclear whether the book will feature additional chapters detailing Jay-Z’s last few years, including The Blueprint 3, his 360 deal with Live Nation, being a part owner of the New Jersey Nets and, his most guarded subject, his marriage to Beyoncé.