With the release of his latest book Decoded, Jay-Z hopes that readers will glean some lessons from reading his lyrics. In a previously unreleased interview, Hov explains that there’s more to rap than what’s on the surface and that if listeners took the time to decipher lyrics, they would appreciate it more.
“I hope readers take away from this book that rap is poetry. It’s thought-provoking; there’s thought behind it,” he said. “There’s great writing in rap as well. You never hear rappers being compared for like the greatest rap writers of all time. You hear Bob Dylan. So is Biggie Smalls in a Hitchcock way. Some of the things that Biggie wrote... Rakim, I mean, listen to some of the things he wrote, if you take those lyrics and you pull them away from the music and put ‘em up on the wall somewhere and someone had to look at them, they would say, ‘This is genius! This is genius work!’ I want people to take that away.”
He also explained that listeners tend to make quick judgments about hip-hop and hopes that the book will eradicate snap decisions.
“I want people to also take away the quick judgments. Listen to the song, listen to its intent. Try to figure out why a song like ‘Big Pimpin’ can exist. The same way that you try to figure out a song why ‘Meet the Parents’ exists. It’s clearly obvious that it has different meaning, but this, on the surface, is just fun and party music but there’s reasons behind that as well,” he continued. “I really wanted to lay this out in a clear and concise way that people could look at it and say, OK, if there’s thought and there’s intelligence and there’s reason and logic behind it, then maybe you have to deal with everything like that.”