Jay-Z’s Decoded

Screenshot: Hip-Hop mogul Jay-Z’s book Decoded hit stores today. Brick and mortars think it’s a music book–it’s in the music book section. Or rather the service that categorizes print for retailers thinks it. They’re wrong.

This is a business book.

Decoded is fillerless. No intros. Just story from word one. There’s an urgency and clarity to communication in the world from which Jay-Z came.

The first 18 pages are among the most entrancing, gritty, authentic, poetic and sophisticated story channeling I’ve read. I’m on record saying Jay-Z is not a rapper–but  a storyteller.

Who it’s for:

  • The business minded who aren’t tricked about value because of packaging.
  • White people like Seth Godin, with marketing “expertise” who are culturally walled off from unique value propositions in strong US microcultures.
  • Black people who don’t speak “urban”.
  • People mastering their 10% vs. succumbing to the 90%.
  • Brand builders.
  • Poets.
  • Hustlers. Which really, is anybody who ever had to eat and think about it.  It’s a primal timeless human testimony.

And the photography and presentation are perfect, likely due to the sufficiently autonomous and thankfully rogue sub-brand of publishers Spiegel and Grau.

Decoded discussion with Charlie Rose: An hour with Jay-Z from the Brooklyn Museum.


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