Reviews in 200 Words

Decoded by Jay-Z

In Autobiography on December 8, 2010 at 3:56 pm

This man is winning. He continues to win, perhaps, because he came from the bottom: isn’t that what makes a hero? He started with nothing and doesn’t mind talking about it–he’s honest about his flaws, or, at least he comes off that way. His low point was lower than most can imagine and his high point just keeps getting higher. It becomes very clear that this wasn’t some sort of dumb luck, or even someone working really hard at something (though, he probably is working harder than anyone out there): Jay-Z is borderline savant. He knows so much about his art, and his songs are so packed with reason, they’re like jigsaw puzzles–the kind with thousands of tiny pieces. Tiny pieces that fit together. And decoding is exactly what he’s doing—not just his life, but his songs, and his audience. He’s got (at least) two different kinds of craft going here: lyrics and beats. He thinks in mixes. When you step outside of school and have to teach yourself about life, you develop a different relationship to information. This man is a poet, for sure, and who else can change people—can change the world—but the poets? 

-Micah Ling


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