Customer Review

55 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better Than "Decoded.", March 20, 2011
This review is from: Empire State of Mind: How Jay-Z Went from Street Corner to Corner Office (Hardcover)
With "Empire State of Mind," Zack O'Malley Greenburg delivers on his promise to chronicle Jay-Z's compelling journey from drug-dealer to 9-figure businessman.

As it turns out, Greenburg pitched the book to Jay-Z's management, but they refused to participate and instead went on to write "Decoded" so they could profit directly.

"Decoded" reads like one of those Donald Trump autobiographies: a very self-congratulatory, shallow look into how he thinks (which is somewhat valuable in its own right), but devoid of any juicy revelation beneath the surface.

"Empire State of Mind," on the other hand, paints a very nuanced picture of Jay-Z's character and gives detailed insight into his major business decisions, including the flops and near-misses that Jay-Z doesn't seem to talk about publicly.

If you want direct testimony from key players in Jay-Z's early life, including former business partner Damon Dash, former mentor Jaz-O, and Dehaven Irby (the guy who introduced Jay-Z to drug-dealing), this is probably the only place you'll be able to find it, since most of them have fallen out and don't talk to him anymore.

Greenburg has done a metric ton of research and reconnaissance work, yet his prose flows smooth like Jay-Z's rhymes. The end result is a fascinating read. Highly recommended.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 20, 2012 3:18:03 PM PDT
When you think about it though, "Decoded" is exactly a Jay-Z move -- instead of letting someone else profit from his contributions, to bring the production of the "authorized" autobiography in-house and retaining both control and financial upside. This is exactly the kind of move that has made Jay-Z the mogul that he is.
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