Decoded: Jay-Z Waxes Poetic on Barack Obama and Kanye West in New Book

The hip-hop legend says the story of his life is the story of a generation.

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Author Jay-Z

Using the lyrics to his songs, some famous and others obscure, hip-hop mogul Jay-Z has released the book Decoded, which tells the story of his life. Laurin Lazin and Afeni Shakur did something similar with the film Tupac: Resurrection, using the late rapper's lyrics to tell his story in the film. Jay-Z is using a similar approach with this book, in which he discusses being abandoned by his father, the challenges of becoming a celebrity and the need for discipline in the music business. He sat down with the Associated Press' Nekesa Mumbi Moody to chat about different parts of the book. An excerpt from the interview can be found below:

Excerpt:

AP: You discuss the assault charge you faced early in your career (he received probation). What are your thoughts on stars like Lil Wayne and T.I. who have fallen into those situations?

Jay-Z: The same sort of thing almost happened to me, and I pride myself on being a disciplined person. I was looking out for that sort of thing. I was trying to avoid it, and it still happened to me, so it just goes to show how difficult it is. Once you become a so-called celebrity, your life or your decisions don't stop. You have to make smarter decisions, because you've grown up living your life a certain way. Most people grow up and just smoke weed. ... You just smoke weed and think, "OK, I'll keep weed in my pocket." Now that you're a celebrity it's a whole different sort of thing. ... Celebrities need to be conscious and know who they are, because the same choices they made as a civilian will cost them years as a celebrity.

AP: What do you make of President Obama's recent struggles?

Jay-Z: I believe the same thing about Barack that I believed at day one. What he represents is bigger than any political agenda that he can pass across the House, Senate or whatever. I think that right now he's going through a difficult period because people are putting the last eight years on his table and they're judging him by it. You can't expect a man to clean up eight years of mess in two years; it's just bad math. It's impossible.

Read more at Yahoo News.

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