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  1. Jay-Z’s autobiography where he gives context to his songs by explaining what was happening in his life when he wrote that song and what different lyrics really mean

Key Takeaways

  1. Grew up in a public housing project named Marcy. Saw his first cipher when he was still young and was instantly drawn to it. He’d write down every rhyme he could think of and said it was easy from the start. He practiced like it was a sport and read everything he could get his hands on, especially the dictionary, to improve his vocabulary
  2. Crack overtook his neighborhood by storm and by the time he was 15, while still rapping, it had taken a back seat to selling crack 
  3. Used rap to tell his story but wanted to be explicitly honest with it

What I got out of it

  1. Very interesting to see his actual lyrics paired with footnotes of him explaining exactly what he meant or what experienced influenced that line. So much depth and poetry worked into his lyrics that at least I had overlooked for years even though I have listened to some of these songs for years 

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