"Any music without context is a lie," Jay-Z proclaimed Monday night at The New York Public Library in Midtown Manhattan. And with that, Shawn Carter gave the night a theme — and the grounding it needed. Because though he releases his memoir and lyrical anthology Decoded (Spiegel & Grau) Tuesday, the Public Library — literary, elegant, unabashedly highbrow — is not the sort of venue you'd necessarily expect to host the iconic Marcy projects-bred rapper.
But with the publication of the book and the release of a greatest hits collection next week, Jay-Z is experiencing a highbrow moment. Dressed smartly in a dark blue tailored suit, with a gold Rolex peeking out from the sleeve, Jay was flanked by Paul Holdengräber, the NYPL Director of Public Programs, who acted as MC for the evening, and the esteemed Princeton professor and public intellectual Cornel West.
The three men engaged in a loose, rollicking 90-minute conversation thatRead More »from Jay-Z Talks Hustling, Inspiration and Oprah Winfrey