Enigmatic rapper Jay-Z has revealed a Nov. 16 release date and cover for Decoded, a 336-page illustrated book that will helpfully explain the lyrics to 36 different Jay-Z songs, which have perplexed scholars for years with their elusiveness. But a song, it is a gossamer thing: If we try to hold it in our hands, will it not fall to pieces to be borne away by the wind? If we stop to ask what a man means when he says, “Big trucks when I wanna fuck and it’s time to get ass / I turn automobiles to hotels on wheels”—to make that which is unspoken spoken—do we not rob his imagery of its primal power to move us, and turn something intangibly beautiful into something coarse and vulgar? Do? We? Not?
We suppose that’s a risk you’ll have to take if you want to unlock the secret meaning behind Jay-Z’s slippery similes and frequent product placement, and learn “how hip-hop created a way to take a very specific and powerful experience and turn it into a story that everyone in the world could feel and relate to” for $35. To get there, of course, you’ll need to crack this cover borrowed from Andy Warhol’s Rorschach. What does it mean? Oh right, it means Jay-Z’s super fucking rich. We're learning things about him already.