While you have to wait until the 16th to get your hands on Jay-Z’s tell-all book, Decoded, The NY Post got a sneak peak of the hardback this week. In one passage, Jay chronicles how he tricked the owners of the Annie franchise into forking over the right’s to “It’s the Hard Knock Life” for his 1998 breakthrough single. The Post reports, “initially, he was turned down. So he wrote the company a letter, making up a tale about how, when he was in the seventh grade, his teacher held an essay contest. The prize: A trip to the city to see ‘Annie.’ This was, he writes, ‘A lie. I wrote that I felt like I understood honey’s story.’ The company believed Jay-Z’s tale and cleared the rights to what became his first mega-hit.” To sum it up, Mr. Carter has always had street smarts, but nowadays he can simply toss around his bankroll and buy the rights to nearly any sample.
The Post also details other chapters from Hov’s upcoming book, such as the opening chapter in which he reminisced on how he didn’t memorize his verses. Jay describes carrying a three-ring binder filled with loose-leaf around the block with him and reading dictionaries to increase his vocabulary before rap battles. He also writes about how his neighbors began freebasing and how at the young age of 13 he saw this as an opportunity to make a living by selling them crack. From there, he established himself on the streets as a hustler and formed a crew of street workers in Trenton, New Jersey, which led to his first arrest for crack possession. Although the cops let him go because of his age and his clean record, his stash was confiscated and in order to recoup money for his supplier, who fronted him the work, Jay was forced to hit his block in Marcy, Brooklyn for 60 hours straight, staying awake by “eating cookies and writing rhymes on the back of brown paper bags.”
Besides in-depth accounts of Jay-Z’s life, Decoded also features 36 comprehensive interpretations of his songs. One of the most interesting is his recount of “99 Problems” which is sure to surprise listeners. The infamous hook states, “I got 99 problems, but a b*tch ain’t one.” What many don’t realize is that the term “b*tch” actually refers to a female dog. In the second verse of the song, Jay describes being pulled over by the 5-0 while transporting drugs and not letting them search his vehicle. This actually happened to Jay-Z in 1994 while he was carrying a heavy supply of cocaine. He refused to let the cops search his car, to which they threatened to call a K-9 unit that never arrived. While heading off an exit ramp on I-95, he saw the K-9 car heading the opposite direction to the location he was previously at, but by that point, Jay was “home free.”
The New York Post’s website has a more even more info on what can be found inside Decoded such as Jay-Z befriending Biggie, Obama, and Oprah, so if you’re interested, go check it out. You can pre-order Decoded on Amazon now.