By Hillary Crosley, with reporting by Akshay Bhansali
On Monday (November 15), Memphis Bleek broke down one of Jay-Z's "Decoded" book clues that happened to be in the center of New York City. The Times Square bit was emblazoned on the MTV television screen, playing excerpts from the MC's 2001 "Unplugged" performance.
"That's the page about the "Decoded" book, that was important back in '01 for the whole "Unplugged" thing because that was the first time I ever saw a rapper use a band," said Bleek. "And at that time, to use the Roots, you know a soulful band like that it just did so much for hip-hop."
Bleek went on to say that Hov's fashion moves have also impacted a broader audience than just his personal circle. For example, if he sports jerseys, then that's hip-hop's new fashion choice. But if he loses the sport wardrobe selections for a button-up shirt, then that's the next style hip-hop adopts. Like Jay said himself, change clothes and go. Back in 2001, Hov made waves by wearing a t-shirt boasting the face of an South American freedom fighter, along with a diamond chain, seemingly the meeting of two opposing philosophy.
"For Jay to wear the chain and the Che t-shirt, he set trends," said Bleek. "Like the whole world follows whatever he do, drinks or talk about. They just pick up on it, like he's the professor, like study him."
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