"I led a life you can write a book on."
It was 1998, when a 28-year-old Jay Z spit that lyric on "Money, Cash, Hoes," a standout single off of his best-selling album Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life. At that point in his life, Hov retired as a Brooklyn drug dealer and graduated to a label owner and multiplatinum rap star. Jay was right, he had led a life that he could have easily woven into a best-seller; but looking back at it now, on his 45th birthday, it is clear that we were only a few chapters into Hov's life story.
Over the course of 12 solo LPs, a few tag-team albums (with Kanye West, R. Kelly and Linkin Park), one mixtape and a tons of features, Jay has opened up about his life. He's opened up maybe more than any other rapper ever, but we never got that book that he kinda promised.
Hov once planned to pen "The Black Book" with writer Dream Hampton. He was to drop the 2003 autobiography as a sort of companion piece for his proposed retirement project, The Black Album. The LP was meant to be Jigga's swan song, but thankfully he returned to us in 2006 and has been dropping projects ever since.
Jay and Dream would eventually drop "Decoded," a track-by-track lyric breakdown, where Jay connected some of his most poignant lines to his real life. In the book, he opened up about his 1999 arrest after the stabbing of Lance “Un” Rivera, as well as a miscarriage that an old girlfriend suffered back in 1994. "Decoded" wasn't the full autobiography, but it wasn't exactly a fluffy gloss-over either.
Still, imagine the full-on Jay Z autobiography. The top-to-bottom tale from a Brooklyn hustler who defied the odds, topped the rap game and transcended to being a music mogul and conquering areas like sports, fashion and spirits. Then, of course, there's his role as a husband and father.
Man, I tell ya -- it'll be a best-seller.