He may not be, as he has often said, the greatest of all time, but Jay-Z is maybe the most successful hip-hop MC of all time; he's not a businessman, he's a business, man. This heavily produced book (photos, drawings, explanatory notes) is a mix of memoir, cultural history and exegesis of his lyrics. Since there are few rap memoirs, this fills a void and is both a compelling story of his life as well as a cogent argument for the importance of hip-hop music and culture. I read part of this while watching "The Wire," which is highly recommended. Portland gets a shout out (sorta) when he explains why he chose the city for a song: "I chose Portland because it's the whitest place I could think of." Ha. Go on brush your shoulder off P-town.

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