Ned Beauman

What’s the Crack?

Decoded

By

Virgin Books 317pp £20 order from our bookshop

I was disappointed that Jay-Z’s memoir, Decoded, doesn’t go into even more detail about his days in the New York crack cocaine business. As a half-Jewish philosophy graduate raised in Hampstead, I naturally consider myself a bit of an expert on the subject. I watch The Wire, of course; but I also listen to a tremendous amount of coke rap, a subgenre in which the everyday logistics of drug distribution are described with such repetitious attention to detail that it sometimes feels like taking a seat at a corporate training seminar. I’ve never smoked, sold or synthesised crack cocaine, so it’s hard to say why coke rap is so important to me, but at this point I understand the mechanics of Jay-Z’s former vocation considerably better than I understand, for instance, what my flatmate does all day in her marketing job.

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