Jay-Z by Michael Eric Dyson


"Dyson's incisive analysis of JAY-Z's brilliance not only offers a brief history of hip-hop's critical place in American culture, but also hints at how we can best move forward." —QuestloveJAY-Z: Made in America is the fruit of Michael Eric Dyson’s decade of teaching the work of one of the greatest poets this nation has produced, as gifted a wordsmith as Walt Whitman, Robert Frost and Rita Dove. But as a rapper, he’s sometimes not given the...

Details Jay-Z

Release DateNov 26th, 2019
PublisherSt. Martin's Press
GenreNonfiction, Biography, Music

Reviews Jay-Z

  • Donna Hines
    "In many ways, this is JAY-Zs America as much as its Pelosis America, or Trumps America, or Martin Luther Kings America. JAY-Z has given this country a language to think with and words to live by.""This book wrestles with the biggest themes of JAY-Z's career, including hustling, and it recognizes the way that hes always weaved politics into his music, making important statements about race, criminal justice, black wealth and social injustice. As ...
  • Manny
    Not my cup of tea. Was looking for a book on the life and success of a great musician and business man. I am a big fan of Jay Z and have been since his early work in music, clothing, liquor, and record empire. I bought this book because it was 2019 and wanted to get the most updated book. However this book turned out to be what I perceived as a politically, racially charged book I did not want to read. I did not finish it so I may have acted in h...
  • Yesenia Juarez
    Michael Eric Dyson can do no wrong, I loved how he broke down Jays lyrics and my most favorite section is when he mentioned Nipsey. Rest In Peace young black King. Michael Eric Dyson can do no wrong, I loved how he broke down Jay’s lyrics and my most favorite section is when he mentioned Nipsey. Rest In Peace young black King.
  • Jenn
    Humans have always been resourceful they find ways to increase power and status, even when it means inventing and convincing others of the validity of something. For example at a time when Frances relative power and strength was troubled, Louis XIV basically invented luxury lifestyle and merchandise fabrics, clothing, perfumes and furniture in the 16th century, and his ambassadors became marketing managers, selling an idea that possessions of...
  • Chase Preston
    Unfortunately this book reads like a secret admirers narrative about Jay-Zs social and political agenda with a few nods to his economic success. I was interested in hearing more about his life story with personal insights on the challenges he had to overcome to rise to the top. Yet this book just reinforces the impact he had on society, and all the problems with the world today. Where the Beastie Boys book succeeded, this one failed. Unfortunat...
  • Erika
    I think I used all of my brain power for 2020 trying to keep up with Dyson's remarkable vocabulary. I loved the concept of the book. I didn't love the execution of it.
  • Brandon Forsyth
    Michael Eric Dyson proves he is a Stan... maybe of himself most of all. This is a meandering collection of thoughts on how hip hop reflects and creates Black culture, with occasional reflections on Jay-Zs place in that rich tapestry. If youd like to read about Mr. Dysons plane trip with the late Nipsey Hussle or his history of reporting on figures like Martin Luther King Jr., you may enjoy this book, but if you bought it for some penetrating insi...
  • LiteraryMarie
    Your fave could never be labeled one of the best poets ever. Your fave would not publicly apologize to his wife via a whole album. Your fave is not the fifth black billionaire. Surely your fave could not stay relevant for so long. Your fave just cannot. Periodt.From rap to boardroom to his own lane, JAY-Z is deeper than just a former street hustler turned rapper. He beat the odds! So when I got the opportunity to read and review an advance copy o...
  • Laura Forbes
    Very dense. Will probably read again but need some fluff in the meantime. Learned a lot.
  • Arlo
    My first time reading Dyson and his prose is as good as his oratory skills. I was hoping to be immersed in his class on Jay Z by reading the book, but in actuality he just skims the surface. The book is about Jay Z, but uses some anecdotes about him to focus on macro issues within the black community and Jay's role as a historical figure. There's some controversial stuff towards the end where he draws parallels of Jay's infidelity and MLK and bla...
  • Darius Washington
    Not what I expected, but still a good read.
  • Nathan Peart
    I really respect the knowledge and vigor with which Dyson disseminates information. However, I was greatly disappointed with this book and could not finish it. He has an amazing command of the English language but this book did not provide any further insight to what I already knew about Jay Z. Perhaps I wouldve appreciated this book if he provided scholarly research to pair with the points that he attempted to make via Jay-Zs lyrics. I really ...
  • Justice
    DecentBut it seems he loses his way a bit in chapter 3. He starts discussing Al Sharpton, Lil Wayne, The Game, Martin Luther King, Bill Cosby and R. Kelly. It seems that he begins to use this platform to discuss things that were important to him, but unrelated to Jay-Z and the theme of the book. I also find it interesting that when he discusses Bill Cosby whos been found guilty, he uses the word allegedly. But when he discusses R. Kelly he doesnt...
  • KamariLyrikal
    As an admirer of Jay Z's work, I couldn't wait to read this book. This is like a tribute, an award, a thank you, a gift, a way to show appreciation to a legend. It touched on all major parts of his life and broke down some of his most controversial lyrics. It even broke down his lyrics when he confessed his infidelity issues.Through this book, Michael Dyson is showing appreciation now, while he is alive, which is what I love. For fans of Jay Z th...
  • Carey Calvert
    I wondered how long it would take preeminent scholar Michael Eric Dyson to somehow swing the narrative of Jay Z: Made in America, to himself. It took longer than I expected; approximately 180 pages in of a 200 page paen to Hov as Dyson attempts to tie MLK's, Cosby's and R Kelly's many moral failings, despite the good each has mustered. ... but why a book on Jay now? He's not releasing anything of consequence and has already secured his place in t...
  • Shannan Harper
    Although I'm not a rap fan, nor can I name the title of a song by Jay-Z, I thought this was a very well written and interesting book about Mr. Carter. It's very informative about his life, as well as some other's in the rap community. I surprisingly really enjoyed reading this book. I received a copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All Thoughts and opinions are my own
  • Essence Taylor
    I don't know how I feel about this book. I thought it would be about Jay-Z; which it was, but it was mostly about America, and how it shaped Jay-Z. Hence: made in America part. Other people were mentioned in the book as well, like Biggie, Nas, LeBron James and MLK. Some at great length, which I don't think I liked too much. At one point while reading chapter 3, I felt I was reading about MLK; even though I understand where the author was going: c...
  • Helen
    a tedious read
  • Alex Bear
    I have only read essays by M.E.D. so this is my first foray into his biographies, and man, is this one of the coolest books I've read. It seems that everyone was expecting a true biography of HOVA, and they were kind of let down. So I recommend listening to any of Dyson's talks on YT or reading a few of his essays to know what you're getting into. Other wise pick up Decoded or Empire State of Mind: How Jay-Z Went From Street Corner to Corner Offi...
  • June
    Jay-Z, I careless than a dream to be a rapper I dare,more than a J Timberlake concert he share.Caught Dyson rhyme on radio,His little black book having me in tow.His enthusiasms overflow,but remark of Jay-Z being an intellectual,not overblown.Golden texts dazzle my eyesin a world of silver white.Hustle in song Rap in thumpIm no longer blind. Jay-Z, I careless than a dream to be a rapper I dare,more than a J Timberlake concert he share.Caught Dy...
  • Josh
    It's obvious who Dyson's audience is for this book, and it wasn't me. He makes obvious statements based on Jay Z's lyrics that you don't need advanced degrees to understand.He didn't interview Jay Z for the book, so the reader gets no extra insight into the artist. And, Dyson cherry picks lyrics to prove his point, which, in my opinion, weakens his case. I'm not saying Jay Z isn't one of the greats, but selecting lyrical gems from a career as lon...
  • Cecelia
    This was very misleading. Definitely not a bio, more of an analysis of Jay-Z's lyrics. Very academic, reads like a textbook. And, Dyson strays off topic a lot. The beginning of the book was all about LeBron James, and the end was about MLK, Jr. Dyson did give me a much more thorough understanding and appreciation of Jay-Z's skill and craft. But, overall not a worthwhile read.
  • Barbara McVeigh
    Thought this books was a biography about Jay-Z. Happily, it is a book of essays regarding Jay-Zs hustle, poetics, and politics in America.Trying to think of a way to use this book with students. Essays are on the long side and the American context would need to be contrasted to Canadas. Thought this books was a biography about Jay-Z. Happily, it is a book of essays regarding Jay-Z’s hustle, poetics, and politics in America.Trying to think of ...
  • J.W. Martin
    The good people at NetGalley and St. Martins Press provided me with a digital ARC of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.Ive always had respect for Jay-Z. I havent been a listener since the beginning, but I started tuning in about 15 years ago. Anyone who can get to the top of the charts and stay there for DECADES is certainly doing something right. What this book did was show me the side of the story I wasnt paying attention to. T...
  • Marvin
    Michael Eric Dyson is a master wordsmith, brilliant scholar and provocative cultural critic. Being a longtime fan of both Dyson's work and Jay-Z, picking up this book was a no-brainer. That said, I expected a lot more from this book. Nothing here felt particularly new or groundbreaking, it almost felt like something that could've been condensed and published in an online essay. I will say that I've read and learned a lot about Jay-Z over the year...
  • Corey Burton
    Decent read...it wasn't what I thought it was going to be. It was cool to hear about his love of and admiration of Jay Z and his lyrics and mentality, but I thought it would be more....Maybe I thought Jay Z himself would be reflected more and have commentary? It was underwhelming, though worth the read. I also haven't really studied Jay Z's lyrics, but after reading this, I really want to delve deeper. My favorite quote/lyric was "to be yourself ...
  • Danielle Jeffcoat Wilson
    First off- this is not a bio in case thats what you expect. This is a sociological study with an artist and pioneer at the center. As a social worker with a degree in history and political science, I soaked up this unpacking of the social implications of a street-drug-dealer turned billionaire and his influence on culture. As a white woman whose career has mostly been spent working with black urban-dwellers, I found this to be an important read i...
  • Anthony Locke
    Was hoping for more of a biography, but Dyson's book was a cultural analysis of Jay-Z's influence on hip hop culture, American culture at large, and social justice movements. The book reads a bit more like a series of long-form articles than a biography. Got to learn a bit about Jay-Z as an artist, politician, and social justice advocate.
  • Peggy
    An in depth look at one of the most enduring poets of our time. The history of hip hop is a big part of this story.Entertaining, enjoyable and fascinating.I loved it.