“Decoded” is the autobiography and memoir of Jay-Z, published by Random House and released November 16th, 2010 on Hardcover and November 1st, 2011 on Paperback. The book combines lyrics, their explanations, anecdotes, reflections, and autobiographical information. Jay also dedicates one paragraph to Eminem, where he writes:
“The not-so-funny shit is that Pac and Biggie were perfectly safe before they started rapping; they weren’t being hunted by killers until they got into music. Biggie was on the streets before he started releasing music, but he never had squads of shooters (or the Feds) coming after him until he was famous. And Pac wasn’t even heavy in the street. It wasn’t till he was a rapper that he started getting shot at, locked up, stalked by the cops — and eventually murdered.
I was reminded of this when I recorded “Moment of Clarity” with Eminem for The Black Album. It was 2003 and he was on top of the music world — three major multiplatinum albums, twenty million sold, a number one film with 8 Mile, and on and on. He was probably the biggest star in the world. When we met at the studio, I reached over to give him a pound, and when we bumped, I could feel that he had on a bulletproof vest. Here was Eminem, someone who was doing the thing he loved and succeeding at it probably beyond his wildest dreams, and he had to wear a bulletproof vest. To the studio. He should’ve been on a boat somewhere enjoying himself without a care in the world, not worrying about getting shot up on his way to work.
It’s easy to take shots at performers when they seem to self-destruct. But there’s another way to look at it. When you reach that top level, there’s suddenly so much to deal with on all fronts—you have old friends and distant family who are suddenly close, people who feel like they should be getting rich from your success. You have a target on your back from other people — rappers, hustlers, angry cops — who feel like your success should be theirs. You have to deal with lawyers and accountants, and you have to be able to trust these people you’re just meeting with everything you have. There’s just more of everything. Women, money, “friends,” piles of whatever your vice is. There’s enough of whatever you love to kill you. That kind of sudden change can destabilize even the most grounded personality. And that’s when you lose yourself — like the Eminem song says, superstardom’s close to a post-mortem.”
Click on the cover of the book below to open the PDF version (Eminem’s part is at 61st page).
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