“We were kids without fathers, so we found our fathers on wax and on the streets and in history, and in a way, that was a gift,” he writes near the end of this provocative, evocative book. “We got to pick and choose the ancestors who would inspire the world we were going to make for ourselves. That was part of the ethos of that time and place, and it got built in to the culture we created. Rap took the remnants of a dying society and created something new. Our fathers were gone, usually because they just bounced, but we took their old records and used them to build something fresh.”
From Michiko Kakutani’s review of Jay-Z’s Decoded.
n. the cringe of embarrassment while witnessing an oddly public display of emotional vulnerability, which is the kind of magic trick a good magician never explains—the forces of trust obscured behind a curtain, an endless chain of memories pulled gradually from an open mouth, sparks of rage and bouquets of affection that appear out of nowhere—which allows people to try to figure it out for themselves, watching the stage intently while the magician scans the crowd, looking for volunteers.