NOW A NEW YORK TIMES,USA TODAY, AND PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY BESTSELLER
"Dyson writes with the affection of a fan but the rigor of an academic. ... Using extensive passages from Jay-Z’s lyrics, 'Made in America' examines the rapper’s role as a poet, an aesthete, an advocate for racial justice and a business, man, but devotes much of its energy to Hova the Hustler." —Allison Stewart, The Washington Post
"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."—Questlove
JAY-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 credit he deserves for just how great an artist he’s been for so long.
This book wrestles with the biggest themes of JAY-Z's career, including hustling, and it recognizes the way that he’s always weaved politics into his music, making important statements about race, criminal justice, black wealth and social injustice. As he enters his fifties, and to mark his thirty years as a recording artist, this is the perfect time to take a look at JAY-Z’s career and his role in making this nation what it is today.
In many ways, this is JAY-Z’s America as much as it’s Pelosi’s America, or Trump’s America, or Martin Luther King’s America. JAY-Z has given this country a language to think with and words to live by.
Featuring a Foreword by Pharrell
If you’re buying this book to know more about your favorite artist, don’t do it because only 20% of this book talks about Jay-Z. The 80% of this book is about racism, which the author seems to be very obsessed to talk about. I don’t have anything against the books about Civil Right or the books that tell Black history whatsoever. But when I’m buying a book about Jay-Z, I want to know more about him, his career, his mindset, his goals and how he achieved them. A great example of such book is 50 Cent’s “Hustle Harder, Hustle Smarter”. But here the author tries to push an agenda that it’s white folks fault that black communities live in poverty, whereas the same artist he is talking about came out of similar community and is one if the richest man in the world. In brief, if you’re interested in reading about Black history this book will tell you a lot, but if you want to read about Jay-Z go find another book this NOT what you’re looking for.15
I wouldn’t have expected any less from Dyson the genius. After reading the book you will see more clearly many critical historical connections to art through the view of Jay Z’s lyrics filled with poetic gems. I must admit I was one of those who admired Jay-Z’s skills and the production, but struggled with his earlier heavy references to drug culture. I began seeing it different through Decoded and now this masterpiece by Dr Dyson as well Jay-Z’s 4-44 is a classic and game changer. Seeing documentation of maturity in black art tied to black life, great artifact here. And it’s a fun read, not overbearing at all. Great job.55