It’s hard to beat the entertainment value of people who deliberately misunderstand the world, people dying to be insulted, running around looking for a bullet to get in front of.

Art elevates and refines and transforms experience. And sometimes it just fucks with you for the fun of it.

I was on the streets for more than half of my life from the time I was thirteen years old. People sometimes say that now I’m so far away from that life–now that I’ve got businesses and Grammys and magazine covers–that I have no right to rap about it. But how distant is the story of your own life ever going to be?

Excerpt from Jay-Z’s New Book ‘Decoded’: Cristal’s Diss of Hip-Hop – TIME

The same goes for other brands: Timberland and Courvoisier, Versace and Maybach. We gave those brands a narrative, which is one of the reasons anyone buys anything: not just to own a product, but to become part of a story. […] It wasn’t just a premium champagne anymore — it was a prop in an exciting story, a portal into a whole world. Just by drinking it, we infused their product with our story, an ingredient that they could never bottle on their own.

Excerpt from Jay-Z’s New Book ‘Decoded’: Cristal’s Diss of Hip-Hop – TIME