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“Decoded” by Jay-Z And 6 Other Powerful Memoirs From Famous Rappers You Must Read Today

BY Abena Dzaka October 31, 2023 11:52 AM EDT
Photo Credit: Facebook @Rick Ross

The holidays are the ideal time of year to curl up with a good book and a warm beverage. But what happens if you’re unsure about where to begin? Fear not—we’ve got you covered with the definitive list of your favorite rappers’ best-selling memoirs.

There’s never been a better moment to stock your home library and mind with recommended books about life and rhymes. Hip-hop is 50 years old now, so it’s time to start reading some relevant material. If you love hip-hop and want to hear your favorite artistes, like Common, Gucci Mane, and Rick Ross, share their personal stories. Here are seven memoirs from some popular rappers.

“Hurricanes: A Memoir” by Rick Ross

Hurricanes: A Memoir by Rick Ross describes how the rapper, real name William Leonard Roberts II, overcame hardships to succeed in the music industry. The story starts with his early years in a dangerous neighborhood and continues through a difficult adolescence. The book paints an honest picture of one of hip-hop’s most formidable artistes. His compelling story follows his journey from signing his first major deal with Def Jam.

Adversity for Sale: Ya Gotta Believe by Jay “Jeezy” Jenkins

Jeezy’s was ranked 10th in Hardcover Nonfiction Books and among the top 10 on The New York Times Best Sellers list as of September 2023. The rapper’s autobiography, which Harper Collins published in August to commemorate hip-hop’s 50th anniversary, offers fans an intimate peek into his life and his struggles with depression and mental health, including what it took for him to beat the odds and get out of the streets and the lessons that changed his life and business.

Let Love Have the Last Word by Common

Named after his mantra, Common, a Grammy, Golden Globe, and Academy Award-winning actor and rapper, wrote the 2021 New York Times best-selling novel. “Let Love Have the Last Word” offers a raptivist’s perspective on God, self-love, partners, children, family, and community.

The Autobiography of Gucci Mane by Gucci Mane

Gucci Mane’s 2018 best-selling memoir, co-written with Neil Martinez-Belkin, was a New York Times bestseller. The rapper’s autobiography details the romance he shared with Keyshia Ka’oir, the highs and lows he experienced in the music industry, his experiences with violence and crime, and the profound insights that shaped the man and musician he is today.

Decoded by Jay-Z

In 2010 Jay-Z released Decoded on November 16. The New York rapper’s book debuted at No. 3 in the Hardcover Nonfiction category on The New York Times Best-Sellers List, trailing only Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken and the autobiography of former President George W. Bush, Decision Points.

Decoded is an anthology of lyrics and their interpretations that collectively narrate the tale of a society, a kind of art, and a turning point in the career of one of the most innovative and popular musicians of our time.

Ladies First: Revelations from a Strong Woman by Queen Latifah

Queen Latifah describes in her autobiography, Ladies First: Revelations from a Strong Woman, her journey from a Newark upbringing to becoming a major force in acting, music, and business. Her personal and professional lives are candidly described in this book, which is full of insightful observations on both her greatest setbacks and her most amazing victories.

Purpose: An Immigrant’s Story by Wyclef Jean

Purpose: An Immigrant’s Story by Wyclef Jean tells the story of a life marked by adversity, reflection, creativity, and survival. It also highlights Wyclef’s achievements as a solo artiste. This book is more than just an autobiography; it’s a master class in how to stand out from the crowd and have your voice heard. The book also sheds light on Wyclef’s contributions to the formation of the Fugees.