Jay Z Language is essential to an artist. Language does not always necessarily mean verbal. There is so much to be expressed and everyone expresses differently. The environment where one grows up in and cultivates in has a huge influence on what and how language is used. This ultimately has an effect on how sexuality and identity is cultured in a person. Someone who is from New York City, like Jay Z, would not have the same vernacular as someone from Dallas, Texas.
Decoded is a memoir written by Jay Z and talks about his early life, his experiences, his political views, what influenced him, what inspired him and his thoughts about what defines him. He makes a clear statement about how he believes that no one should be defined by society. Throughout the memoir Jay Z almost translates his lyrics to some of his songs for the audience. He includes the popular song 99 problems. “If you’re having girl problems I feel bad for you son / I got 99 problems but a bitchy mint one” is the line and Jay Z explains it as “In this verse, the bitchy is a female dog, the K-9 cop coming to sniff the ride.
When I was living my version of this story, we got away – the K-9 unit was late, and the cop let me go. We were back on the road again, hearts pounding, crack still tucked untouched in the stash, when I saw the k-9 unite screaming up the high way going in the opposite direction” (61). He ties this into his past as a dealer which started when he was very young and how he knew that since most people had not gone through what he had, audiences would not understand what he meant by using the word “bitchy.
Jay Z says that it is what seems to be the punch line, making it seem like the last word someone gets. He says that most rappers include this infamous line in their songs, “Their voices were big, like their beats, but naturally slick, like hustlers’. The rhymes were crisp and aggressive” (9). This hints to the notion of masculinity needing to be emphasized. He also mentions that he knew the use of that specific word would cause a riot in some people who do not truly listen and he was excited to see the outcome.