Jay-Z and Cornel West discussion simulcasted today at Minneapolis Central Library


The Jigga penned a memoir. Co-written with journalist dream hampton (Source, Village Voice, SPIN), Decoded unpacks Shaun Carter's journey from Brooklyn to Manhattan -- the rote tale of pauper to prince, sardines to steak -- and explicates his most famous lyrics, explaining the density and personal inspirations sitting just sub-dermal throughout the rapper's best work.

[jump] The press campaign Carter assembled for the book has been remarkably grandiose and experimental, its centerpiece being a New York City-wide scavenger hunt; each page of the book hidden in spots steeped in Carter's history, left for fans and sharp eyes to decode and interpret. 

Tonight Carter's infallible curation of his image continues as he sits down with Professor Cornel West at the New York Public Library for a talk between two of the most intellectually honest personalities in American culture, to be simulcast in libraries across the country, including Minneapolis's Central Library downtown.

For those who are scratching their heads, Cornel West is a famous man. You really should know his name. He was in The Matrix. He's been at the forefront of modern philosophy and American race politics for almost forty years. He's attended and accredited from every Ivy League school (not really, but practically). He's an outspoken critic of Jay-Z's downtime. A "bluesman of the life of the mind." Here he is speaking to Craig Ferguson last week, wherein he discusses nothing saleable (including his imminent powwow) but gives you a healthy peek into his large, joyous brain:

Amidst the fray from last week's lamentably above-the-fold emotion triangle between George Bush, Kanye West, and Matt Lauer, and in direct contention with the straight bitchy tone that Keith Richards' recent memoir has been angled with, the talk between Professor West and Mr. Carter will, in a perfect world, be a chance for two moguls of disparate worlds to lend us a bit of their sanity.

The Minneapolis Central Library (300 Nicollet Mall) will be broadcasting the discussion at 6PM tonight. Signed copies of Decoded will be for sale.