Jay-Z Explains ‘Lost Ones’ in Unreleased Excerpts From ‘Decoded’

Movies & TV

With the paperback/expanded version of Decoded due in stores on November 1st, Jay-Z released a few unread excerpts to be included in the new edition.

Jay-Z on how he picked what songs to decode:

Let me go back to the beginning: I sat in my studio one night at the start of the process of writing this book, trying to decide which songs to include. Throughout the night, different people came through the studio, including some of the people I’ve worked with closest throughout my career—my engineer, Young Guru; Memphis Bleek; Pharrell; Steve Stoute; dream hampton; and others. I was taking a break from finishing up the Blueprint 3 album, and hung out there for hours while people came and went, playing songs and telling stories, some of which made it into this book. Memphis Bleek told his side of the story of how we worked together on “Coming of Age,” Young Guru remembered that moving moment when Scarface rewrote his verses for “This Can’t Be Life,” Steve told us about how young corporate guys he knew were psyching themselves up for business meetings by listening to “Public Service Announcement” (and dream remembered the Dave Chappelle “When ‘Keeping It Real’ Goes Wrong” bit where a character did the same thing and got fired). (Read the full excerpt at RapRadar)

Jay-Z on “Lost Ones”:

It’s not a diss song, it’s just a real song / Feel me? // I heard motherfuckers saying they made Hov / Made Hov say, “Okay so, make another Hov”[1] / Niggaz wasn’t playing they day role / So we parted ways like Ben and J-Lo / I shoulda been did it but I been in a daze though / I put friends over business end of the day though / But when friends, business interests is they glow / Ain’t nothing left to say though / I guess weforgot what we came for / Shoulda stayed in food and beverage / Too much flossing/ Too much Sam Rothstein [2]

1 I recorded this song after a professional breakup, when a lot of things were being said about who was responsible for my success and how things would go in the future now that our initial team had broken up. I owe a lot of my success to a lot of people, but ultimately, no one made me. This is the kind of lie that people get told all the time, sometimes in romantic relationships, sometimes in their professional lives: that somehow who they are is a result of other people’s investment in them. It’s vital to resist that or you risk losing yourself; as I say in another song, Remind yourself / nobody built like you / you design yourself. 2 Sam Rothstein is a character in the movie Casino. In the film he pretended to be the “food and beverage” manager of a casino, while running the operation for the mob behind the scenes. The movie turns when Rothstein makes an appearance on television and starts drawing publicity for himself, a shift into the limelight that destroys everything he’d worked for. (Read the full excerpt at NYMag)