VIDEO: “Decoded: Jay-Z in Conversation with Cornel West” (NYC Public Library)

Reason #1,265 why living in New York City is so f-cking dope: nights like the one last at The New York City Public Library when the incomparable Shawn Carter shared a stage for nearly two hours with the inimitable Dr. Cornel West. They discussed artistic process, the cultural significance of hip-hop, and just humanity in general. Jay’s long-awaited memoir/lyrical compendium, Decoded, provided the catalyst for their meditations which went far beyond a cheap marketing opportunity which it was never in danger of becoming with the Good Doctor West in the house.

These gentlemen are probably my two favorite living celebrities today and I was dying to attend this event. Alas, it was sold out, but the whole thing was streamed live and still available to watch in its entirety. Click the photo below for the link.

Photo courtesy MTV

Video

RZA Drops Knowledge At Barnes and Noble

Two weeks ago it was Dr. Cornel West, tonight it was The RZA. Barnes and Noble in Union Square, Manhattan got their sh*t on lock!

The Tao Of Wu (The RZA)

The RZA just released his book, The Tao of Wu, an enlightening memoir which is one part autobiography, one part spiritual guidebook. It’s relatively short (I read like a third of it just while I was sitting waiting for RZA to get there). It’s well-written and should be thoroughly engaging to both hip-hop fans and those interested in bettering themselves (and the world) through spiritual channels. I really mean it: it’s that illuminative and honest a work.

The RZA At Barnes and Noble

During the short time he was on stage, RZA spoke eloquently and earnestly about his difficult past and how those experiences, career successes, and ongoing spiritual journey have informed his life thus far. He maneuvered easily and with obvious knowledge between Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, the entertainment industry, and, of course, martial arts movies. He’s truly a renaissance man for the hip-hop generation; a philosopher and truth-seeker borne out of the hardest housing projects in NYC. Yet, for me, he’s oddly relatable. Probably because, at his core, he’s just a huge nerd who likes to read books about sh*t. It’s strangely edifying to learn that one of your favorite hardcore rappers is just a sentimental book jockey like yourself.

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