According to Michael Eric Dyson’s JAY-Z: Made in America, which includes a foreword by Pharrell, Jay-Z is “one of the greatest poets this nation has produced.” He’s “America at its scrappy, brash, irreverent, soulful, ingenious best.” Dyson knows a lot about the rapper; the author, New York Times contributor and professor teaches a course on Jay-Z at Georgetown University.

In his new book, which he discusses tonight, Dyson doesn’t just breakdown the hip-hop icon’s lyrics. Dyson examines the three main themes — poetry, politics and “hustling” — that helped Jay-Z not only sell records and become the genre’s first billionaire (only the fifth African-American billionaire in the country behind Oprah and Michael Jordan), but made him the wokest wordsmith of his generation.

California African American Museum, 600 State Drive, Exposition Park; Fri., Dec. 13, 7-9 p.m.; free, RSVP required. (213) 744-7432,


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