Jay-Z Accused Of Plagiarizing Parts Of His Memoir

Jay-Z Accused Of Plagiarism

He's got 99 problems and now his book is one. Jay-Z has been served with a hand-written lawsuit alleging that parts of his 2010 memoir, Decoded, were plagiarized. A writer named Patrick White claims that he was writing a book of his own when his computer was stolen in 2009, and next thing he knew, "various expressions/colors/phrases, which correlates to my work" were popping up in Jay-Z's best-seller.

White, who is suing for unspecified damages, says he filed the copyright infringement and invasion of property suit after attempting to contact the book's co-author, Dream Hampton, and getting no reply. In addition to the hip-hop artist/producer/entrepreneur/actor, Hampton and Random House are also named in the lawsuit. AllHipHop.com scanned in the four hand-written pages if you're into reading legal documents.

The book is a combination of hip-hop history, lyrical interpretations, and memoir. It seems like tough stuff to steal (though admittedly, I haven't read it). Has anybody read Decoded? What do you think of the lawsuit?

Image via Decoded

Kimberly Turner

News by Kimberly Turner

Kimberly Turner is an internet entrepreneur, DJ, editor, beekeeper, linguist, traveler, and writer. This either makes her exceptionally well-rounded or slightly crazy; it’s hard to say which. She spent a decade as a journalist and magazine editor in Australia and the U.S. and is now working (very, very slowly) on her first novel. She holds a B.A. in Creative Writing and an M.A. in Applied Linguistics and lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, two cats, ten fish, and roughly 60,000 bees.

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ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading Wanderers by Chuck Wendig June 20, 2012 - 12:14pm

"various expressions/colors/phrases, which correlates to my work"


So...like slang? What?! This seems a little ridiculous--Jay Z sent some people to go steal this hitherto unknown man's computer so he could steal "expressions/colors/phrases" from it? The man is a rapper, he makes a living coming up with "expressions/colors/phrases"...I guess I don't buy it.

WesFord's picture
WesFord from America (CO, NE, NC, AK, NY, WA) is reading We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson, Portable Atheist by Hitchens, 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill June 20, 2012 - 1:03pm

I have the same problem! Jokes I tell my friends always seem to pop up in Daniel Tosh/Louis C.K./Demetri Martin comedy specials. Thiefs I say! THIEFS!

mvidafar's picture
mvidafar from New York is reading All My Friends Are Superheroes June 20, 2012 - 1:28pm

This is nonsense. Jay-Z got help with his prose, but the lyrics were and continue to be his own, and his explanations of them are not beyond or deliniated in their style from Jay's songs or speech.


In addition, hand writing a lawsuite? 



Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated June 27, 2012 - 8:19am

You have to admit that it would be the perfect crime.

"Hey I know that I'm a multimillionaire who can afford he best ghost writers in the world, and has the connections to get even better ones, but you know what I want you to do man? Go steal this random guy no one has ever head of's laptop so I can put his stuff in my book. You know why? Because that is funny."