The Oxford dictionary definition of the word “cipher” is as follows:

An arithmetical symbol or character (0) of no value by itself, but which increases or decreases the value of other figures according to its position. When placed after any figure or series of figures in a whole number it increases the value of that figure or series tenfold, and when placed before a figure in decimal fractions, it decreases its value in the same proportion

Upon looking over this definition of a cipher over a few times, I can see how it relates to the circle that Jay-Z discusses on page 4. Outside the circle, people “barely make an impression.” However, when they are inside the circle, they are somehow transformed (4).

The positioning of the person in the circle gives them value, just like how we give celebrities or other famous people value by placing them into separate categories. Likewise, we can also devalue people by putting them in the circle, isolating them from the rest of the people. While the person in the circle is the one being transformed, it is the people on the outside who are responsible for judging this transformation.

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