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Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life

Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life

by Jay-Z Jay-Z
Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life

Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life

by Jay-Z Jay-Z


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Although he's still quite young, Jay-Z is a hip-hop veteran with roots in the music dating back to the late '80s, when he was a protégé of Big Jaz and a friend of Big Daddy Kane. Seeing how label troubles hampered Kane's career, Jay (née Shawn Carter) started his own imprint, Roc-a-Fella, and began working his way up the platinum-Rolex-and-diamond-bracelet encrusted ladder. On VOL. 2:HARD KNOCK LIFE, he expands on the methods -- and successes -- of its predecessors, REASONABLE DOUBT and IN MY LIFETIME, VOL. 1. Jay-Z brings superior rhyme skills to the table, and though his lyrical playing field of gangstas, shorties, and playa hatas is hardly groundbreaking, his tales feature rare depth. In his stories of crime and violence, the shady characters aren't stereotypes but thinking, breathing, almost sympathetic personae, and his take on a hard-knock childhood in the title track is poignant cinema verité. Musically, Jay-Z boldly pushes the envelope into areas that would make a lesser rapper seem soft, with the title track sampling a song from the Broadway play "Annie" (leapin' lizards!) and the hit "Can I Get A..." wearing the cheerful veneer of a '60s packaged-food commercial. This recording won a Grammy in 1999. Jay-Z, however, boycotted the ceremony, citing a lack of hip-hop representation among the featured performers.

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Product Details

Release Date: 09/29/1998
Label: Roc-A-Fella
UPC: 0731455890228
catalogNumber: 558902
Rank: 2820


  1. Hand It Down (Intro)
  2. Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)
  3. If I Should Die
  4. Ride or Die
  5. Nigga What, Nigga Who (Originator 99)
  6. Money, Cash, Hoes
  7. A Week Ago
  8. Coming of Age (Da Sequel)
  9. Can I Get A...
  10. Paper Chase
  11. Reservoir Dogs
  12. It's Like That
  13. It's Alright
  14. Money Ain't a Thang

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Jay-Z   Primary Artist
Foxy Brown   Track Performer
Kid Capri   Track Performer
DMX   Track Performer
Jermaine Dupri   Track Performer
Too $hort   Track Performer
Big Jaz   Track Performer
Sauce Money   Track Performer
Jake Carter   Guitar
Ja Rule   Vocals,Rap,Track Performer
Memphis Bleek   Track Performer
Amil   Track Performer

Technical Credits

Tony Black   Engineer
Jimmy Douglass   Engineer
Jermaine Dupri   Producer
Joe Quinde   Engineer
Eddie Sancho   Engineer
Erick Sermon   Producer
Doug Wilson   Engineer
Mike Rew   Engineer
Damon Dash   Producer,Executive Producer
Shawn Carter   Executive Producer
Patrick Viala   Engineer
Kasseem Dean   Composer

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