Jay Z - In My Lifetime - VOL.1
In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 is the second studio album by Jay-Z, originally released on November 4, 1997, by Roc-A-Fella Records and Def Jam Recordings. The majority of the production is handled by Puff Daddy's production team The Hitmen from the Bad Boy label. Though the productions are just a bit flashier and more commercial than on his debut, Jay-Z remained the tough street rapper, and even improved a bit on his flow, already one of the best in the world of hip-hop. Still showing his roots in the Marcy projects (he's surrounded by a group of kids in a picture on the back cover), Jay-Z struts the line between project poet and up-and-coming player, and manages to have it both ways. He slings some of the most cutting rhymes heard in hip-hop, brushing off a legion of rappers riding his coattails onImaginary Player. For Streets Is Watching, high-tension background strings and vocal samples from the gangster film Sleeper emphasize the pitfalls of a rapper everyone's gunning for ("If I shoot you, I'm brainless / But if you shoot me, then you famous"). The song leads right into Friend or Foe '98, the sequel to a track from Reasonable Doubt that only increases the sense of paranoia. But Jay-Z plays the ghetto celebrity equally well, and continues his slick, Cristal-sipping image with I Know What Girls Like (featuring Puff Daddy and Lil' Kim), (Always Be My) Sunshine (featuring Babyface and Foxy Brown), and Lucky Me.