Jay-Z has done it all in the rap game and in the board room. After releasing his classic debut, Reasonable Doubt Jay-Z returned with In My Lifetime Volume 1. We now have his third album, Hard Knock Life Volume 2 which propelled Jay-Z into superstardom. The album went on to sell over 5 million records and introduced the world to Ja Rule. Can I Get A was the first single off the album and the bouncy track featured Amil and Ja Rule. The track also appeared on the Rush Hour Soundtrack, which helped boost the song and album. The track instantly had everyone anticipating the album. In the process, it created a star in Ja Rule who went on to become a star himself. Hard Knock Life went on to sell over 350,000 copies in the first week of its release.
A few weeks after the release of the album, Jay-Z released the title track as his second single. Can I Get A was poppin in the clubs and everyone’s whips back then. With Hard Knock Life, the wordplay, lyrics and storytelling were on another level. What really got the song going were the kids singing the chorus, of course. Hard Knock Life has been called one of the best hip hop tracks ever and I won’t argue that. A few weeks later, Jay-Z released another single and it featured DMX. By now, DMX was a huge star himself after the success of his debut album, It’s Dark and Hell is Hot. The track was produced by Swizz Beatz and the title tells you everything you need to know about the record.
Besides Ja Rule and DMX, Jay-Z featured a plethora of artists. The Lox, Too Short, Beanie Sigel, Memphis Bleek, Foxy Brown and his mentor, Big Jaz appear. When it comes to the discography of Jay-Z, this is probably my 6th favorite album of his. If I Should Die, A Week Ago, Nigga What Nigga Who, Reservoir Dogs, It’s Alright and Money Ain’t a Thang are other top tracks. Check out the tracklisting and stream below.
- Intro- Hand It Down ft. Memphis Bleek
- Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)
- If I Should Die ft. Da Ranjahz
- Ride or Die
- Nigga What, Nigga Who (Da Originator 99) ft. Jaz-O
- Money, Cash, Hoes ft. DMX
- A Week Ago ft. Too Short
- Coming of Age (Da Sequel) ft. Memphis Bleek
- Can I Get A… ft. Ja Rule & Amil
- Paper Chase ft. Foxy Brown
- Reservoir Dogs ft. Beanie Sigel, Lox & Sauce Money
- It’s Like That ft. Kid Capri
- It’s Alirght ft. Memphis Bleek
- Money Ain’t a Thang ft. Jermain Dupri