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.
Performance CreditsJay-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 CreditsTony 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
Kasseem Dean Composer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Hard Knock Life based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Yo I don't know how he does it but he gets better and better.. He's really changing the game with this one...Jay-z is the hottest mc out notice I said mc.. He really make sense with every thing he say's and not jus talkin bout nothing like most people in the game... Great LP
Love This Album One Of his best If you like this album you definitely need to check out "Crack Addiction" Jay Z with DJ Bobby Black.
jay z is the best lyrical rapper since big daddy cane and rakim.
I thought he was supposed to be so talented. Get a vocabulary, Jay-Z!
Although Jay-Z has made many hits that crossover from his past street life on his previous records, none with the force of Vol.2. This propelled him into the mainstream America selling multi-platinum status and solidifying his presence as a serious rap artist amongst other notables at that time. Tracks like his lead single that alerted us all of his songwriting, Hard Knock Life, a tune with the catchy Annie lyrics made that song definetly stand out. Others like the dance-ready Can I Get A... packed discos and made everyone sing along. In addition, while his pop songs are scatterred in the album, it still never loses it thug appeal and street credibility. It's Like That, Money, Cash, Hoes and Reservoir Dogs keep the album potent, chock full of hard rhymes and equally hard beats. Jay-Z really came into his own within this album, and has since proved to be an international sensation.
Man all I can say is listen to it and listen to it good.. Cause there is no other Jigga and there will neva b anotha Jigga.. All of these joints go hard...This CD is highly recommended and he has the hardest beats to flow on and only he can do it.. He makes the beats better the beats don't make his songs like a lot of other artist....