After the death of friend and compatriot the Notorious B.I.G. in early 1997, Jay-Z made his claim for the title of best rapper on the East Coast (or anywhere) with his sophomore shot, In My Lifetime, Vol. 1. 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 on "Imaginary 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." Puff Daddy's Bad Boy stable is responsible for almost half the productions, and though they often verge far into pop territory, Jay-Z usually rescues them from a complete crossover. (Ironically, the most commercial production is actually from Teddy Riley on "The City Is Mine," with an unfortunate interpolation of Glenn Frey's "You Belong to the City.") Having one of the toughest producers around (Premier) as well as one of the slickest (Puff Daddy) sometimes creates a disconnect between who Jay-Z really is and who he wants to become, but he balances both personas with the best rapping heard in the rap game since the deaths of 2Pac and Notorious B.I.G.
Performance CreditsJay-Z Primary Artist
Babyface Track Performer
Earth Background Vocals
Foxy Brown Track Performer
Blackstreet Track Performer
Karen Anderson Vocals
DJ Premier scratching
Too $hort Track Performer
Kelly Price Vocals
Sauce Money Track Performer
Chad Hugo Saxophone
George Fontenette Keyboards
Technical CreditsSean "Puffy" Combs Producer
DJ Premier Producer
Clark Kent Producer
Michael Patterson Engineer
Joe Quinde Engineer
Teddy Riley Producer,Engineer
Eddie Sancho Engineer
Doug Wilson Engineer
Serban Ghenea Engineer
George Meyers Engineer
Glen Marchese Engineer
Nasheim Myrick Producer
Deric "D-Dot" Angelettie Producer
Stevie J. Producer
Lane Craven Engineer
Paul J. Falcone Engineer
Big Jaz Producer
Damon Dash Executive Producer
Shawn Carter Executive Producer
Anthony Dent Producer
Ron "Amen-Ra" Lawrence Producer
Jean Claude "Poke" Olivier Composer
Daven "Prestige" Vanderpool Producer
Kareem "Biggs" Burke Executive Producer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In My Lifetime based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Jay-Z was one of the best rappers and still is but this is probably his best work ever.
Jay-z the brooklyn B-Boy comes to us with an album that can be considered a funky street classic! The album is an excellent mix of 80's pop hooks and just some straight up soul as only jay-z can accomplish. The rhyming is also very quick clear and precisely crisp to say the least! Well in this jay-z's latest installment i tip my hat off to the fellow brooklyn native!
This album is the weakest album Jay ever cam out with. Everybody say he the best but I really don't think so. He never came with complete albums but this one is the weakest so far.
Thsi is by far the best work Jay-Z has ever put out. With the deaths of Pac and Biggie he is the best lyricist of this era.
Although some view this disc as a failure follow-up to Reasonable Doubt, I think that this album was and should have been another hit for Mr. Shawn Carter. Nobody does it these days better than J-A-Y.
young's in the building it's the boy the trend setter and all that. never can i hate on jay of all his great albums i'd probably say this is one of his less great but none the less it's still great and a must have. the intro is one of the best ever and songs like where im from are what create jay fans like myself. the only thing close to a short comming in this album is the fact that this was the time of puff daddy and mase shinny this and that so on a fer songs jay kinda switched it up to go along with that formula on sunshine(which is not jays flava)i know what girls like and who you with wich is a good song. but every other song is great and you must love me is deep and real a perfect way to end the cd. So if you happen to be so behind and dont have this cd go cop that like now.