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Jay-Z: In My Lifetime, Vol. 1: The Upstart Stakes Claim as Heir to the Throne

podcast December 31, 1969

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B. Cox looks back at Jay-Z's second studio album In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 as it turns 25. After a critical, yet not lucratively commercially, success of his classic debut Reasonable Doubt the previous year, the Brooklyn emcee looked to elevate his game and take the spot as the "King of New York" after the death of his fellow Brooklyn emcee and friend the Notorious B.I.G. that March.

While sticking with previous collaborators producers DJ Premier and Ski, the sophomore album also featured production from a litany of new collaborators including Nashiem Myrick, Amen-Ra,Stevie J, Teddy Riley, D-Dot and others. The album features his signature flow over about tales off lavish life, hustling, street life and ills of ghetto life mix all together seamlessly.

The album features many singles that many fans point to as Jay-Z favorites such as "A Million and One Questions", "Street Is Watching", "Imaginary Players" and "Where I'm From". The album also features tracks with more of a commercial feel such as "Sunshine" featuring Foxy Brown and Babyface and "The City Is Mine" featuring BlackSTREET. Some say that it was an effect of the "Jiggy" era coming into success earlier in the year as a means for Jay to achieve better commercial success than his debut. Some fans lamented that those and others like it on the album made the album inconsistent.

The album was certified platinum began a run in which Jay-Z would become the biggest rapper in the game by the beginning of the new millennium.

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Show Notes

Albumism: Jay-Z's In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 Turns 25 | Anniversary Retrospective


Nuance Magazine: Throwback Thursday: In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 by Jay-Z (25th Anniversary)


Complex: Jay-Z Admits His In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 Album "Haunts" Him


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