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Vol. 2, Hard Knock Life Explicit Lyrics

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Audio CD, Explicit Lyrics, September 29, 1998
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Vol. 2, Hard Knock Life + Volume 3: The Life & Times of S Carter + In My Lifetime 1
Price for all three: $24.37

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description


Only an artist of Jay-Z's stature could have survived the indignity of In My Lifetime, Vol. 1, his stunningly poor second LP, and remain standing as one of the premier lyricists of his generation. Like Biggie did on Life After Death, Jay-Z diversifies his style here--with the Timbaland-laced "Nigga What, Nigga Who" and the dialogue "Coming of Age" (which revisits the young hustler from Jay-Z's first LP, Reasonable Doubt)--demonstrating that even when experimenting with flow, he can still crush his peers. Though the album falters notably at the end (the lazy funk of "Paper Chase," "Reservoir Dogs," and "It's Like That" could be safely cut without incident), Shawn Carter has nonetheless reclaimed his mantle as rap's leading don. --Jon Caramanica

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Intro - Hand It Down [feat. Memphis Bleek] [Explicit]Jay-Z 2:56$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem) [Explicit]Jay-Z 3:58$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  3. If I Should Die [feat. Da Ranjahz] [Explicit]Jay-Z 4:55$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Ride Or Die [Explicit]Jay-Z 4:48$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Nigga What, Nigga Who (Originator 99) [feat. Big Jaz] [Explicit]Jay-Z 3:53$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Money, Cash, Hoes [feat. DMX] [Explicit]Jay-Z 4:46$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  7. A Week Ago [feat. Too Short] [Explicit]Jay-Z 5:00$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Coming Of Age (Da Sequel) [feat. Memphis Bleek] [Explicit]Jay-Z 4:21$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Can I Get A... [feat. Amil] [Explicit]Jay-Z 5:09$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen10. Paper Chase [feat. Foxy Brown] [Explicit]Jay-Z 4:34$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Reservoir Dogs [feat. L.O.X.] [Explicit]Jay-Z 5:19$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. It's Like That [feat. Kid Capri] [Explicit]Jay-Z 3:45$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen13. It's Alright [Explicit]JAY-Z and Memphis Bleek 4:01$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen14. Money Ain't A Thang [feat. JD] [Explicit]Jay-Z 4:13Album Only

Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 29, 1998)
  • Original Release Date: September 29, 1998
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Explicit Lyrics
  • Label: Roc-a-Fella
  • ASIN: B00000AFF9
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (449 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,330 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Jay-Z is one of the most popular and financially successful hip-hop artists in the world. His success has come from his own work, including hugely successful albums like Vol.2... Hard Knock Life and The Blueprint, and from his work with most of rap's A-list performers; he has helped a host of artists start or advance their careers.

Jay-Z was one of the co-creators of the independent ... Read more in Amazon's Jay-Z Store

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Customer Reviews

Best Jay-Z album ever.
Prestley Snipes
Really, without these three songs, this is a 5 star album, because the rest are good and a handful are classic.
Jay and Bleek do hot like normal and ride the weird beat pretty good.
J. Cummins

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Benjy on November 6, 2005
Format: Audio CD
There is a lot of hate around this album, mainly because it was the one that brought Jay-Z into the mainstream circuit.

It isn't as good as his previous 2 releases, Reasonable Doubt being certified classic by just about everyone who has heard it, and In My Lifetime being the most underrated album in the last decade, but it certainly does not disappoint.

'Hard Knock Life', the title track, won Jay-Z critical acclaim and heavy airplay all over America. It samples the chorus from the musical Annie, and with Jay-Z over the top of a simple drum and bass beat, it is an instant classic.

The next 2 songs, 'Ride Or Die' and 'If I Should Die' take it back to his hustling days, but give it a more mainstream feel than what he produced on his debut. The only criticism here is the theme of death being done twice in a row, but both songs are tight and produced well.

'Nigga What, Nigga Who' takes Jay-Z way back to his very early days when he used to rap as fast as Busta Rhymes, a style we virtually never see on his released work. The lyrics are great, delivered fast, and the collabo with Jaz O is a nice touch. Overall, a very underrated single, definitely deserved to perform better.

The next song, 'Money Cash Hoes', is definitely the beginning of the new Jay-Z focus. In later music, he enjoys flexing his masoginistic muscles, as well as flaunting the fact he is extremely rich. He got a lot of criticism over this song, and despite that and the theme of the song, it is still solid, and keeping in with Jay-Z's changing lifestyle. Good verse from DMX on there too.

The rest of the album is extremely solid. 'A Week Ago' showcases Jay-Z's storytelling ability, which we don't see enough anymore, 'Can I Get A...
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By J. Cummins on June 6, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Jay-Z began his career off with Reasonable Doubt sounding somewhat underground [which he actually was] and blazing rhymes/lyrics. If the game is the NBA and each album is a player then Reasonable Doubt was definitely "Rookie of the Year." In My Lifetime Vol. 1 signalled Jay-Z attempting to go a bit more mainstream but keeping it street and still in the gutter. It was a great mix.

Hard Knock Life Vol. 2 is, in my eyes, the best overall mainstream attempt by an originally underground artist. He uses the likes of producers from MANY backgrounds to give a very diverse sound that always sounds the right pitch in my ears. His first two albums were introducing one of the greats and Hard Knock Life signalled that Jay was here to stay.

This album was for sure the first to give Jay MAJOR air and video play. It was through this album that I was introduced to Jay and his unique sound and for many others, I'm SURE.

Intro f/ Memphis Bleek: Nice bad-ass intro making Jay appear to be some supreme gangster that can't be touched. Bleek [Jay's protege] rides the Primo beat very well in his first return on a Jay album since Reasonable Doubt [he was, like what, 15 when he debuted on that].

Hard Knock Life: I would have thought that using the theme from Annie would be corny and useless but, in a strange way, he uses it to make his hot lyrics and delivery much harder. His 1st signle is a sure-shot-hit that will stick in your head.

If I Should Die f/ Da Ranjahz: Hot song produced by Swizz Beats. Jay provied a classic and Da Ranjahz, whoever they are, are tight as well. They talk about what it would be like if they died and how to leave their legacies going. One of my favorites from the album.

Ride Or Die: One of the very few average songs. Still nice...
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Chandler on July 4, 2006
Format: Audio CD
It seems like a lot of reviewers are idiots and just want to bash Jay-Z.

Jay-Z's third album Hard Knock life was a boost in his commercial sucess. More money, more cash, more hoes...and what not comming to him. Ironically, he decides to take a dive in the subject on the song "Money, Cash, Hoes". His second single "Hard Knock Life" was a rememberable song, because it was played on the radio. No problem with that, but it was stuck in my head. "N***a What?, N***a Who?" (or Jigga What? Jigga Who?) is a fast paced song featuring Jaz-O and Amil. I have the edited version of this CD, and for some reason they took out the entire hook to the song, so I'm just left with blank spots as the chorus and Amil comming in as the song fades out. One of my favorite tracks is "Reservoir Dogs" with The Lox, Beanie Sigel, and Sauce Money. Another favorite track is "It's Alright" with Memphis Bleek, rapping decent, but the beat makes the song more enjoyable.

There are a few skippable tracks though. "Comming Of Age (Da Sequel)" is okay, but I like the first one on the Reasonable Doubt album. "Ride Or Die" and "If I Should Die" both sounds dry and slapped together. "Paper Chase" isn't all that good because Foxy Brown spits some trashy rhymes in the beginning. The well known hit "Can I Get A..." from the Rush Hour OST. I have the radio edited version of this album, but I've also heard the explicit version to the song and it sounds trashy because of it's heavy vulgarity (mostly comming from Amil).

Those are the only flaws on this album. Other than that, if you love Jay-Z or mainstream 1998 rap music, I recommend this to you.

Lyrics: B

Production: B+

Guest Appearances: C+

Fav Tracks: Hand It Down, Hard Knock Life, Jigga What..., Money Cash Hoes, A Week Ago, Reservoir Dogs, It's Alright, Money Ain't A Thang

P.S.- To the reviewer below me: If you hate rap and Jay-Z so much, why did you buy this album?
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jay-z has soldout to the emo kids if you respect rap you wont respect...
Okay man, music is music, art is art, let the artist do the work any way he wants. If you don't respect his work, you don't have to listen to it.
JAY-Z is JAY-Z, he is at the top, and he will always be seen as a great artist, whether it's with "emo" music or not, it is still his art... Read More
Oct 31, 2009 by David Tamayo |  See all 3 posts
jay-z will be on falloutboys next album if thats not selling out then i... Be the first to reply
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