Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life
Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life.jpg
Studio album by Jay-Z


29 September 1998


November 1997 - July 1998


D&D Studios (NYC), The Hit Factory (NYC), Sony Studios (NYC), Manhattan Center Studios (NYC), Quad Studios (NYC) and Sound on Sound Studios (NYC)


Hip hop




Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam


Kareem "Biggs" Burke (exec.), Shawn Carter (exec.), Damon Dash (also exec.), DJ Premier, Jermaine Dupri, Irv Gotti, J-Runnah, Kid Capri, Lil' Rob, Mahogany, Mark 45 King, Erick Sermon, Stevie J., Swizz Beatz, Timbaland, Darold "POP" Trotter

Jay-Z chronology


In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 (1997)


Vol. 3... Life and Times of S. Carter (1999)

Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life is the third album by American rapper Jay-Z, released in 1998 on Roc-A-Fella Records. Several tracks in this feature a rougher sound than the glossier Bad Boy production on In My Lifetime, Vol. 1, most notably the three songs produced by Ruff Ryders beatmaker Swizz Beatz. Stevie J. is the only Bad Boy-associated artist to produce the album, though Jay-Z enlisted Timbaland, Jermaine Dupri and Irv Gotti for a more pop-oriented sound on three of the album's singles. This would also be Jay-Z's last album to feature his mentor Big Jaz

The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, selling 350,000 copies in its first week, marking the first of nine consecutive chart-topping albums to date from Jay-Z, excluding collaboration albums. Upon its release, the album received generally mixed to positive reviews from music critics, while hip hop purists felt his aims to be a crossover success had compromised the quality and complexity of his music. It won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Albums in 1999. As of 2014, the album has sold 5,500,000 copies in the United States.

Track listing[edit | edit source]

No. Title Performer(s) Writer(s) Producer(s) Time
1. "Intro - Hand It Down" Memphis Bleek Carter, Cox, Martin DJ Premier 2:56
2. "Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)" Jay-Z Carter, Charmin, James, Strouse Mark 45 King 3:58
3. "If I Should Die" Jay-Z, Da Ranjahz Byer, Carter, Dean, Leguerre Swizz Beatz 4:55
4. "Ride or Die" Jay-Z Carter, Jordan Stevie J. 4:48
5. "Nigga What, Nigga Who (Originator 99)" Jay-Z, Big Jaz Burks, Carter, Mosley Timbaland 3:54
6. "Money, Cash, Hoes" Jay-Z, DMX Carter, Dean, Simmons Swizz Beatz 4:45
7. "A Week Ago" Jay-Z, Too $hort Carter, Isley, Isley, Isley, Isley, Isley, Jasper, Shaw, Stoute J-Runnah 5:00
8. "Coming of Age (Da Sequel)" Jay-Z, Memphis Bleek Carter, Dean Swizz Beatz 4:21
9. "Can I Get A..." Jay-Z, Amil, Ja Rule Atkins, Carter, Lorenzo, Mays Irv Gotti, Lil' Rob 5:10
10. "Paper Chase" Jay-Z, Foxy Brown Carter, Mosley Timbaland 4:35
11. "Reservoir Dogs" Jay-Z, The Lox, Beanie Sigel, Sauce Money Carter, Gaither, Grant, Hayes, Jacob, Phillips, Sermon, Styles Erick Sermon, Darold "POP" Trotter (co.) 5:19
12. "It's Like That" Jay-Z, Kid Capri Carter, Freidman, Love Kid Capri 3:45
Bonus tracks
13. "It's Alright" Jay-Z, Memphis Bleek Byrne, Carter, Dash, Eno, Franz, Harrison, Leeper, Weymouth Damon Dash, Mahogany 4:02
14. "Money Ain't a Thang" Jay-Z, Jermaine Dupri Arrington, Carter, Carter, Dupri, Hank, Parker Jermaine Dupri 4:13
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