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Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life
Studio album by Jay-Z
Released September 29, 1998
Recorded 1997-1998
Genre East Coast Hip Hop
Length 61:43
Label Roc-a-Fella/Def Jam
Producer Swizz Beatz, DJ Premier, The 45 King, Timbaland, Stevie J, Irv Gotti, Erick Sermon, Kid Capri, Damon Dash, Jermaine Dupri, J-Runnah, Lil' Rob, Darold Trotter, Mahogany Music
Professional reviews
Jay-Z chronology
In My Lifetime, Vol. 1
Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life
Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter
Singles from Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life
  1. "Money Ain't a Thang"
    Released: April 1998
  2. "It's Alright"
    Released: July 21, 1998
  3. "Can I Get A..."
    Released: September 1, 1998
  4. "Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)"
    Released: October 20, 1998
  5. "Money, Cash, Hoes"
    Released: February 23, 1999
  6. "Nigga What, Nigga Who (Originator 99)"
    Released: November 30, 1999

Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life is the third studio album by American rapper Jay-Z, released September 29, 1998 on Roc-a-Fella Records in the United States. The album propelled Jay-Z into superstar status and cemented him as a household name. It also helped him emerge as an extremely dominant force in the post Biggie/Tupac era of hip hop. This album also won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Album in 1999. The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 and eventually sold 5.7 million copies in the US and 7.9 million Worldwide. Upon its release, the album received generally mixed to positive reviews from most music critics, while hip hop purists felt his aims to be a crossover success had compromised the quality and complexity of his music.



Several tracks on this album feature a rougher sound than the glossier Bad Boy production on In My Lifetime, Vol. 1, most notably the three tracks produced by Ruff Ryders beatmaker Swizz Beatz. With the exception of Stevie J on "Ride or Die," Bad Boy producers play no role in Vol. 2, though Jay-Z enlisted Jermaine Dupri, Timbaland and Irv Gotti for a more pop-oriented sound on three of the albums' singles.

Track listing

# Title Length Producer(s) Featured guest(s)
1 "Intro: Hand It Down" 2:56 DJ Premier Memphis Bleek (solo)
2 "Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)" 3:59 The 45 King
3 "If I Should Die" 4:55 Swizz Beatz Da Ranjahz
4 "Ride or Die" 4:48 Steven "Stevie J" Jordan of The Hitmen
5 "Nigga What, Nigga Who (Originator 99)" 3:53 Timbaland Big Jaz
6 "Money, Cash, Hoes" 4:46 Swizz Beatz DMX
7 "A Week Ago" 5:01 J-Runnah Too Short
8 "Coming of Age (Da Sequel)" 4:21 Swizz Beatz Memphis Bleek
9 "Can I Get A..." 5:10 Irv Gotti & Lil’ Rob Amil & Ja Rule
10 "Paper Chase" 4:35 Timbaland Foxy Brown
11 "Reservoir Dogs" 5:19 Erick Sermon; Co-produced by Darold Trotter The LOX, Beanie Sigel, & Sauce Money
12 "It's Like That" 3:45 Kid Capri Kid Capri
13 "It's Alright" 4:02 Damon Dash & Mahogany producer Memphis Bleek
14 "Money Ain't a Thang" 4:14 Jermaine Dupri Jermaine Dupri

Sample credits

Intro (Hand It Down)

Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)

  • "It's a Hard Knock Life" from Annie

A Week Ago

Reservoir Dogs

  • "Theme from Shaft" by Isaac Hayes
  • "24- Carat Black (Theme)" by 24 Carat Black
  • "Know How" by Young MC

It's Like That

It's Alright

Money Ain't a Thang

Chart history

Chart (1998) Peak
U.S. Billboard 200 1
U.S. Billboard Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums 1
Canadian Albums Chart 13
Year Song Billboard Hot 100 Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks Hot Rap Singles
1998 "Can I Get A..." 19 6 22
"Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)" 15 10 2
1999 "Money, Cash, Hoes" 116 36 19
"Jigga What, Jigga Who" 84 23 19
Chart procession and succession
Preceded by
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
by Lauryn Hill
Billboard 200 number-one album
October 17, 1998 – November 20, 1998
Succeeded by
Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie
by Alanis Morissette

External links



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