Jay Z’s Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life Turns 20 Years Old

Jay Z has been running rap for almost a quarter century. The Brooklyn bar-smith released his debut album, Reasonable Doubt in 1996 and has released another 12 solo and five collaborative albums since. A multi-millionaire, mogul and mastermind behind some of the greatest non-music ventures in hip-hop culture, Jay Z is as much a rap legend as anyone else.

On this day in 1998, Hov released his third studio album Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life. Although Bad Boy produced a large portion of the preceding released in the ‘Vol.’ series, only one track featuring Stevie J’s beat work represents Diddy’s iconic label. Instead the albums production comes from the likes of Swizz Beatz, Timbaland and DJ Premier.

Vol. 2…Hard Knock Life features various hip-hop stars from Memphis Bleek and DMX to Ja Rule and The Lox among others. The album won The Grammy for Best Rap Album, although Hov boycotted the award ceremony because of the perceived lack of respect to hip-hop categories.


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