Jay-Z releases third studio album "Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life"

Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life is the third album released by rapper Jay-Z. 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 the Grammy award for Best Rap Album in 1999.

It received lukewarm reviews from critics and hip-hop purists who felt his aims to be a crossover success had compromised the quality and complexity of his music. It was also criticized for its numerous guest appearances. However, it received a near-perfect 4.5(out of 5)mics from The Source.

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.

1 "Intro: Hand It Down" 2:56
2 "Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)" 3:59
3 "If I Should Die" 4:55
4 "Ride or Die" 4:48
5 "Nigga What, Nigga Who (Originator 99)" 3:53
6 "Money, Cash, Hoes" 4:46
7 "A Week Ago" 5:01
8 "Coming of Age (Da Sequel)" 4:21
9 "Can I Get A..." 5:10
10 "Paper Chase" 4:35
11 "Reservoir Dogs" 5:19
12 "It's Like That" 3:45
13 "It's Alright" 4:02
14 "Money Ain't a Thang" 4:14