Hearing Jay-Z put forth as the undisputed GOAT has become so commonplace, it verges on cliche. And yet, what are we supposed to do when asked such questions? His discography, which boasts a collection of thirteen studio albums and at least four classics, stands as one of the game's most acclaimed. From Reasonable Doubt to 4:44, the Jigga Man has mastered his craft and reinvented his sound time and time again, making each release stand comfortably on its. Today, his sophomore album In My Lifetime...Vol 1 hit stores, twenty-two years ago. For some context, artists like DMX and Eminem were still honing their craft, yet to hit the mainstream stage.
Picking up where Reasonable Doubt left off, Jay found himself exploring a few different sonic directions, which might have irked those praying for another mafioso score. Yet returning player DJ Premier kept a link throughout, putting on an absolute clinic for the track's introductory medley. Three for the price of one, Vol 1's "Intro / A Million and One Questions / Rhyme No More" found Jay's Jaz-O influence on full display, kicking triplet bars over Preem's soulful boom-bap flips. A relic that has yet lose its luster, In My Lifetime's opening moments serve as a reminder that Jay's old-school spirit has swerved senility with a young man's grace.
Motherfuckers can't rhyme no more, 'bout crime no more
'Til I'm no more, 'cause I'm so raw
My flow expose holes that they find in yours
Wasn't for me, n***s still be dying for whores
But I hate when a n***a sit back, admiring yours
Young blood, you better get that, we frying because
N***s don't want to be confined to riding the iron horse
And don't listen to the rappers yo, they dying to floss