VOL. 2… HARD KNOCK LIFE

Q (UK) - - Q Review Reissues -

Jay was am­biva­lent about the ’ 97-’99 tril­ogy of al­bums that “brought the suburbs to the hood”, while on 2003’ s Mo­ment Of Clar­ity he would flatly state, “I dumbed down for my au­di­ence to dou­ble my dol­lars.” But you don’t be­come hiphop’s cross­over king if your heart’s not in it, and there’s noth­ing dumb about his deft al­loy of glam­our and grit. Take his break­through hit Hard Knock Life (Ghetto An­them), which smug­gled lines about Glocks and jail cells into the Top 10 via a sam­ple from the mu­si­cal An­nie. His big­gest-sell­ing al­bum is slick with­out be­ing shame­less, bring­ing in hot new pro­duc­ers such as Swizz Beatz and Tim­ba­land, who gives Nigga What, Nigga Who (Orig­i­na­tor 99) a coiled snake of a beat.

Lis­ten To: Can I Get A…

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