It Hits More Than It Misses (Rating: 7 out of 10- -3.5 stars
Chandler | Atlanta (College Park), Georgia | 06/22/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Hip hop icon, Jay-Z with his foot in the game coming from the classic Reasonable Doubt comes with his second album Vol.1 In My Lifetime (part 1 of a 3 part series). Jay's second album has less street appeal and more of a pop appeal, possible because he switched major labels from Priority to Def Jam (the rest is history on that note).
I'm not sure how much the death of Notorious BIG impacted the recording of this album, but you can tell it did is sort of a way. The second song, "The City Is Mine" has a verse dedicated to him. Jay-Z really starts the album on a strong note with "A Million and One Questions/Rhyme No More". "Streets Is Watching" is another notable song (aside from the fact that it's edited). "Friend or Foe '98" continues from the previous back on the last album, and it actually sounds better than that version too. The album most introspective track is the last song "You Must Love Me" where Jay-Z looks back on the negativity caused in his life and how it's impacted him (especially with him shooting his brother). Other great tracks include the single "Who You Wit", "Where I'm From", and "Rap Game/Crack Game".
Portions where the album fails are the songs with a pop appeal. Of course back in '97, Diddy (or who was Puff Daddy) had his hand in almost every single from the east coast, and him with Lil Kim coming in for "I Know What Girls Like" just doesn't fit, and sounds way dated in my opinion. "(Always Be My) Sunshine" with Foxy Brown isn't "Ain't No ***** part 2" either. Also "Imaginary Player" sounds dry.
Overall Vol. 1 is a solid, very good release. Some, as myself, might see this a little dated. Jay-Z might have lost a step or two coming from Reasonable Doubt, so I can easily see many people disappointed. This used to be considered his worst album, that was until he made Vol. 3: Life and Times of S. Carter, and Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse, but now people will see this as him enjoying the success of pop life, and would carry him on throughout his career. Either way, Vol. 1 should not be overlooked, and is worth a purchase for the millions of Jay fans. Peace.
Guest Appearances: B-
Musical Vibes: B-
Top 5 Tracks:
1. You Must Love Me
2. Friend Or Foe '98
3. Streets Is Watching
4. Who You Wit
5. A Million And One Questions/Rhyme No More
1. City Is Mine (featuring BlackStreet)
2. Rap Game/Crack Game"