In My Lifetime, Vol. 1

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In My Lifetime, Vol. 1
Jayz inmylifetime.jpg
Studio album by Jay-Z
Released November 4, 1997
Genre Hip hop
Length 58:00
Label Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam
Producer Jay-Z (exec.), Damon Dash (co-exec.), Kareem "Biggs" Burke (co-exec.), The Hitmen, Teddy Riley, DJ Premier, Chad Hugo, Ski, Buckwild, Poke and Tone, Big Jaz, Daven "Prestige" Vanderpool
Jay-Z chronology
Reasonable Doubt
In My Lifetime, Vol. 1
Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life
Singles from In My Lifetime, Vol. 1
  1. "Who You Wit"
    Released: May 20, 1997
  2. "(Always Be My) Sunshine"
    Released: October 14, 1997
  3. "The City Is Mine"
    Released: February 3, 1998
  4. "A Million and One Questions"
    Released: February 24, 1998
  5. "Wishing on a Star"
    Released: March 12, 1998
  6. "Imaginary Player"
    Released: May 11, 1998
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[1]
Chicago Tribune 3/4 stars[2]
Robert Christgau (2-star Honorable Mention)[3]
Entertainment Weekly (B+)[4]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[5]
The Source 4/5 stars[6]
Spin (5/10)[7]
USA Today 3/4 stars[8]
Vibe (mixed)[9]
Yahoo! Music (favorable)[10]

In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 is the second studio album by American rapper Jay-Z, released November 4, 1997 on Roc-A-Fella Records. The album debuted at number 3 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart and was certified platinum in sales by the RIAA in the United States.[11][12]


The album features guest contributions by Lil' Kim, Foxy Brown, Babyface, Blackstreet, Teddy Riley, Too $hort, and Puff Daddy.[13][14] Producers for Reasonable Doubt such as DJ Premier and Ski contribute to a limited number of beats on this album, though the majority of the production is handled by beatmakers from Puff Daddy's Bad Boy label, giving the album a generally glossier sound than its predecessor. It displayed a shift from the mafioso rap themes of his first effort to the so-called "jiggy" era of late 90's hip-hop, often credited to videos and albums from Puff Daddy and his Bad Boy record label's roster of artists including Notorious B.I.G. (the first two singles from his second album were both huge pop hits) and Mase.


Steve Jones of USA Today gave the album three out of four stars and called it "a rock-solid set with both street and pop appeal".[8] Chicago Tribune writer Soren Baker commented that Jay-Z's lyrics "contain a finesse and insight few can articulate as succinctly", adding that "His use of pop producers Teddy Riley and Sean "Puffy" Combs will alienate listeners, even as Jay-Z establishes himself as that rare underground rhymer with commercial appeal".[2] In his consumer guide for The Village Voice, critic Robert Christgau gave the album an honorable mention ((2-star Honorable Mention)) rating,[3] indicating "[a] likable effort consumers attuned to its overriding aesthetic or individual vision may well enjoy".[15] Christgau noted "(Always Be My) Sunshine" and "Real Niggaz" as highlights and quipped "arrogant yet diffident, ruthless yet cute--a scary original".[3] However, Chris Norris of Spin commented that Jay-Z's raps are "for the most part [...] in search of meaty ideas or distinctive charm—skills without pleasure" and criticized its several producers, stating "without one sure, guiding vision, the Combs blueprint comes off as either mundane or embarrassing".[7]

In a retrospective review, Allmusic editor John Bush gave the album four-and-a-half out of five stars and stated "Though the productions are just a bit flashier and more commercial than on his debut, Jay-Z remained the tough street rapper, and even improved a bit on his flow".[1] Bush viewed that he "struts the line between project poet and up-and-coming player", adding that "he balances both personas with the best rapping heard in the rap game since the deaths of 2Pac and Notorious B.I.G.".[1]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Producer(s) Length
1. "Intro / A Million And One Questions / Rhyme No More"   DJ Premier 3:21
2. "The City Is Mine" (featuring Blackstreet) Teddy Riley, Chad Hugo 4:02
3. "I Know What Girls Like" (featuring Lil' Kim & Puff Daddy) Sean "Puffy" Combs, Ron "Amen-Ra" Lawrence for The Hitmen 4:50
4. "Imaginary Player"   Daven "Prestige" Vanderpool for The Hitmen 3:57
5. "Streets Is Watching"   Ski 3:58
6. "Friend or Foe '98"   DJ Premier 2:09
7. "Lucky Me"   Steven "Stevie J" Jordan for The Hitmen, Buckwild for D.I.T.C. 5:00
8. "(Always Be My) Sunshine" (featuring Foxy Brown & Babyface) Daven "Prestige" Vanderpool for The Hitmen 4:43
9. "Who You Wit II"   Ski 4:29
10. "Face Off" (featuring Sauce Money) Poke and Tone for Trackmasters 3:31
11. "Real Niggaz" (featuring Too $hort) Anthony Dent 5:07
12. "Rap Game / Crack Game"   Big Jaz 2:40
13. "Where I'm From"   Deric "D-Dot" Angelettie, Ron "Amen-Ra" Lawrence for The Hitmen 4:26
14. "You Must Love Me" (featuring Kelly Price) Nashiem Myrick for The Hitmen 5:47
  • The track "Streets Is Watching" is edited on both the explicit and edited versions of the album.

Sample credits[edit]


Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1997) Peak
UK Albums Chart 78
US Billboard 200 3
US Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums 2
Year Song Billboard Hot 100 Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks Hot Rap Singles
1997 "Who You Wit" #84 #25 #18
"(Always Be My) Sunshine" #95 #37 #16
1998 "The City Is Mine" #52 #37 #14


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United States (RIAA)[16] Platinum 1,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ a b c Bush, John. Review: In My Lifetime, Vol. 1. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2010-02-05.
  2. ^ a b Baker, Soren. "Review: In My Lifetime, Vol. 1". Chicago Tribune: 29. December 26, 1997. (Transcription of original review at talk page)
  3. ^ a b c Christgau, Robert (February 1998). Robert Christgau: CG: Jay-Z. The Village Voice. Retrieved on 2011-06-20.
  4. ^ Ehrlich, Dimitri. Review: In My Lifetime, Vol. 1. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on 2010-02-05.
  5. ^ Hoard, Christian. "Review: In My Lifetime, Vol. 1". Rolling Stone: 424. November 2, 2004.
  6. ^ "Review: In My Lifetime, Vol. 1. The Source: 180. December 1997.
  7. ^ a b Norris, Chris. "Review: In My Lifetime, Vol. 1". Spin: 105–106. February 1998.
  8. ^ a b Jones, Steve. "Review: In My Lifetime, Vol. 1". USA Today: 08.D. November 18, 1997. (Transcription of original review at talk page)
  9. ^ The Blackspot. "Review: In My Lifetime, Vol. 1". Vibe: 144. November 1997.
  10. ^ Linden, Amy. Review: In My Lifetime, Vol. 1. Yahoo! Music. Retrieved on 2010-02-05.
  11. ^ Columnist. Rappers Mase, Jay-Z, Rakim Lead Pack. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on 2010-02-05.
  12. ^ Gold & Platinum: Searchable Database. Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved on 2010-02-05.
  13. ^ Shuster, Fred. "Review: In My Lifetime, Vol. 1". Los Angeles Daily News: November 21, 1997.
  14. ^ Harrington, Richard. "Review: In My Lifetime, Vol. 1". The Washington Post: B.07. November 26, 1997.
  15. ^ Christgau, Robert (October 15, 2000). Robert Christgau: CG 90s: Key to Icons. Robert Christgau. Retrieved on 2011-06-20.
  16. ^ "American album certifications – JAY Z – In My Lifetime, Vol. 1". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH

External links[edit]