In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 is the second studio album by American rapper Jay-Z, released on November 4, 1997, via Roc-A-Fella and Def Jam.[11] The album debuted at #3 on the US Billboard 200 chart and was certified Platinum by the RIAA.[12][13] The album sold over 138,000 copies in its first week.

Professional Ratings

The album features guest contributions by Lil’ KimFoxy BrownBabyfaceBlackstreetTeddy RileyToo $hort, and Puff Daddy. 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 Puff Daddy’s production team The Hitmen from the 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 90s 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. “Reasonable Doubt was like an introduction,” Jay-Z told MTV News. “Like, you know, meeting somebody out on the street… Everything, your whole conversation is very general, not too much detail and things like that. Its just that ‘In My Lifetime’ is more detailed, more in-depth. Much more personal.”.

Critical reception

In a contemporary review, Steve Jones of USA Today called In My Lifetime “a rock-solid set with both street and pop appeal”. Chicago Tribune critic Soren Baker believed Jay-Z’s lyrics “contain a finesse and insight few can articulate as succinctly”, while writing 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”. Robert Christgau gave the album a two-star honorable mention in his 2000 Consumer Guide book, indicating a “likable effort consumers attuned to its overriding aesthetic or individual vision may well enjoy”. He named “(Always Be My) Sunshine” and “Real Niggaz” as highlights while calling Jay-Z “arrogant yet diffident, ruthless yet cute—a scary original”. Chris Norris from Spin said Jay-Z’s raps are often “in search of meaty ideas or distinctive charm—skills without pleasure”, and was also critical of the production. “Without one sure, guiding vision,” Norris wrote, “the Combs blueprint comes off as either mundane or embarrassing”.

AllMusic editor John Bush wrote in a retrospective review, “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”. According to Bush, he “struts the line between project poet and up-and-coming player” while balancing “both personas with the best rapping heard in the rap game since the deaths of 2Pac and Notorious B.I.G.“.


No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length1.”Intro / A Million And One Questions / Rhyme No More”

DJ Premier3:212.”The City Is Mine” (featuring Blackstreet)

Riley4:023.”I Know What Girls Like” (featuring Puff Daddy and Lil’ Kim)

4:504.”Imaginary Player”

Prestige3:575.”Streets Is Watching”

Ski 3:58

6.”Friend or Foe ’98”

  • Carter
  • Martin

DJ Premier 2:09

7.”Lucky Me”


8.”(Always Be My) Sunshine” (featuring Babyface and Foxy Brown)

Prestige 4:43

9.”Who You Wit II

Ski 4:29

10.”Face Off” (featuring Sauce Money)

Poke and Tone 3:31

11.”Real Niggaz” (featuring Too $hort)

Dent 5:07 12.”Rap Game / Crack Game”

Big Jaz2:4013.”Where I’m From”

4:2614.”You Must Love Me”

Myrick5:47UK/Europe bonus tracksNo.TitleProducer(s)Length15.”Wishing on a Star” (D’Influence Remix) 5:5416.”Wishing on a Star” (Trackmasters Remix)Trackmasters



  1. a b Bush, John. Review: In My Lifetime, Vol. 1Allmusic. 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-ZChristgau’s Consumer Guide. Retrieved on 2011-06-20.
  4. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). “Jay-Z”. The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th ed.). Omnibus PressISBN 0857125958.
  5. ^ Ehrlich, Dimitri. Review: In My Lifetime, Vol. 1Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on 2010-02-05.
  6. ^ Thompson, Paul A. (September 1, 2019). “Jay-Z: In My Lifetime, Vol. 1Pitchfork. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  7. ^ Caramanica, Jon. “Jay-Z” in Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.) 2004. The Rolling Stone Album GuideSimon and Schuster.
  8. ^ “Review: In My Lifetime, Vol. 1The Source: 180. December 1997.
  9. a b Norris, Chris. “Review: In My Lifetime, Vol. 1“. Spin: 105–106. February 1998.
  10. a b Jones, Steve. “Review: In My Lifetime, Vol. 1“. USA Today: 08.D. November 18, 1997. (Transcription of original review at talk page)
  11. a b “Dead Presidents:Ranking Jay Z 1st week album sales”. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  12. ^ Columnist. Rappers Mase, Jay-Z, Rakim Lead PackLos Angeles Times. Retrieved on 2010-02-05.
  13. ^ Gold & Platinum: Searchable DatabaseArchived 2007-06-26 at the Wayback MachineRecording Industry Association of America. Retrieved on 2010-02-05.
  14. ^ Shuster, Fred. “Review: In My Lifetime, Vol. 1“. Los Angeles Daily News: November 21, 1997.
  15. ^ Harrington, Richard. “Review: In My Lifetime, Vol. 1“. The Washington Post: B.07. November 26, 1997.
  16. ^ Christgau, Robert (October 15, 2000). Robert Christgau: CG 90s: Key to Icons. Robert Christgau. Retrieved on 2011-06-20.
  17. ^ “Jay-Z | Artist | Official Charts”UK Albums Chart. Retrieved June 20, 2017.
  18. ^ “Jay-Z Chart History (Billboard 200)”Billboard. Retrieved June 20, 2017.
  19. ^ “Jay-Z Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)”Billboard. Retrieved June 20, 2017.
  20. ^ “American album certifications – JAY Z – In My Lifetime, Vol. 1”Recording Industry Association of AmericaIf necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH

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