Vol. 2...Hard Knock Life (Explicit)
by Jay Z
Released: Sep 1998
On Hard Knock, Jigga parses the contradictions. He's a LV-plated materialist who surmises that, "Life is miserable when you're dealing in the physical form." He tells the girls to "rub on their tits" before sympathizing, "I flow for chicks wishing/ they didn't have to strip to pay tuition." The aforementioned flow is ridiculous(check "If I Should Die" for a rap clinic) and the beats are strong. You already know the Annie-jacking title track and the cyber hedonism of Timbalands' "Can I Get...," but check out DJ Premier's "Intro-Hand It Down" for a study in sparse, jolting rhythm.