Vol. 3 Life And Times of S. Carter (Explicit)
by Jay Z
Released: Dec 1999
After the breakthrough commercial success of his previous album, 1998's Hard Knock Life, Jay-Z was the biggest rapper in the world. Vol. 3 does not mess with a winning formula. Timbaland collaborations "Big Pimpin'" and "Snoopy Tracks" are propulsive entries from the margins of pop-hop. The confessional "Dope Man" is a maudlin blood bath that paints Jigga as a (somewhat) reluctant street corner Don. And DJ Premier's "So Ghetto" is ghetto solidarity -- Jay-Z communing with his subjects. This ranks up there with Jay-Z's best.