On this day, Nov. 4, in hip-hop history...

Roc Nation

1997: Jay Z's 1996 debut, Reasonable Doubt, brought monumental expectations for Hov. The album was critically acclaim and some will contest that Reasonable Doubt was Jay Z's finest moment. After the death of the Notorious B.I.G.—a dear friend of Hov—in early 1997, Jay Z made his claim for the East Coast crown with his sophomore album In My Lifetime, Vol. 1.

In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 saw the gritty-mafioso rap themes that was prominent in Reasonable Doubt limited, shifting rather to a more commercial and flashier sound on Jay Z's first Def Jam release. DJ Premier and Ski— who contributed heavily on Reasonable Doubt—only produced three songs. The majority of the production is handled by beat makers from Puff Daddy's Bad Boy label. Jay Z walked the line of a street poet and extravagant up-and-coming player, which brought mixed reviews from the fanbase he collected after his debut. The album features guest contributions by Foxy Brown, Babyface, Blackstreet, Teddy Riley, Too $hort, Lil' Kim, and Puff Daddy. The album went platinum and debuted at No. 3 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart.

Even though it wasn't as beloved as his debut album, In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 had hits. Just look at "Who You Wit II," "I Know What Girls Like," “City Is Mine,” "Imaginary Player," "Streets Is Watching," and "Friend or Foe '98." Jay Z spoke about the album and how it wasn't fun making after Biggie died. “The album to me — this album wasn’t fun to me like Reasonable Doubt, because it was like, it seemed really slow to me, and I didn’t set out to do that, just looking back now and listening to it now,” said Jay.

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