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Jay-Z - Vol. 3... Life and Times of Shawn Carter

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After the crossover success of 1998's Hard Knock Life (complete with highly publicized samples from Annie), Jay-Z returned to the streets on his fourth proper album overall, 1999's Life and Times of S. Carter. A set of hard-hitting tracks with some of the best rhymes of Jay-Z's career, the album is much more invigorating than its predecessor, and almost as consistently entertaining as his best album, In My Lifetime, Vol. 1. As good as his rapping has become, the production here plays a large part as well. Befitting his superstar status, Jay-Z boasts the cream of hip-hop producers: Timbaland (four tracks total), DJ Premier, Swizz Beatz, and Rockwilder. DJ Premier's "So Ghetto," Timbaland's "Snoopy Track" (with Juvenile), and DJ Clue's "Pop 4 Roc" are innovative tracks that push the rhymes along but never intrude too much on Jay-Z's own flow. If this album doesn't quite make it up to Jay-Z's best, though, it's the fault of a few overblown productions, like "Dope Man" and "Things That U Do" (with Mariah Carey). ~ John Bush

1) Hova Song - Jay Z (02:20)
2) So Ghetto - Jay Z (04:00)
3) Do It Again (Put Ya Hands up) - Amil / Jay Z / Beanie Sigel (04:38)
4) Dope Man - Jay Z (04:02)
5) Things That U Do - Mariah Carey / Jay Z (04:52)
6) It's Hot (Some Like It Hot) - Jay Z (04:15)
7) Snoopy Track - Jay Z / Juvenile (04:01)
8) S. Carter - Amil / Jay Z (04:14)
9) Pop 4 Roc - Amil / Jay Z / Juvenile / Beanie Sigel (04:35)
10) Watch Me - Dr. Dre / Jay Z (04:34)
11) Big Pimpin' - Jay Z (04:44)
12) There's Been a Murder - Jay Z (03:39)
13) Come and Get Me - Jay Z (06:08)
14) Nymp - Jay Z (04:02)
15) Hova Song - Jay Z (11:01)

Vol. 3... Life and Times of Shawn Carter
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Vol. 3... Life and Times of Shawn Carter | Jay-Z