Jay-Z represents with latest release, 'In My Lifetime, Vol. I': R&B superstar quartet Blackstreet, ubiquitious rapper Puff Daddy, collaborate with artist on debut album

by Latia S. Curry | 11/26/97 6:00am

For the last two years Brooklynite Jay-Z, also know as Jigga, has stepped into the forefront by placing his hypnotically soothing hip-hop inflection over high-bass tracks.

Jay-Z stands out as the chief act on Roc-A-Fella Records, which is made clear by the great success he has already achieved due to his outstanding debut album "Reasonable Doubt."

This young rapper realized an abrupt arrival onto the rap scene with largely popular songs like "Dead Presidents II" and "Friend or Foe" as well as triumphant collaborations with the queen of hip-hop soul Mary J. Blige, the Firm's female rapper Foxxy Brown and the late Notorious B.I.G. on "Can't Knock the Hustle," "Ain't No Nigga," and "Brooklyn's Finest" respectively.

His highly anticipated sophomore effort "In My Lifetime, Vol. 1" has a chance to be his best endeavor yet.

Jay-Z takes a stab at the next level of rap stardom and notoriety after the death of his late colleague Biggie Smalls.

Similar to "Reasonable Doubt" which was produced by Damon Dash, Kareem "Biggs" Burke, and Jay-Z himself, "In My Lifetime, Vol. 1" also takes its direction from Shawn Carter with additional input from other well-known artists in the business.

Jay-Z's "The City is Mine," featuring popular R & B group Blackstreet, samples Glen Frey's catchy pop hit "You Belong to the City."

It is an interesting attempt at mixing mainstream pop successes with rap and can be likened to Sean "Puffy" Combs' sampling of Sting in his recent tribute to the late Notorious B.I.G., who coincidentally was the inspiration for this album according to its artist. He even dedicates a verse in one particular track as a means of acknowledgment as he assures "Don't worry about Brooklyn, I continue the flame."

Songs that are already enjoying air time on the radio include "I Know What Girls Like" featuring the prevalent Puff Daddy and the always risque rap seductress Lil' Kim as well as the track titled "(Always Be My) Sunshine" which embraces the efforts of Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds and Foxxy Brown.

Obviously one of the more mellow songs on the album, "Lucky Me" is relaxing and melodic with background music to put one's mind at ease.

Following this track on the album in Jay-Z's distinctive hard-hitting bass-riddled sound comes the popular hit "Who You Wit II" also featured on the "Sprung" sound-track.

This one has been making the fans dance since the summer with its brash lyrics and hip-hop beats. The intro cut, with brief stints entitled "A Million and One Questions" and "Rhyme No More," is produced and created by DJ Premiere as is evident by the aggressiveness of the track.

At the end of the day, Jay-Z has definitely put together a superb second album where he maintains his "player" image throughout while still demonstrating his skills on the microphone.

Having other celebrity artists contribute only enriches the effort that much more. The final track, titled "You Must Love Me," is representative of the style of the whole album. You must, and will, love it.