Jay-Z - Hard Knock Life      
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written by Hugo Lunny    
"I'm gonna retire after this album" Jay-Z, after the release of 'Reasonable Doubt.' "I'm gonna retire after this album" Jay-Z, after the release of 'In My Lifetime Volume 1.' And finally "I'm gonna retire after this album" Jay-Z, after the release of 'Hard Knock Life.' Do we believe him? I don't but saying this I'll probably be proven to be wrong.

Anyway, it's album number 3 and it's over-rated in the press. I loved his first album 'Reasonable Doubt' and I liked most of the tracks on 'In My Lifetime' volume 1 but this one doesn't appeal to me too much.

This album seems to secome to the ever-growing popularity of sticking a thousand emcees upon one album regardless of how well it works. I can't front, some of the cuts on this album are great and he has some brilliant lyrics, however, one too many times you will find him stooping to pretty lazy lyrics. He used to come with hard beats and lyrics with plenty of meaning but now... I mean Primo supplied him with his stereotypically slick production which he used as a backdrop for the intro and Bleek used it, Jigga didn't even bother.

In my mind Jay-Z seems to have 'fallen off' or a better word would be changed. I enjoyed his older material a lot more, it seems the more music artist's shift, the lower the quality goes. Sh*t, if it will make you a dollar or two and take 3 seconds to create, why not?

I seem to be slating this too much, it isn't a sh*tty album, just a disappointing one. The featured artists rhyme quite well, and Jay-Z doesn't flow awfully but I wish he'd return to his original stature. This feels more like a compilation than an album, the tracks seem to be very varied and with the amount of producers etc. you can't distinguish much of a feel...

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