Jay-Z has one of the most expansive and impressive discographies in all of hip-hop. With 15 albums over almost 20 years, Hova has given the fans plenty of great music. While he has three albums that usually get most of the shine (Reasonable Doubt, The Blueprint, and The Black Album), some of his other work has become forgotten gems. One example of this isVol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter.
Vol. 3 is the third and final installment in Jay-Z’s trilogy of albums about his life. While Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life is usually listed as the best of the three; Life and Times of S. Carter is a fantastic album throughout.
Featuring beats from legends such as DJ Premier, Timbaland, and Swizz Beatz, each song has production that is still fresh to this day, even though the album is almost 16 years old. This is thanks to the uniqueness and experimentation on tracks such as “It’s Hot (Some Like It Hot)” and “Snoopy Track”.
As for the lyrics, Jay is at his braggadocios best. He flaunts both his high-class lifestyle as well as how he’s still hood to the core. His famous flow is always on point, which draws the listener into each and every track. The features do their part as well, with the standout being UGK on the hit song “Big Pimpin’.” Pimp C’s verse is possibly one of the greatest features of all time and it has been referenced in hip hop ever since its release.
While this might not be a certified classic or a top 3 or 4 album in Jay-Z’s catalogue, it is no doubt a great album throughout. In fact, at this point it is most likely underrated which speaks to the greatest of Hova’s career as it would probably be a standout album for most rappers. It has its flaws, such as having some filler tracks and not being super original, but Vol. 3… Life of Times of S. Carter is a must listen for any fan of hip-hop.
Standout tracks: So Ghetto, It’s Hot (Some Like It Hot), Big Pimpin
Forgettable tracks: Dope Man, NYMP
*Featured Image belongs to Roc-A-Fella and Def Jam