A lot going on Vol.3… Life And Times Of S. Carter, but one common thread is that Jay-Z, lyrically, is on top of his game. With production contributions from DJ Premier, K-Rob, Swizz Beatz, Timbaland, Rockwilder, DJ Clue, and more, the album is a mixed bag of radio friendly records, club bangers, and street favs (not to mention the multi-regional style coverage), but it's Hov's rhymes that bring the project together; this is certainly the work that established Jay as the best rapper alive in 1999 ("The game is mine, I'll never foul out"). "Do It Again (Put Ya Hands Up)" is the track that you can play at any time of the night to revive a dancefloor (at least in NY), and "Big Pimpin" still just goes so hard. The Primo-produced "So Ghetto" is that one for the city that raised Sean Carter, "Watch Me" is the West Coast nod featuring Dr. Dre. But also, imagine if "Is That Yo B'tch" and "Anything" had made it on the album (an incident involving Lance "Un" Rivera allegedly bootlegging it prevented the inclusion of those two)...
- 180g reissue
- music label: Roc-A-Fella Records 1999 / 2014
reviewed by rei kwondo 03/2018