Jay-Z Recalls How The Notorious B.I.G.'s Death Influenced "In My Lifetime, Vol. 1"

MTV unearths an old interview with Jay-Z from 1998 where he speaks on The Notorious B.I.G.'s influence on his sophomore album.

Since The Notorious B.I.G.'s death in 1997, members of the Hip Hop community have been mourning his loss, most recently with the 15th anniversary of his passing. As such, MTV released an interview with Jay-Z from 1998 where he discusses how Big's absence impacted his sophomore album In My Lifetime, Vol. 1, explaining that the LP was not as fun to record and that certain tracks were influenced by the incident.

"A lot of different songs were influenced by what was happening. 'City Is Mine,' the first verse, you could just hear it. I think two hooks on there came from songs that he had previously recorded," he said. "The album to me — this album wasn't fun to me like Reasonable Doubt, because it was like, it seemed really slow to me, and I didn't set out to do that, just looking back now and listening to it now."

Hov said that the only song that Big heard was "Streets is Watching." His lack of input made it hard for Jay to readjust to recording, as the pair worked closely in the years prior.

"I don't have anyone to bounce off of, you understand? We bounced off each other like, 'Oh that was crazy; I gotta make something crazier.' When you don't have that, you don't have that gauge," he said. "It's just hard to adjust; you have to find other ways to motivate yourself."

Watch the interview below.

RELATED: Lil' Cease Speaks On The Legacy Of The Notorious B.I.G.


  • Anonymous

    Imaginary Player and Streets Is Watching >>>>>> most rapper's best albums.

  • Anonymous

    Imaginary Player and Streets Is Watching >>>>>>>>>>>> most rapper's catalouges.

  • thomas aquinas

    Jay-z is far from the best rapper alive. Check your history kid. Tupac is the greatest artist ever while biggie is the best rapper.

  • Anonymous

    Jay Z has been performing Hits after Hits for the Past 2hours He Is The Undisputed Best Rapper Alive and of the Past 15 years. All your counter arguments Fall Flat.

  • Anonymous

    Run full speed and head-butt a steak knife if you still respond to So Icy Boi.

  • Jay Zee

    Ya Biggie is the best to ever come out of NY, thank god he died or noone would even know who the fuck I am... Now I can steall all the Biggie lines, and Tupac concepts I can... also I can worship Satan and noone will even call me on it

  • dRob

    This is the second story in one week that's an excuse for why a Jay-Z album was bad. Jay-Z's trying to manipulate the narrative of his legacy. Sounds like bullshit, something to do with Nas.

  • So icy Boi!

    suckin that young money dick is the best thing in the world.


    YMCMB cause dickriding is cool now.

  • daviddaniel

    The hate is strong for Jay but I understand it. Young guys don't know shit about hiphop. If you bring up Wayne, Drake, Rick Ross and any other artist from today. They would never last in the 90's. Hell Wayne was around back then and not a soul in hiphop was fuvking with him. Now its more about pop then real hiphop and even with all that bullshit, Jay is still around making hiphop and still on top. No matter what is going on in hiphop. "I will Not Lose!" - Jay-Z


    FINALLY! I always say it but everybody is like "NA!" In my lifetime Vol 1 is definitely the WACKEST of Jay's catalog, but everybody scared to admit it. It's like when your fav artist drops an ass album eventually, and you're in denial (ahem, Lupe fans, cough lasers). But in reality though, this album sucked, and Im a Jay fan. This one is definitely bottom of the barrel, followed by blueprint 2, then Kingdom Come. That was Jay Z's Lasers album...Real talk

  • kidriot

    Tupac > Hip Hop listen to party and bullshit biggie and listen to ready to die. B.I.G jacked pac's style.

  • $p|iff90

    So what??? Okay jay saying he was close to Biggie so what??? He was inspired by Big and that made them better rappers...years superior to any 2pac/west coast bi_polar drug addict rapper in the mid 90's. Biggie is a LEGEND, jay is lyrically superior to most mc's in the game right now and yes, diddy is a straight up faggit, but still without diddys production Bigs career couldve easily slipped through the cracks.

    • Anonymous

      big pun was not murdered

    • Anonymous

      Eh...I dunno bout all this g.o.a.t and legend talk. he was a decent rapper that had 2 and a half albums (jr mafias conspiracy included). big pun was equally vicious, and big l..Holly crap! im onto something. murdered rappers with big in their title? wtf???

  • Anonymous

    It wasn't a wack album, but you definitely notice the lack of concentration throughout the songs. Biggie's death hurt a lot of people. And smack yourself very hard if you are still responding to a So Icy Boi comment.

  • Anonymous

    Jayz just stay on dudes nut sack .biggie was raw but he was over rated too.his own momma (who had no reason to lie) said that dude was never any thing like he claimed.no disrespect but he rhymed great just died to early to say he is the greatest.

    • Ben Dover

      Wrong person I was replying to buddy but now that we are at this awkward crossroad, I might as well tell you that yo momma was there too.

    • Ben Dover

      His momma didn't see his other side all the time something like how you don't see your momma at my crib trying make me your daddy.

  • Furious Stylez

    You people don't listen to music. Vol.1 ain't no joke it by far his most mature album at a young age, the city was down big died and he was the nigga that had the juice, ie the best.

    • Ben Dover

      His momma didn't see his other side all the time something like how you don't see your momma at my crib trying make me your daddy. __

  • So Icy Boi!

    LMAO! Lil Wayne ened Jay-Zz muzik career. Watch The Thronme flopped mad hard. LMAO. Drake & Wayne outsold WTT, MBDTF, & TB3 combined. LMAO diz Roc boyz stay losin while YMCMB stay winnin. fuck Roc-A-Fella. swag

    • daviddanielz

      [Jay-Z] Yo, yo first I snatched the streets, then I snatched the charts First I had they ear, now I have they heart Rappers came and went I've been here from the start I seen them put it together Watch them take it apart See the rovers roll up with ribbons I see them re poed, re sold then re driven So when I reload, he holds number one positions When you hot, I'm hot And when your feet cold, mines are sizzlin' It's plain to see Niggas can't f*** wit me Cuz ima be that nigga for life This is not an image This is God given This is hard livin' Mixed wit Cristal sippin' It's the most consistent, Hov Give you the most hits you can fit inside a whole disc and Nigga I'm home on these charts, y'all niggas visiting It's Hov tradition, Jeff Gordon of rap I'm back to claim pole position, holla at ya boy

    • Anonymous

      record sales don't mean shit drake & wayne are b.s. shouldn't even be classed as hip-hop

  • Shoon

    How much of Biggie's rhymes gonna come out your fat lips?

  • nathan

    Great excuse for a wack album, Escos mum passed nd godsson was still dope...

    • IDAHO

      LOL @SSR's reply. That shit had me rolling for real...


      Whack album? "Do u dudes listen to music or do u just skim thru it"....Where I'm from, The Street is Watching, Real N****z Do Real Things, The City Is Mine, The Intro, Imaginary Players, U Must Love Me...I'll stop and go listen to some classic Jay. To each his own I guess

    • seyi

      @srr, i apologise. But i reiterate, the worst song in the world by general consensus is still someone elses best song. My point is to you and a million other people the album may be wack, but there are also a million people who think differently. By the way, why are you so angry? are you getting raped by your father? Haha

    • SRR

      ^Nas' sophomore album wasn't that good either? Nas' sophomore album was It Was Written, you fucking idiot. How was that album wack in any possible way? Did you even know that that was Nas' sophomore album before you typed up your bullshit ass response? Fuckers like you need to keep your mouth shut, and stop trying to act like you actually know what you're talking about.

    • seyi

      He has had as many classic albums as Nas's. Nas's sophmore album wasnt good either. When your first effort is fantastic the pressure to deliver the something better has a counter productive effect on your output. Hov is great, nas is great! heck, to one individual out there, even soulja boy is great. Lets keep it moving.

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