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Jay-Z later explained that the album was made during one of the worst periods of his life when he was reeling from the death of his close friend, The Notorious B. The album's glossy production stood as a contrast to his first release, and some dedicated fans felt he had "sold out." However, the album did feature some beats from producers who had worked with him on Reasonable Doubt, namely DJ Premier and Ski. Charting hits from this album included "Can I Get A...", featuring Ja Rule and Amil, and "Nigga What, Nigga Who", also featuring Amil. 2 would eventually become Jay-Z's most commercially successful album; it was certified 5× Platinum in the United States and has to date sold over five million copies.
In 1999, Jay-Z collaborated with Mariah Carey on "Heartbreaker", a song from her seventh album, Rainbow.
The album also contained the tracks "A Dream", featuring Faith Evans and the late The Notorious B. Notable songs on the album included "What More Can I Say", "Dirt Off Your Shoulder", "Change Clothes", and "99 Problems".
The Black Album has sold more than 3 million copies in the US. Kelly and released a collaborative studio album, The Best of Both Worlds.
Jay-Z claims in his lyrics that in 1982 at age 12, he shot his older brother in the shoulder for stealing his jewelry.
In 2015, he acquired the tech company Aspiro, and took charge of their media streaming service Tidal, which has since become the world's third-largest online streaming company.An unreleased music video was also produced for the B-side "I Can't Get with That." and, with Damon "Dame" Dash and Kareem "Biggs" Burke, created Roc-A-Fella Records as an independent label in 1995. The album reached number 23 on the Billboard 200, and was generally favored by critics. He relied more on flow and wordplay, and he continued with his penchant for mining beats from the popular producers of the day such as Swizz Beatz, an upstart in-house producer for Ruff Ryders, and Timbaland.After striking a distribution deal with Priority, Jay-Z released his 1996 debut album Reasonable Doubt with beats from acclaimed producers such as DJ Premier and Super DJ Clark Kent and an appearance by The Notorious B. After reaching a new distribution deal with Def Jam in 1997, Jay-Z released his follow-up In My Lifetime, Vol. Produced by Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs, it sold better than his previous effort. The album was a personal revelation for Jay-Z as he told the stories of his difficult upbringing. Other producers included DJ Premier, Erick Sermon, The 45 King, and Kid Capri.The concert was entitled the "I Declare War" concert leading to intense speculation in the weeks preceding the event on whom exactly Jay-Z would declare war.As he had previously "declared war" on other artists taking lyrical shots at him at other events, many believed that the Powerhouse show would represent an all-out assault by Jay-Z upon his rivals.