Entertainment Weekly (11/28/97, p.85) - "...His phrasing shifts often, and he mixes jokes with visceral descriptions, stealing the spotlight from guests like BLACKstreet, Puff Daddy, Babyface, and Foxy Brown. We've heard these gangster tales before, but Jay-Z shows you don't need to do anything new, as long as you do it better." - Rating: B+ Q (12/00, p.144) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...Calls on Blackstreet and Puff Daddy....It couldn't fail: the epitome of mainstream hip hop, and intentionally so." The Source (12/97, p.180) - 4 Mics (out of 5) - "...Jay-Z emerges victorious....IN MY LIFETIME VOL. 1 just might be a new beginning for one of rap's most promising careers."