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Jay-Z Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem) Lyrics

Last updated: 10/13/2012 09:04:34 AM

Take the bassline out, uh-huh
Jigga (bounce wit it), uh-huh uh-huh uh-huh, yeahh
Let it bump though

["Annie" sample]
It's the hard knock life (uh-huh) for us
It's the hard knock life, for us!!
Steada Treated,we get tricked
Steada kisses, we get kicked
It's the hard knock life!!

From standin on the corners boppin
to drivin some of the hottest cars New York has ever seen
For droppin some of the hottest verses rap has ever heard
From the dope spot, with the smoke Glock
fleein the murder scene, you know me well
from nightmares of a lonely cell, my only hell
But since when y'all niggaz know me to fail? Fuck naw
Where all my niggaz with the rubber grips, bust shots
And if you with me mom I rub on your tits, and what-not
I'm from the school of the hard knocks, we must not
let outsiders violate our blocks, and my plot
let's stick up the world and split it fifty/fifty, uh-huh
Let's take the dough and stay real jiggy, uh-huh
And sip the Cris' and get pissy-pissy
Flow infinitely like the memory of my nigga Biggie, baby!
You know it's hell when I come through
The life and times of Shawn Carter
nigga Volume 2, y'all niggaz get ready

["Annie" sample]
It's the hard knock life, for us
It's the hard knock life, for us!!
Steada treated, we get tricked
Steada kisses, we get kicked
It's the hard knock life!!

I flow for those 'dro'ed out; all my niggaz
locked down in the ten by fo', controllin the house
We live in hard knocks, we don't take over we borrow blocks
Burn em down and you can have it back daddy, I'd rather that
I flow for chicks wishin, they ain't have to strip to pay tuition
I see you vision mama, I put my money on the longshots
All my ballers that's born to clock
Now Imma be on top whether I perform or not
I went from lukewarm to hot; sleepin on futons and cots
to King Size, dream machines, the green fives
I've seen pies let the thing between my eyes analyze life's ills
Then I put it down type braille
I'm tight grill with the phony, rappers y'all might feel we homies
I'm like still, y'all don't know me, shit!
I'm tight grill when my situation ain't improvin
I'm tryin to murder everything movin, feel me?!

["Annie" sample]
It's the hard knock life, for us
It's the hard knock life, for us!!
Steada treated,we get tricked
Steada kisses, we get kicked
It's the hard knock life, for us
It's the hard knock life, for us!!
Steada treated , we get tricked
Steada kisses, we get kicked
It's the hard knock life!!

I don't KNOW how to sleep, I gotta eat, stay on my toes
Gotta a lot of beef, so logically, I prey on my foes
Hustling's still inside of me, and as far as progress
you'd be hard-pressed, to find another rapper hot as me
I gave you prophecy on my first joint, and y'all lamed out
Didn't really appreciate it, til the second one came out
So I stretched the game out, X'ed your name out
Put Jigga on top, and drop albums non-stop for ya, nigguh!

["Annie" sample]
It's the hard knock life, for us
It's the hard knock life, for us!!
Steada treated, we get tricked
Steada kisses, we get kicked
It's the hard knock life, for us
It's the hard knock life, for us!!
Steada treated, we get tricked
Steada kisses, we get kicked
It's the hard knock life!!
.. It's the hard knock life!!
................ it's the hard knock life!!

Thanks to Da Mackster (Dean, London) for submitting Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem) Lyrics.

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musical art | Reviewer: Anonymous | 1/29/12

JZ used thE sample to contrast his lyrics.. the children's voices are supposed to ease the listeners guard but the words to the song portray a completely different environment where children would be found. It's art through music.

The sample got me intersted..... | Reviewer: Not typical listener. | 1/14/12

Hey y'all, I am a 52 year old white man so I am not JZ's tipical listener. I heard an interveiw of him on NPR's Fresh Air so I know that he had sampled H.K.L.. Right now my little girl is watching "Anny" and I Googled the lyrics to the origional song and this version.
JZ grabbed my attention by using the sample or else I would have never read his lyrics and even tried to learn his message. I don't want to live in the world he describes but I can relate to some of his words. He is a wise man to use the sample to reach a wider audiance IMHO. I wish you all peace and tolerance.

You dont get it about the sampling. It matters not | Reviewer: david hornbuckle | 10/4/10

See it matters not. The real creativity is in every single word of these lyrics. The beat of a song doesn't matter. I mean if the content of the lyrics was shit then yeah sampling the its a hard knock life would be a bunch of bull shit. I mean come on. Who the hell listens to Annie any way. It's creative enough to use the sample in the first place. I mean I get pissed when I head some songs that are sampled in todays music but I think it takes an actual good artist to know what the fuck to sample. Now that I say that Jay Z samples a lot of songs in his current music and you know what I'm not totally down with that nor do I think its a particularly awesome sample to use for some of them but the truth is in the lyrics. Because the lyrics are good it doesn't shit on the original song as much as say TLC's dont go chasing water falls which was a shit song to begin with but once I found out it was a sample I was like. Man. mother fuck this song. How lame. Hmmmm...Ughghghg I guess this song is bad ass because who the hell even thinks about "Its a hard knock life" as being a sample. It's not like people listen to the Annie sound track unless they are gay. I mean Yeah. The better point would be that the Annie track was never a REAL "HIT" to begin with so what the fuck. It's more creative to use that irrelevant song to make a real bad ass hit. For instance I head a song with Slim Thug. He sampled " I Ran" by flock of seagulls. Now that was some fucking gay shit. I mean the sample -may- not have been as horrible of a choice if the rapper who laid down verses to it didn't totally lay down some whack ass verses on that shit. Yes. I would say this argument has bits a pieces of sensible irrefutable proofs in it. I'm not gonna write a fucking essay. However, yeah who listens to Annie, the song was Never a "Hit", no one listens to it today wide spread, I mean another point. The fact that he used this sample was genius in itself. The novelty in it. Is amusing in itself. You Know God Damn. How can y'all even argue about THIS particular sample. C'mon. Go a head and shit on " I Ran" by Slim Thug because the rap sucked balls in it. But don't say this type of complete Fuckin shit about this one. I mean shit. The fact that he even had the idea to lay down some bad ass verses about becoming a rich awesome mf - rapper - also ppl trying to keep his ass down- is good enough of a concept in itself to be commendable. Like forever young. I wasn't psyched about him sampling that song at All. It's like. Woah. a little too damned early for me jay-z. However hes got the original guy on it- or I Think thats who the white old guy is singing the sampled hook. However, the fact that the lyrics were tight enough and relevant enough to the original song made it genius bc it pretty much made the "forever young" of the new generation I.E. ummm the generation that listens to rap and the young people who are living their owns lives more so than back in the original songs day. blah blah blah. Yeah.

Hmmm... | Reviewer: Colonel | 9/9/10

So sampling is unoriginal? Hmmm... I guess one would also have to say cover songs are unoriginal because it's the same concept (in fact it's almost the exact same thing). And anyone that would argue a cover couldn't be original would be someone that obviously has no idea what they're talking about... of course there are musicians that cover songs merely to steal the glory of the original... there are also musicians that add their own voice to a cover and make the song completely their own (Jimi Hendrix is a good reference point here... as is Coltrane, and really most great jazz musicians).

And anyone that understands anything about music knows that pretty much every genre is built upon teachable, and rather simple forms... so, in essence anyone playing music is stealing from someone else. Even the greatest artists steal, it's impossible not to (if we're just defining stealing as using something you didn't invent).

It's not where it comes from, because that is never a totally original place, that matters. Rap started as dance music essentially, taking liberally from disco, R&B, Soul, Funk and other popular 'black' genres of music. It was never original, nor where the genres it was taking from.

What's most important, though is what an artist is able to do with these recognizable forms, and that is where debate comes in, but to argue flat out that 'sampling' is unoriginal is moronic.

Sampling isnt good | Reviewer: kool | 7/20/10

Sampling isnt good, if you take the sample, and dont make anything new, you just basically steal the old idea, and put there a lyrics, thats all.
Thats shit.. compar it to old hip hop tunes.
It had lyrics, own beats, and if used some sample, then made it to look differen, not exactly same as original....

So! | Reviewer: Andrews | 6/29/10

So, this song makes me feel good, which.. is really all that matters to me. Sampling doesn't matter, even if it -may- seem to people that its taking the easy way out. Honestly, it isn't. He splashed the new with the old, giving rap a bit of culture. Yes. Culture.

No idea's original | Reviewer: Kome | 1/5/10

Sampling makes it all look unoriginal u might say it sounds nice bt wat ya xpect they sampling hit tracks all d same no idea's original and sampling ain't totally wrong as long as u r not a copy cat

Great Song Regardless of Sample | Reviewer: Tinashe Tanyanyiwa | 12/29/09

Fuck Jason & anyone like him! Sampling dasnt mean u bein unoriginal t jus means u'v incorporated a concept 2hlp bring out ur own creation & Jigga hs dne gr8 wit songs dat gt samples, remember Dead Presidents? Hardknock Life... Fuckin awesome, applaud him

Shut up about samples. | Reviewer: JES | 6/25/08

Using samples does not make the song entirely unoriginal in any way. Claiming that is like claiming DJ Shadow's album Endtoducing, is an unoriginal album, and we all sure as hell know that isn't true.

So just enjoy a great rap song with a cute little sample that is used rather effectively. Goddamn.

Quit Cmplainin | Reviewer: Anonymous | 6/21/07

Look rap is a creation, just sometimes we gotta take from the past to create the future. It takes plent of talent to produce these songs. That's just the course, what about the lyrics, verses of em and beats it's a whole process.

Jay'z' "Hard Knock Life | Reviewer: Vit IIkakshli | 5/6/07

Sampling may be unoriginal, but the end result sound nothing like the original song from which the sample came. That said, I sure as hell like this rap version better than that cheesy Annie song--Jay-z has taken a childish tune and mad it hip.

Class | Reviewer: Bryan | 4/23/07

Brilliant tune, duno who you are 'Jason Weyandt'(if that is your real name) but you think your cool slaggin jay z, FUCK OFF

Rhymin' and Stealin' | Reviewer: Jason Weyandt | 6/25/06

Just another song where the producers and the artist involved have stolen a theme or chorus. People please, when are we going to mature and take rap / hip hop to the place where it should be -a creation, not a regurgitation. Who can't take a proven hit or theme and mix it up with lyrics. This is like low budget Kareoke and where paying money to here it. A proven hit is already that, a hit. It takes minimal,if any, talent to produce these songs. Actaully all it takes is the money to pay off the copyright. I know I am just a no-name but have you ever tried to wright lyrics for a rap song...its not to hard, but have you ever tried to come up with an Original beat that actually sounded tight, now that is hard as hell! Don't let these rappers steal from the OG artists and sell it back. I know it sounds good! Of course it does, it was already a huge hit!!!