Can I Live

TitleCan I Live
AlbumReasonable Doubt
Release Date1996-06-25
DescriptionIrv Gotti samples “The Look of Love” by Isaac Hayes as Jay asks a simple yet resonant question. A sequel was created with a feature from Memphis Bleek and was added as a bonus track to reissued versions of Reasonable Doubt.

Producer Sean C, who has previously worked with JAY-Z, gave his assessment of the track:

It just speaks to striving and working. He was flossing on the record, but he was dropping a lot of jewels in the record as well. I know it’s like a drug-dealer song, but it’s really about work ethic more than anything. And life.
Lyrics[Produced by Irv Gotti]

Yeah, hah, yeah, Roc-A-Fella
We invite you to somethin' epic, you know?
Well, we hustle out of a sense of hopelessness
Sort of a desperation
Through that desperation, we become addicted
Sort of like the fiends we accustomed to servin'
But we feel we have nothin' to lose
So, we offer you, well, we offer our lives, right?
What do you bring to the table?
[Verse 1]
While I'm watchin' every nigga watchin' me closely
My shit is butter for the bread, they wanna toast me
I keep my head, both of them, where they supposed to be
Hoes'll get you sidetracked, then clapped from close feet
I don't sleep, I'm tired, I feel wired like codeine, these days
A brother gotta admire me from four fiends away
My pain, wish it was quick to see
From sellin' 'caine 'til brains was fried to a fricassee
Can't lie, at the time it never bothered me
At the bar, gettin' my thug on properly
My squad and me lack of respect for authority
Laughin' hard, happy to be escapin' poverty, however brief
I know this game got valleys and peaks
Expectation for dips, for precipitation we stack chips, hardly
The youth I used to be, soon to see a mill'in
No more Big Willie, my game has grown
Prefer you call me William
Illin' for revenues, Rayful Edmond-like
Channel 7 News, round seven jewels, head dead in the mic
Forgettin' all I ever knew, convenient amnesia
"I suggest you call my lawyer, I know the procedure."
Lock my body, can't trap my mind
Easily explain why we adapt to crime
I'd rather die enormous than live dormant, that's how we on it
Live at the main event, I bet a trip to Maui on it
Presidential suites my residential for the weekend
Confidentially speakin' in codes since I sense you peekin'
The NSX rental, don't be fooled, my game is mental
We both out of town, dog, what you tryin' to get into?
Viva Las Vegas, see ya later at the crap tables
Meet me by the one that starts a G up
This way no Fraud Willies present gamblin' they re-up
And we can have a pleasant time, sippin' margaritas
You might also like[Chorus]
Can I live?
Can I live?

[Verse 2]
My mind is infested with sick thoughts that circle
Like a Lexus, if driven wrong it's sure to hurt you
Dual level like duplexes, in unity
My crew and me commit atrocities like we got immunity
You guessed it, manifest it
In tangible goods, platinum Rolex'd it
We don't lease, we buy the whole car, as you should
My confederation, dead a nation
Explode on detonation, overload the mind of a said patient
When it boils to steam, it comes to it
We all fiends, gotta do it: even righteous minds go through this
True this, the streets school us to spend our money foolish
Bond with jewelers and watch for intruders
I stepped it up another level, meditated like a Buddhist
Recruited lieutenants with ludicrous dreams of gettin' cream
"Let's do this," it gets tedious
So I keep one eye open like CBS — you see me stressed, right?

Can I live?
Can I live?
Can I live?
Can I live?