By on 26 July, 2013

JAY-Z - MAGNA CARTA HOLY GRAIL - Album Review! TOMORROW'S NEWS - The Latest Entertainment Today!

As solo artists go, Jay-Z is in a league of his own. With only The Beatles achieving more U.S Number 1’s than Mr. Carter it seems only a matter of time before he becomes the most successful artist in U.S. chart history.


There are not many artists who can claim to selling over 520,000 copies of their album in the first week but with his most recent record, titled Magna Carta Holy Grail, Jay-Z has done this despite giving a million copies away in a deal with Samsung. This $5million deal meant that certain Samsung customers would receive the album earlier than anyone else but that these sales would not count towards his position in the U.S. Chart.

All of this is very impressive and all, but what do we make of the new album? Well I’ve got mixed opinions of the album myself. On one hand I am happy that there aren’t as many features as previous Jay-Z albums. In contrast to this though, I feel that the album could have benefitted from a few more artists input.

11 out of the 16 tracks are Timbaland productions which is surprising considering Timbaland has been relatively quiet in the last few years. Also I don’t remember ever hearing an album with so many different samples. The album commences with a Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake song featuring a Nirvana Smells Like Teen Spirit sample and wraps up with the lesser known sample of the Gonjasufi track Nickels and Dimes.

Holy Grail, he follow-up to the Jay-Z / Timberlake song Suit & Tie, is undoubtedly the best collabo on the album. Timberlake‘s falsetto hooks break up Jay‘s articulate raps excellently. Picasso Baby features an Adrian Younge Sirens sample, and Jay-Z shows his appreciation for fine art (and his age!) by referencing various different artists from Picasso to Basquiat.

He also shares with us his vast range of Italian on F*ckwithmeyouknowIgotit by rapping not one, but TWO quotes. He starts with “Cent’anni” (Health for 100 years) and ends with “Ciao Bella” (Hello beautiful). I think this proves just how cultured he is. This might just be the only highlight of this one.

I am undecided about which one of the 16 tracks is my favourite though. It’s a tough choice between the song named after famed fashion designer Tom Ford which excellently uses a sample of 2012 M.I.A song Bad Girls as well as throwing out there some of the most entertainingly ambiguous quotes I have heard in a song for as long as I can remember.

My other favourite is SomewhereinAmerica which might just be the most talked about song on the album (well on Twitter anyway). It features lyrics referring to that famous Miley Cyrus “Twerking” video that is currently doing the rounds on YouTube. No-one is quite sure if Jay is poking fun at Miley or simply appreciating the video with the lyrics “Twerk Miley Miley Twerk” followed by a wry chuckle. Either way, the beat is good and the song is catchy and that is all that matters.


Overall, the album is definitely worth a listen. It is a little hit-and-miss and by no means Jay-Z‘s best album but it certainly isn’t his worst and for anybody who needed a “reminder”, numbers don’t lie and the sales figures speak for themselves!


Rating: 7/10



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