Jay-Z: Magna Carta … Holy Grail

22 Jul

I’m sure no one doubts just how awesome Jay-Z’s life is. He’s married to Beyonce, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, undoubtedly one of the greatest rappers of all time, and married to Beyonce. Besides, he’s never been shy about telling us all of this. You can’t have a Jay-Z album without some self-congratulation in every song, and we love him for it. No, I don’t doubt that his life his awesome, just that his latest album is.

Magna Carta … Holy Grail is far from a terrible album. The beats are fine, there is plenty of classic Hov lyrics and flow and some truly exceptional moments. For instance, Jay Z Blue and Nickels and Dimes are both excellent by any standard and F.U.T.W. is quite good. However, these stand-out moments are the exception to the mediocrity that defines this album. Even worse, they are often balanced by moments best forgotten. Letting Justin Timberlake take the first 80 seconds of your album takes quite some effort to forgive.

At 43, maybe we should expect an album that is more business than rap, and certainly the strongest songs are only about topics Jay could address at this stage in his life – fatherhood and philanthropy. Whatever the reasons may be, the result is album best forgotten. This is promising to be a very strong year for rap, but Magna Carta … Holy Grail doesn’t hold a place in it.

3 Responses to “Jay-Z: Magna Carta … Holy Grail”


  1. Review – The Marshall Mathers LP 2 | Top Five Records - December 1, 2013

    […] one shining exception, this has been the year of mediocre rap album from big name artists. The Marshall Mathers LP 2, despite being Eminem’s best album since The Eminem Show, does […]

  2. Earl Sweatshirt: Doris | Top Five Records - December 22, 2013

    […] and more oppressive than at first blush. Rap has changed from this style of production, now it struts in suits instead of shuffling around, hands in pockets, in the underground. This album comes at you hard and […]

  3. The Top Five Songs of 2013: Nikhil’s List | Top Five Records - December 26, 2013

    […] after no less than 43 years). There has been major rap release after major rap release after major rap release after major rap release (with a very refreshing minor rap release thrown in for good measure). We […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: