Jay-Z – Magna Carta Holy Grail
Jay-Z’s twelfth album was released on July 4th – Independence Day to much fanfare and discussion. The Brooklyn emcee is responsible for taking Hip Hop culture to heights unimaginable throughout his career. Using an innovative approach with this release, the celebration of success and a higher standard of living described on the LP is a result of hard work, focus and pure talent. At this point, his only competition may be the man in the mirror.
In what may be one of his most diverse releases to date, here are the SOHH.com 5 Reasons to download “Magna Carta Holy Grail”.
1. Hunger Games
In a era where time moves so much faster, when last year seems like five years ago and yesterday can feel like last week, it’s much harder to keep relevance in a society where information is always available and changes by the second. Especially with the internet. The last solo Jay-Z album “Blueprint 3″ was in 2009, but that could be considered a throwback in these times. There is more music being released now than ever before. It’s hard to even keep someone’s mixtape in rotation for longer than a week because ten more are slated to drop the next day. Fans in the genre of Hip Hop argue day in and day out about who is the best ever. Back when a reigning “king” would be on top for a year or so, now they may last a month before the majority decides differently and anoints someone new. With Jay-Z it’s never a question of his status – he remains the top pick on most people’s lists. Fans do wonder however, if Jay still has the hunger to challenge the new breed and old while remaining the trendsetter he’s always been with impeccable skill. On “Magna Carta Holy Grail”, he is certainly in outstanding form. Whether it’s denouncing competitors on “Tom Ford”, exposing slavery on “Oceans” or opening up about fatherhood on “Jay-Z Blue”, Hov delivers the goods with honesty and urgency.
2. The Perfect Album?
If any aspiring emcee, producer or record label owner could conjure up the greatest album ever, who would they use to create it? The answers may vary depending on who you talk to to. One word synomous with any Jay-Z album is quality. Folks may not like certain subject matter or production choices, but true artisitry always finds a way to shine through. There is something for everybody on each release. No one knew this album was coming. This added to the frenzy and overwhelming response to it. There were no early leaks before the scheduled date, which is very impressive. You can even sense the air of excitement in the viral videos released to promote the LP. The producers and artists on this release are considered some of the best to do it. Jay has placed “Magna Carta Holy Grail” as his fourth best album behind “Reasonable Doubt”, “The Blueprint” and “The Black Album” in that order. All of those albums are different and classic in their own way. Not just because of the intangibles, beats and elements involved, but simply because one the greatest lyricist of our time was behind the mic. Some people prefer the “Old Jay” but for this new generation do you think Jay will be received as one of the best still? What could he have done to make this the ultimate album – or is it already? One thing for sure, when Jay releases a LP the whole world talks about it – and listens as well.
3. No Phone, No Problem
Don’t get it twisted, the Samsung/Roc Nation deal was major and the first of it’s kind. By now we know the strategy, with Samsung buying a million copies of the LP to give it to their customers in an unprecedented marketing and promotional arrangement. The promo vids were all over the internet driving the loyal listeners into a craze. The night “Magna Carta” dropped, fans eagerly waited to receive the album via an app they downloaded. As Jay quoted on “Somewhereinamerica” a cut off “MCHG”, “Might crash ya Internet / And I ain’t even into that”. Due to the crazy amount of data surging as everyone was attempting to get the LP downloaded, the app closed in and out causing some folks major frustration, using their social networks to lash out. Bottom line – it still didn’t matter. In minutes after the album was released, a live stream began playing on both Hot 97 and Power 105 – two New York radio stations and fans still had a chance to enjoy the music and celebrate online. Even better thus far, “Magna Carta” is projected to have sales of over 500,000 the first week. Not counting the one million bought by Samsung, people are actually buying the project, on the net and in stores. Ultimately, whether or not fans had the newest Galaxy android – they still won. Somehow during the confusion and delays, heads still got the new Jay-Z joint. In today’s weakened music economy that is a phenomenal feat.
4. 4 Line Assasin
“N*ggas wanna kidnap wifey
Good luck with that bruh
You must gonna hide your whole family
What you think we wearing black for” – Jay Z
Yup, four lines. Jay-Z is a master in using minimal bars to address situations concerning any disrespect or opposition. The only emcee he dropped more than one song for is now featured on “Magna Carta” which truly is a wonderful thing. Looking back, Jigga hasn’t had to exert much effort in dismissing the competition. From 50 Cent, Cam’Ron, Jim Jones, Prodigy, Game and even Harlem World’s Meeno – Jay was able to throw a few jabs and keep it moving. The back and forths between Jay and Lil’ Wayne go back to as early as 2006 when Weezy told Complex Magazine he was “better” than Jay. From there Jay fired alleged subliminal disses on T.I.’s record “Watch What You Say To Me” which dropped in 2007. Things cooled out for a minute as Wayne joined Jay on the “American Gangster” album. Later Jay was featured on the million in one week seller “Carter 3″ in 2008. The mutual respect was evident as Jay even attempted to recruit Weezy to the Roc. Somewhere along the line, things went left. Baby “Birdman” Williams the C.E.O. of Cash Money Records, home to Lil’ Wayne told Tropical TV in 2009, “I don’t think he a number one emcee in no kinda way,” and “How could you be the best if you don’t make the best money, the most money and you don’t do the most.” From there Jay threw back a shot on the Kayne West featured “H.A.M.” to which Wayne responded back to on the “Carter 4″ cut “It’s Good.” Leading up to this release, nearly two years later – Jay swings back unexpectedly showing that fiery competitive nature as a true emcee should. Most fans thought Jay would just brush it off as if he lost that passion to be numero uno. Think again. There is no real beef as Jay addressed the situation as “Part of the sport and the competition” on Power 105 this week. Question is will Weezy F respond? With his upcoming 5th installment of the DJ Drama mixtape series “Dedication”, we will soon see.
When Nas and Jay link up to create music – it is always a fascinating moment. The illmatic one is featured on the high energy Pharrell produced ““BBC”. Justin Timberlake checks in on “Holy Grail” while Rick Ross provides his services to the Boi-1da produced “F*ckWithMeYouKnowIGotIt”. Beyonce adds her beautiful vocals to “Part II (On The Run)” and has ad-libs on other spots on the album as well. Frank Ocean does his thing on the chorus of “Oceans” produced by Pharrell. Other all-star production is provided by Swizz Beatz, Timbaland, The Dream, J-Roc, Marz, Kyambo “Hip Hop” Joshua, Mike WiLL Made It, Hit-Boy, Vinylz, Darhyl “DJ” Camper Jr., Mike Dean, Wondagurl and Tavi$ Scott.