Magna Carta Holy Grail is Jay-Z’s current solo hip-hop album. Now, after 2011’s Watch The Throne collaboration with Kanye, and even with the release of Ye’s own Yeezus earlier this summer, there were a lot of high expectations for MCHG. So, the album drops, people give it a listen, and…it’s good. It’s fine, really.
For those of you who are dubbing MCHG as a “disappointment”, you need to clear your head first. Toss aside any comparison of Jay-Z to Kanye, because even though their artistic bromance is worth envying, they’re two different artists in the end.
All the themes you’d expect from a Jay-Z album are here on MCHG: His rags to riches story, throwbacks of his drug selling days, jabs at critics, his absentee father, his young family. The lyrics remain potent and commanding, while his swagger and ultimate presence keeps the rest of the track afloat. ”Part II (On the Run)” continues Jay’s streak of on-point collaborations with his wife. The Frank Ocean collaboration ”Oceans” is a definite standout, as is ”Somewhereinamerica” and ”Holy Grail,” which features Justin Timberlake’s smooth vocals.
Just remember this; Jay-Z is 43 years old. His debut album Reasonable Doubt came out the same year I started kindergarten, and he’s still going. In short, Magna Carta Holy Grail may not be Jay-Z’s most successful album to date, but it is his most important. There are moments on the album that will make Hov fans out of kids who weren’t even born when “Big Pimpin’” came out.
12 albums in 25 years, Jay is undoubtedly a legacy artist. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.
Tracklist for Magna Carter Holy Grail
1. Holy Grail (feat. Justin Timberlake)
2. Picasso Baby
3. Tom Ford
5. Oceans (feat. Frank Ocean)
11. Part II (On the Run) [feat. Beyoncé]
12. Beach Is Better
14. JAY Z Blue
15. La Familia
16. Nickels and Dimes