Jay-Z - Magna Carta Holy Grail
Does Jay-Z even own a Samsung Galaxy smartphone? He probably has a closet full of them. He’ll probably stuff them into the gift bags at Blue Ivy’s next birthday party. Is this something I should care about? Not really.
I don’t own a Samsung smartphone, which means I had to do some highly technical Internet espionage to hear Jay-Z’s most recent “Galaxy-exclusive” album Magna Carta Holy Grail before it’s released worldwide this Tuesday. It took me about 43 seconds.
It makes me cringe to think of an artist using a billion dollar brand to sell his art, but Jay-Z kept the marketing classy and provocative, and I can’t even front that the advertisement he aired during the NBA finals didn’t get me more than a little hype, so go ahead Jay, get that money.
Now that we’ve gotten the evils of corporate commerce out of the way, let’s talk about what’s really important, the music.
The beats are great. Jay always had a knack for picking great beats. The palate is elegant, futuristic, and tough. I was surprised to learn that Timbaland had his hands in 10 out of the 16 tracks. I had just about written him off after he so blandly regurgitated his mid-2000s production style on Justin Timberlake’s recent record. Even though most of the tracks on Magna Carta are collaborative efforts, it’s safe to say that Timbo got his groove back.
The featured guest spots and uncredited vocals do everything to add to the album’s fluidity and do nothing to take away from Jay’s grand vision. The lyrics are good, a little too much “rich guy rap” considering the album’s marketing, but still better than 90% of what’s charting today.
It’s not going to make me run out and trade in my iPhone for a Samsung Galaxy, but MCHG is another great notch in the impeccable Jay-Z legacy.
Album highlights: Picasso Baby, F.U.T.W, Heaven