At this point in Jay-Z’s career, you should know whether what you’re going to get. His twelfth album, Magna Carta Holy Grail, released early to Samsung Galaxy owners on Thursday, could’ve been called Blueprint 4 and no one would’ve expected any different. The album is good but it isn’t anything that could be considered a classic. It’s far from it but it’s still worth the listen when the album debuts on Tuesday. However, I ask: why the hate? The album has been receiving bad reviews and I don’t understand them.
The album opens up with vocals from Justin Timberlake singing his heart out. It’s far from Suit and Tie in tone and lyrics. Like all new Jay Z tracks, the song is about how rich he is and how he has to articulate every single so he doesn’t end up on his ass and broke. He references MC Hammer and Mike Tyson as examples of how becoming rich and famous can turn dark. JT singing back up vocals brings the song a darkness that introduces us to the sort of dark tone for the rest of the album.
Picasso Baby lightens the mood a bit. It’s about how rich he is, which isn’t a surprise. The song is riding on the line of corny and awesome with lyrics about how much money he has and how there’s always time for more. The next few songs are corny and are cringeworthy to listen to, especially Tom Ford. Oceans, with vocals from Frank Ocean, is an empowering song about coming from nothing to something.
“In trouble waters I had to learn how to float
On the ocean, I’m in heaven
Yachting, Ocean 11”
The next song worth mentioning is Part II (On The Run), featuring vocals from Beyoncé. It’s supposed to be in the vain of Bonnie and Clyde 03 over ten years ago but it’s nowhere near as catchy and, for a lack of a better word, good. However, listening to Beyoncé sing and stretch out her lyrics in a breathy manner is enjoyable to listen to. Jay Z Blue is a song about his baby girl that sounds schizophrenic. I don’t understand if he trying to rap about how much he loves his daughter or how much of a terrible father he’s going to be. I mean, he references Mommie Dearest for Christ sake.
While some of the songs on the album are good, the album isn’t all that great. For the Jay Z fans, you should definitely buy this album because it’s what you’d come to expect from the man. However, if he could rename the album Blueprint 4, it would make more sense considering how little this sounds from Blueprint 3. The album has been compared to Yeezus and how much better it is compared to MCHG. It’s an unfair comparison with West’s ever changing style album to album and Jay’s if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it mentality. If you have a Galaxy phone, just download the app and give it a listen, if not, just wait until Tuesday.