Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the most official album review for this album…any review I do will be the most official review for that album. Anyway, here we do not judge names, bank statements, or tmz appearances. We judge music. Dig that.
Songs are judged on a 0-5 basis (0 being cheeks, 5 being classic), and the judgement is based on the following: lyrics, production, and the cohesiveness of the two. Whether or not the song is good for what it was intended to do, and its according entertainment value. Now, I am going to be very specific with what these numeric values mean in terms of what I am giving them. Here is the scale:
0-1.5 – Amongst the most terrible songs i’ve ever heard
2 – Bad song
2.5 – average song- not good/not awful
3 – pretty good, not mind blowing but good
3.5 – I could ride out to this
4 – Has great replay value
4.5 – Song/Album of the year candidate
5 – Classic hip-hop record
Albums in totality are judged by the same, but including flow of the album and consistency of attributes throughout the album. With that being said…
I took much longer with this review than I have with any other review. Why? Because nigga. This ain’t just a review. The things that are written on this here page are about Jay-Z, and nothing…nothing involving Jay-Z just is what it is. I’m going to do a few things in the review of this album called ‘Magna Carta Holy Grail’ Just keep reading…you’ll catch up. All that I ask is that the people who read this: Understand that this is not coming from an individual who hates Jay-Z. In fact…
1. Nas. 2. JAY-Z. 3. Ghostface Killah 4. Common 5. Pun/Pac/Cube… Point is, Jay-Z is my second favorite rapper of my time. So everything I say about this dude comes from a place of love…because I love this nigga.
Wait, before I review the album, I want to discuss the album title. What kinda bitch ass album title is this? From “We recorded this whole album in Paris” to “Niggas in Paris” to “Magna Carta”…lmao. Who this nigga think he is, b? You got the second highest net worth in hiphop…act like it. Act like you been to Paris before. This dude is acting how niggas act when they just learn something. Like Malcolm when he first got out the joint…on his “these gods words, not no hustle” shit. This whole “I gotta out-elite everybody else in the game…im a talk this 1200 ad, feudal baron shit to niggas now..” Actually, i’m a call my album that, and still talk about the same ole, same ole. Whatever the case, this whole jocking the slave owners grandfather shit ain’t exactly sitting well with me. It’s inauthentic. It’s an inauthentic attempt to be better than other niggas..but we already know half of the Jay-Z mythology is based around appearing better than other niggas… anyway, on to the album…Magna…Carta…Holy…Grail.
1. Holy Grail feat. Justin Timberlake – Ok first off…I dont fuck with Timberlake like that. Timberland Timberlake..I fuck with Pharrell Timberlake…just barely. With that said…thats how you start your album? aight then. This beat stinks, his flow stinks…I hate when he does this bullshit… my name is jay-z and i bought the nets…UHHH, i used to be friends with funkmaster flex….UHHH…. go home with that shit. Oh, and why the hell are you still trying to make a punchline out of Hammer? If this was 1991, Hammer might have called the dogs on that ass..but in Jay-Z fashion, he kicks niggas when they are down/vulnerable. This song is ass. And to top it all off, he is going to bridge the Nirvana joint…He tried to bring it back on the second verse, but nah…i’ll pass on this shit. 2.5/5
2. Picasso Baby – This beat is pretty damn fantastic. The hook got that old EPMD edit feel…I like it. Lyrically, he is limping to the finish line…wait, did he just say he is voguing on niggas? smh. “I never stuck my cock in the fox’s box”..was that an attempt to subliminally deny something that everyone has known to have occurred for about 15 years now? lol…nigga, you was smashing underage Inga…This reminds me of some volume 2 shit though.. 4/5
3. Tom Ford – A song named after the white dude who sorta rejuvenated the Gucci brand. You know, we certainly don’t get this enough in hiphop…rappers marketing for white designers…this is that futuristic ish. This song starts so terribly, continues terribly, and ends terribly. Timberland lost all of the love I gave him for Picasso Baby for this weak ass excuse for production…he also stole that atari arcade sound concept from Exile..but don’t take it from me…do the knowledge yourselves….Somebody said to me, “yo, Tom Ford is sweet, because it is an anti-molly song” How? because he says ONE line that goes “I don’t pop Molly I rock Tom Ford” lmao!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hey kids, don’t pop mollys…buy Gucci! and I was ready to change the track after I heard “Fuck hashtags and retweets, 140 characters in these streets” lmao!!!!!!!!! I bet yall thought that was dope. This is one of the worst Jay-Z songs ever. This is down there with I Know What Girls Like. 2/5
4. Fuckwithmeyouknowigotit feat. Rick Ross – In the spirit of the theme of terrible titles, you have fuckwithmeyouknowigotit… with this beat that we all have heard 30 other places. with this Rick Ross verse we’ve heard on 30 other songs…and why do we as fans accept shit like “Reeboks on I just do it, nigga” Is the association of Nike and Reebok both being shoe brands seriously enough to keep you niggas satified with a rapper’s lyrical ability? We are four songs in, and I still haven’t heard Jay-Z be dope lyrically. On any level…not even the “he’s old, accomplished, and he says clever things about being accomplished in his old age” like niggas try to credit him for…nope. 2.5/5
5. Oceans feat Frank Ocean – lol this nigga Frank Ocean…if he thinks just saying a bunch of ironic things relating to black history and modern society is deep or dope…he’s sadly mistaken. This beat though…this beat is kinda giving me a chubby forreal. Is it too much to ask though? A song defining Jay-Z verse? At this point, its becoming clear that the production/song concept is going to drive this album, because lyrically jigga isn’t carrying. 3.5/5
6. F.U.T.W. – these damn song titles man… Let me be great! aight…g’head. Let me know when you ready, homes. This is the best song thus far lyrically…The beat aint nothing special but it aint bad at all. He trill as Michael Jackson socks… sidenote…Jay-Z loves to namedrop/associate himself with universally great people. A part of the great Jay-Z mythology that I will touch on later…stay tuned! 3.5/5
7. Somewhereinamerica – Pharrell…You will never lose with Pharrell. I’m sure of such, but i’ll add this to the other 2 or 3 songs that if Jay-Z just rapped decent on them..they would be respectable. And if yall wanna accept the narrative about Miley Cyrus twerking and hiphops inescapable influence on white youth..g’head. I rather him do it rapping good…flowing well, and being clever. Didn’t happen here. 3.5/5 for the beat alone.
*Author’s edit: Somewhereinamerica was produced by Hit Boy, but you still can never lose with Pharrell
8. Crown – Flow wise, this may be his best song…which ain’t saying much because this is still just okay. This beat…meh. This song is not bad, but forgettable for sure. “I’m not a businessman, i’m a business…man” erected into a whole song…for the 1,000th time. 3/5
9. Heaven – Ok, this beat is pretty crazy. This is easily the best song on this album to this point. I actually fucks with his first verse. I actually fucks with this joint, even the 1990 jungle brothers arm leg shit at the beginning. 4/5
10. Versus – 52 seconds of huff over what exactly i’d picture a Swizz Beats/Timbaland collab would sound like. 3/5
11. Part II (On The Run) feat Beyonce – Beyonce singing about something other than the concept, content, beats, features and lyrics on this album being cliche…oh the irony. The track along with beyonce aint bad….but of course..this nigga spitting that huff. and he brought out the Juvenile back that ass up flow on this one…he limping…he limping. I typed that twice on purpose. 3.5/5
12. Beach is Better – See…this is what he has been doing the entire album, except on here he decided to do it better. 3.5/5
13. BBC feat. Pharrell and GOAT – Oh this shit has so much potential…that wasn’t reached. Did Jay-Z ask Nas to rap like him on here? Did Nas spit a weak ass mercy verse after hearing the rest of the album? These are my questions about this Nas verse which is astonishingly wack. Pharrell been throwing this nigga alleys all album, and jay be watching them shit float over his head. 3/5
14. Jay-Z Blue feat. Biggie lmao – this shit wasn’t half bad forreal. I’m not mad at it. I dont have much to say about it though either. 3.5/5
15. La Familia – Did this nigga just respond to lil wayne just now? lmao dog….this guy…this is trash. This Razor Ramon entrance music…this joint sound like half buttoned silk shirts. Miami coke binges…white high waters on the strip… 3/5
16. Nickles and Dimes – This sounds like a remix to the last joint…like the breakdown or something. Acting like he got some kind of struggle or worries or something and telling us for 15 tracks that he ain’t struggling at all. 3/5
Conclusion: I understand that it ain’t necessarily Jay-Z’s forte to hop in the studio with some brand new niggas and kick out some new elements (that travis scott shit was wack, so it doesn’t count) but this album could have been a whole lot better with fresher production. When you lose as much lyrically as Jay-Z has, you keep shit fresh with the other aspects of the album… the title and concept (sucked), the production (meh), the themes of the songs (same)…he did none of that….the way the album was released was great and eventful…thats about it though. This is the type of Jay-Z album that he has made most of his career. This is Volume 2, Volume 3, Kingdom Come, Blueprint 3…the difference is on Vol. 2 and Vol. 3 he could lyrically carry them shits. Now he is lyrically carrying prostrate meds. This niggas pen forgot its Viagra. It is what it is though.. He old, he rich…and he’s done. His legacy has already been cemented, and there is no turning back from that. He is going to always be my second favorite rapper of all time no matter how many seasons past his prime he decides to play. With that said, I aint gonna act like this shit is dope, because its Jay-Z and I love him. This is not very good at all, and all these niggas that have been pretending that it is are disgusting me. Whatever though.. Ctrl + click Picasso Baby, Oceans, Heaven…drag the shits to the big boy play list…bury the rest of this in obscurity…along with Born Sinner.
3/5 … BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE…
I’ve seen this being done by more than two bloggers, so i’ll oblige as well…
Reasonable Doubt- Blueprint- Black Album- Volume 3- Volume 2- Blueprint 2- Volume 1- Dynasty- Kingdome Come- American Gangster (What is with the fanfare with this album…it stinks) -MCHG -Blueprint 3
I’ll leave all of the collab albums out of it, because they aren’t his albums.
-Sonny Rockwell/Thelonious Funk