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Album Review: Jay-Z – Magna Carta Holy Grail

Album Review: Jay-Z – Magna Carta Holy Grail

Artist: Jay-Z
Album: Magna Carta Holy Grail
Release Date: 4th July 2013
Tracks: 13 (+2 Bonus)

So, Shawn Carter’s back again with his twelfth album Magna Carta Holy Grail, released through Roc-A-Fella and Roc Nation (Jay-Z’s label) and distributed by Universal. The new album is Jay-Z’s first album since 2009′s The Blueprint 3, and was released on the 4th July, famous for being the date America gained independence in 1776. Maybe this is symbolic for the new album, showing us all that despite being into his 40′s, he is an old dog that can learn new tricks and maybe teach the new dogs a few of his own.

On the 16th June, Samsung Mobile’s USA branch posted this video on their official YouTube channel. If you were late hearing about this album, or you didn’t catch any of the build up, then you can use the video as a featurette for the album.

On the 22nd June, you may have also seen that Jay-Z teamed up with Samsung to host a scavenger hunt in Brooklyn, the winners of which had access to the track-listing for the new album. For those of you that haven’t seen, the track-listing is as follows:

01 Holy Grail
02 Picasso Baby
03 Tom Ford
04 FuckWithMeYouKnowIGotIt
05 Oceans
06 F.U.T.W
07 Somewhere in America
08 Crown
09 Heaven
10 Versus
11 Part II (On the Run)
12 Beach is Better
13 BBC
14 Jay Z Blue
15 La Familia
16 Nickels and Dimes
17 Open Letter (Bonus Track)

In addition to hosting the scavenger hunt for the album track-listing, the Brooklyn-born hip-hop artist gave away 1 billion free copies of his new album Magna Carta Holy Grail to Samsung users. The idea was that on the 24th June, the Magna Carta Holy Grail app was made available to download from the official website and the first billion users were granted access to download the album for free. If you were one of those lucky billion, let us know in the comments. Of course that would mean that you would have to be an American resident, as the offer was only available to US citizens.

Let’s take a look at the new album in more detail:

I have to say that this is one of the best albums of the year. That’s something that I say lot, but it seems that 2013 is a year for improvement, and every album that comes out seems to top the last. When Kanye’s album came out a few weeks ago, I listened to that obsessively up until the day that Magna Carta Holy Grail came out, and now I’m doing the same with that.

I had listened to Jay-Z before but I can’t say that I was a fan, and I wanted to like his music, but I couldn’t. At the best of times I considered that he didn’t take himself seriously, or there was something about the music that lacked desire. In the rap and hip/hop world it’s always a bonus to be confident and be aware of your ability, but it’s also something else to hear that an artist has worked for their place. (Inflammatory comments I know.) But when you’re as huge as Jay-Z and you’re at the top of the pile, there’s nothing to fight for, or to work towards, but now as he’s getting older and releasing more albums it’s clear to see he’s now fighting to prove he’s still the man to watch. Some of the tracks on Magna Carta Holy Grail, really show that Jay-Z hasn’t lost anything over the years, and proves his ever-growing ability and talent, even into his twelfth album.

If I could pick favourite songs, I think I’d had to choose the opening track Holy Grail (Ft. Justin Timberlake). The beats are far more serious and the flow is more intense and doesn’t let up. The hooks are catchy and you can hear the passion in the speed of the raps. It’s hard to describe these songs in any other way than I just want to dance, and yet I want to sit in my car and drive around with no place to go. I love it so much, I’m going to post it up here so you can take a listen:

All I’m really trying to tell you, is that this album will be one of the best purchases you make all year, and possibly for the rest of the year to come. Unlike some albums that have come out this year by prolific artists, this album does have good songs, but the amount of ‘dodgy’ songs is at a complete minimum. There have been occasions where I love an album so much, but there’s always those one or two songs that you skip when they come on, there’s only one song that I’m personally not keen on, and it’s not very often to come across an album that’s consistently brilliant throughout.

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Deputy Editor

19. Hemingway, Kerouac and Mother Nature. If you're an artist or a manager that would like to set up an interview, or request a review, you can reach me at: aaronsimpson@holdupnow.com

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