Favorites: F*** with Me You Know I Got it, Tom Ford, Heaven
Overall: Attractive and memorable production & reflective lyrics, shows the endearing side of Jay-Z
I’m a child of Steve Jobs. I’ve been an iPhone user since the very first version. When Samsung announced their partnership with Jay-Z to deliver 1 million free copies of his new album, “Magna Carta: Holy Grail,” exclusively to Android users, sadness crept into my soul. I’ve always enjoyed Jigga’s music; it evolved as I did. From rough and tumble tales of “Hard Knock Life” in the ‘hood, to the Girls,Girls,Girls and moving “On To The Next One,” Jay-Z’s music has always spoken to me. “Magna Carta” was no different as Hova looks introspectively from where he currently stands, examining his childhood, career and new role as a father. Jay’s smooth delivery glides over a saucy beat on the album’s opener and first single,“Holy Grail” (featuring the soulful Justin Timberlake); a transformative experience that tells a story of love unreciprocated and gives a dichotomous depiction of a glorious life full of thrills. On “Blue,” a track mellowed out like the finest bourbon, the emcee pays homage to the newest edition of the Roc La Familia: his daughter, Blue Ivy. Sharing thoughtful messages from his father, Jay goes through his upbringing. Samples of Biggie Smalls lyrics are laced throughout, perpetuating the nostalgic vibe. Affectionately exclaiming on “My Beach is Better:” “I brought sand to the beach because my beach is better,” this album definitely shows a much more personal, kinder and gentler side of the multimillion-dollar mogul.
One of the most rewarding takeaways from project are the complex, almost mind-boggling production cuts from Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, Timbaland and a few newcomers. For example, the mysterious and dark beat of “Nickels & Dimes” breathes sobriety into Hov’s flashbacks of cooking dope and selling trees. “Tom Ford’s” exciting mix of percussion and synth makes for a mouthwatering melody and takes us back to the “Big Pimpin’” days. Among the most memorable tracks is “Heaven,” where he addresses the great “Illuminati” devil-worship discussion. At one point, he states “Conspiracy theorists screaming Illuminati…they can’t believe this much skill is in the human body…he 6’2, how the fuck he fit in the new Bugatti?.…Aw s***, you got me.” Throughout the song he adamantly insists that he is in fact playing for God’s team. Ultimately, “Magna Carta: Holy Grail,” represents a new era for the Carters--they do what they want and say what they want. He and his wife, pop-star Beyonce`, have elevated from the ranks of mere artists and business people. For that matter, they may have elevated past mere mortals! “Magna Carta: Holy Grail” is just that…sacred.