Friday, July 5, 2013

Music Review: Jay-Z's 'Magna Carta Holy Grail'

Around 1 AM yesterday I woke up (after going to bed super early) to all sorts of 'Magna Carta Holy Grail' #MCHG talk on my Twitter timeline.  I found a link to Funk Master Flex's stream of the album and tuned in, in time to catch a few songs. And I wanted more! Without having one of the Samsung devices that allowed the 1st 1 million to download the Magna Carta Holy Grail album for free on July 4th, I was pretty much SOL.

..Or so I thought... I got my hands on the album and here's my thoughts after giving it about 3 thoughtless listens (while I was occupied with various tasks) and one thorough listen:

1. "Holy Grail" ft. Justin Timberlake: Speaks of love/hate relationship with fame. And I don't really feel no kind of way about this song. I neither like nor dislike it.

2. "Picasso Baby": Nice production. And as being the 2nd track on the song, I thought, "This is probably what Swizz [Beatz] meant when he said this album had some 'classic(old) Jay'". Though the lyrics in the first half of the song boasts an "I've made it..made it."'tude as opposed to his boastful topics of his early career.

The beat switches up and Jay gives us some old, "uh-huh-uh-uhhuh"'s and opens his rhyme with, "I never stuck my c*ck into Fox's box", addressing the rumors of a past sexual relationship with his young female partner on quite a few songs, Foxy Brown.  I've been wondering on that topic since Nas rhymed: "Foxy got you hot/cause you kept your face in her puss" and Foxy Brown's behavior on stage with Jay, (I think it was), on his "Fade To Black" documentary... Y'all remember footage of her tryna back it up on him and giving that look?? I remember him looking disinterested and moving.  Made me think that they used to have something at one point and she was trying to spark some flames (or memories...yearning..) and he doused her plans with cold-"No Thank You".

..Guess he cleared that one up..

3."Tom Ford" "Clap for a nigga/with his rappin' ass/Blow a stack for your niggas with your trappin' ass".  Not more needs to be said than Jay's missus, Bey, joins him at the end of the track repeating his words, "Comin' up/Comin' Down/Ride clean/Fix your hair in my crown", in a sensual, southern drawl.

4."F*ckwithmeyouknowigotit" ft. Rick Ross is my favorite.  The beat bangs. Jay's flow is nice and Rick is a nice complement.

5."Oceans" ft. Frank Ocean: Jay ties a few topics in this one.  From his past life as a dealer, to Christopher Columbus "finding" America, "Anti-Santa Marie..Only Christopher we acknowledge is Wallace [Biggie]", to being a trailblazer and his current status of fame and flash.

6. "F.U.T.W": "F*ck Up The World" is a reflection on his accomplishments. And from the sounds of it, he ain't done one-up'ing himself yet. (I LOVE IT!!)

7. "Somewhere in America" The production has a lil Calle 13 in it, right ("Atrevete te te")? The piano overlay is nice. Miley Cyrus and her (weird) twerking is mentioned. LOL

8. "Crown": Sizzla's "Solid As A Rock" is sampled. I'd consider this one my 3rd fave.

9."Heaven": "Conspiracy theorists screamin' Illuminati/They can't believe this much skill is in a human body"

10. "Versus" is less than a minute long (an interlude?). I'd love to have this as a full-length song. Totally left me wanting more.

11. "Part II (On The Run)" ft. Beyoncé is a "Bonnie and Clyde"-type song. This is obviously titled "Part II" as a continuation of the duo's "Me & My Girlfiend". "My baby mama harder than a lot of you niggas" Yep..

12. "Beach Is Better" is another track less than an minute. And again... I WANT MORE!!

13."BBC"ft. Nas ranks as my 4th fave. Nas & Jay together is always a good look.

14. "Jay Z Blue" speaks on fatherhood and his love for his daughter, Blue. Is it okay to say Biggie is featured in this record?? His voice definitely makes a couple appearances.

15. With "La Familia" Jay Chief Keefs us with his flow on the hook. But some lyrics caught my attention:"Niggas wanna kidnap wifey/Good luck with that brah/You must gonna hide your whole family".  Wayne?? LOL Even with that Keef flow, I still count this song as one of my favorites... I'd say the 2nd fave.

16. "Nickels And Dimes" uses "nickels" and "dimes" in reference to guns and girls...The grit and the beauty.. And of course, getting money.

As time moves along, a few more songs may grow on me, but for now, I'm really on only a good 7..maybe 8..9 songs, of the 16 Holy Grail Magna Carta offers.  And that's including the 2 tiny tracks less than a minute each.  Overall, it's definitely worth a purchase.

If you haven't gotten your hands on the record yet, be sure to purchase on iTunes, July 9, 2013.  You can pre-order now.

The red-numbered songs are my picks.

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