Jay-z isn’t lame, but it really is a shame how influenced he is by the current state of the game. First, I would like to say that Magna Carta…Holy Grail is a really cool title. If you understand the history behind the document and lore behind the grail the title paints a pretty cool picture in your mind. The Magna Carta is a document that was written to limit the power of a king in England. That being the beginning of the the title of this album says to me that Jay-z feels like we are trying to put limits on his ability to succeed or maintain his spot at the top of the game. I’m sure the heads of his record label have doubts because this is his 12th solo album and he’s not the hottest artist in the game anymore. The second part of the title (…Holy Grail) then seems to say that he’s breaking all these rules or any doubts we may have about Jay-z being the greatest. The Holy Grail is said to be the chalice that Jesus drank from during the last supper. This is suppose to have special powers because he drank from it. If someone had this chalice they would most likely be able to do whatever they wanted.
What would the world be like if Jay-z actually had the Holy Grail? He’d probably be able to live his life without constantly being judged by people on the outside looking in. The Song ‘Somewhereinamerica‘ is Jay showing us how America contradicts itself. No matter how much money he makes he’s still just another black man to a lot of people and even though he can go to all these expensive places, everyone is still looking down on him. Not only is everyone staring at him with disgust they are looking for a reason to have him shamefully removed from the party. At the end of the song he says, “Feds still lurking…but some where in America, Miley Cyrus is still twerking.” Everyone is so focused on him that they seem to overlook Miley Cyrus twerking on stage somewhere. She has already accepted who Jay is and the hip-hop culture without a second thought. Not only is she the future, she is influencing the generations coming up. To me that says that no amount of evil glares can stop the change that is going to come. The only problem I really had with this song is that all the information you need to know is at the beginning of the song and at the end of the song. If this song would have been a bit more solid, he really could have made a statement with it.
Another song that may get dismissed is Versus. It’s very short, could be considered an interlude, but he is saying something. I think this song is a jab at 50 Cent. The only thing to link 50 cent to this diss is his laugh at the end. The only possible explanation for this jumbled, unfocused and shameful diss is that it is bait to draw 50 Cent out. I don’t see that backfiring either because 50 Cent is disrespectful, but he’s no lyricist. This is just my theory, Jay may not have even thought this far. He could have just been talking trash.
When I actually get into listening the album, its hard. I have a few favorites, but a lot of the tracks are easy to skip there’s nothing gripping about them. We all know Jay-z for powerful, intertwined, stunning lyrics. He hasn’t really been performing that well lately and this album tells me that he needs to take a break. Songs like La Familia, Nickles and Dimes and F*ckwithmeyouknowigotit are embarrassing for somebody so high up. Picaso Baby has an amazing concept he just couldn’t pull it off. In the beginning he’s talking about how well he’s doing, he wants to buy all these things. Then the beat changes and so does the entire tone of the song into no matter how many things he has he’s still going to have hardships, his life won’t change. My favorite line in the song is “My Mirandas don’t stand a chance with the cops.” That line says so much, but I just can’t rock with this song. This song should be hot!
I think we can omit this album when we tally up the scores for G.O.A.T.(Greatest of All Time.) The album had a great concept, but he executed it poorly. I just expect more from him and I know there’s a lot of people that feel the same way. There were hot lines here and there, but honestly that’s not enough for me to listen to this album again. I say if you miss the old Jay-z, skip this one. Jay‘s got to come harder than this man, he’s rapping on default. I feel like he thinks at this point in his career, no matter what he puts out people will just eat it up. Which is probably true to an extent, but there’s a lot of us out there that really expect Jay-z to consistently be the powerful artist that we have seen him to be.
Overall I would give Magna Carta….Holy Grail a C. There are a few gems on the album. Give it a listen before you completely give in to my judgment. Let me know how you feel about it.
Somewhereinamerica – The beat is all that
Part II(On The Run) – Great song with Beyonce