Jay-Z - Magna Carta Holy Grail

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"Magna Carta Holy Grail" may not offer a completely new vision or version of Jay-Z, but it's easily Jay's most cohesive project since "The Blueprint."

Jay-Z finds himself in a strange place artistically in 2013. The signs were there in 2007, when Jay reverted to coke rap on the excellent American Gangster. While doing so was a response to lukewarm reception to 2006’s comeback album Kingdom Come, Jay more reverted to the same territory on 2009’s The Blueprint 3 and 2011’s Watch the Throne. Though Kanye West’s presence on the latter allowed Jay a bit of latitude to work some social commentary, Throne was hardly a departure from the Jay-Z we’ve seen for much the past decade.

So where does that leave Shawn Carter musically in 2013? In pretty damn good shape, it turns out.

The first thing listeners will say to themselves upon clicking play on Magna Carta Holy Grail, the latest in music and technology synergy (or whichever industry buzzword one is wont to use), is, “Wow, Timbaland produced this?” Jay-Z has a list of producers with whom he’s had legendary rapport (Just Blaze, DJ Premier, and Kanye West, for example), but MCHG reminds us to not forget about Timothy Moseley. Unlike Timbaland’s subpar contributions on The Blueprint 3, Timbo completely avoids “Timbaland-isms” that would otherwise make a cut sound like “Jay-Z on a Timbaland track” rather than just a Jay-Z track. Whether it’s the Soul-Rock intro that is “Holy Grail” or “F.U.T.W.,” which sounds like it would be right at home following up “So Ghetto” on Vol. 3, Timbaland hits the right notes time and again on this one.

Hit-Boy’s excellent work on “Somewhere In America” lays the foundation for Jay to reveal that even as he shakes hands with Presidents and headlines Rock festivals, he still doesn’t feel welcome: “New money, they lookin’ down on me / Blue bloods, they tryna clown on me / You can turn up your nose, high society / …You should come to the housewarming / Come and see what your new neighbor ‘bout / Yellow Lambo in the driveway / One-thirty-five, I’m on the highway.” It may just seem like more stock Jay-Z braggadocio, but there’s real bitterness here.

“Jay Z Blue” is the piéce de résistance, however. Shifting from soft keys, guitar strums and lush strings to trademark Timbaland samples, Jay lays all of his fears about fatherhood on the line, informed by his own father’s failures. It’s a treat to hear a notoriously guarded artist speak so candidly.

The two most hyped tracks of the album surprisingly fall short. “BBC,” for one, isn’t as good as its billing. Not that the cut is bad; in fact, Nas, JT, Swizz Beatz and company genuinely sound like they’re having fun. But the track shows that Pharrell can’t quite escape his isms, which is a bit disappointing. “La Familia,” touted as a Lil Wayne diss, is easily the most forgettable MCHG outing, with lazy rhymes over uninspired production.

Magna Carta Holy Grail is where Jay-Z’s emceeing finally meets his “High Rap” ambitions. This is easily the best rhyming Jay’s done since American Gangster. But a sharp Shawn on the mic isn’t a surprise. What is a surprise is that this is the most cohesive project Jay’s put together since The Blueprint. The project is smartly produced, with Timbaland’s aforementioned contributions rewarding Jay’s faith in his old “Big Pimpin’” buddy, with contributions from Adrian Younge (of Twelve Reasons to Die with Ghostface Killah fame) and others adding fine touches to the record.

What really makes this project stand out from the overwhelming majority of major label Rap release in 2013: everything on this project sounds like it was recorded for this project. Beats don’t sound like they were chosen from a producer’s C:/ drive, and Rick Ross’ verse doesn’t have nothing to do with anything (see “Accident Murderers” from Nas’ Life Is Good). Who knows whether Jay-Z knew what he had in mind when he got into the kitchen, but instead of adding every spice available to him, he used only what he needed—and the recipe benefitted because of it.

When the book on Shawn Corey Carter’s music career comes to a close, the narrative about Jay-Z’s inability to evolve will seem silly in retrospect. After all, who else could call Big Daddy Kane, the Notorious B.I.G., Eminem, and Kendrick Lamar peers at different points in the same career? Jay-Z has endured, which is the measure of greatness. Magna Carta Holy Grail may not give us a completely new vision or version of Jay-Z, but it does clear up some of the fog that still paradoxically surrounds one of music’s most instantly recognizable personalities.

919 Comments

  • Pamela

    Jayz has been with men...CRAZY how no one discerned the evil spirit that came from his album cover.

  • Arian

    Pretty weak. Most tracks were admittedly dull Jay Flops on Tom Ford and La Familia. BBC Was pretty weak lyrically I expected more from Nas and Jay-Z. Although Picasso Baby and Nickels and Dimes were spot on though. The first verse on holy grail was probably one of the worst verses I have heard in my life. overall I would give this album a 3/5

  • teenage millionaire

    Better album over time ...

  • glory2111

    There is a whole social network based on favorite words out there: search FavoriteWords online for site (a perfect name) - it's intriguing.

  • Hector Gomez

    This album is not a classic at all, his worst project in my opinion.

  • mpumelelo

    a gud one, from the godfather of hip hop to lyk forever man damn man a gud one

  • Tinaturner73

    Love this entire cd!

  • Anonymous

    Good production and weak ass lyrics and in case u didn't know jay has more money then you that pretty much sums up the album

  • Karl

    Super dope album but nothing the blueprint or reasonable doubt

  • Chicago Rilla

    So ill, this album was under appreciated

  • Enrique Valentine

    A True Classic

  • TeReviewer

    A subpar to average album at best. Nowhere near Jay-Z's higher echelon of projects and it fails to live up to my incredibly high standards.

  • Kizman

    Time to end this G.O.A.T. foolishness. In this constant debate about Jay-Z being the best ever I read things like "Nas will destroy Jay-Z" or "Eminem got a better flow than Jay" Those are OPINIONS. When will you fools learn that you can't win a debate with OPINIONS. Every rapper has a different style based on where they are from, the time period in which they were most successful, and their unique personality. We all can go on for days about our personal preferences but in a debate criteria like this is completely IRRELEVANT and automatically BIASED. The only way to win a debate is with cold hard FACTS. And the fact of the matter is that, when you weigh all of the tangible criteria (Sales, Critical Acclaim, Consistency, Longevity, and Impact) Jay-Z makes the strongest case for the G.O.A.T. Eminem has sold nearly twice as much as Jay-Z, and he is Jay's equal when it comes to longevity and impact. But Em lacks the consistency or critical acclaim that Jay-Z has (Im not talkin cult/fanboy classics, Im talkin CERTIFIED classics. XXL/Rolling Stone/Source approved) Eminem is VERY close though. Nas has enjoyed more critical acclaim and more overall respect in the hip-hop community through the years. And he's definitely equal to Jay with longevity and impact. But he hasn't been no where near as much of a consistent presence in hip-hop as Jay has. And he is obviously lacking in the sales department. Lil Wayne just may be the most consistent rapper of all time. He's no slouch when it comes to longevity and impact either. His glaring flaw? In his 12 year career Lil Wayne has yet to drop a truly critically acclaimed classic album (and it can be done in this climate. just look at kanye's discography). Also, contrary to popular beleif, Wayne lacks in the sales department. Sure, Tha Carter III and IV are blockbuster albums, but his OVERALL sales of 10 mil US pale in comparison to Jay-Z's 31 mil. 2pac is a touchy subject. When it comes to impact, pac takes the cake. No other rapper touched the world like 2pac did. He, like Em, has also sold more than Jay and he was very consistent in his time. Sadly, 2pac passed before his time which allowed Jay-Z to surpass him in longevity and critical acclaim. LL Cool J was the prototype for what a G.O.A.T. could be. He has enjoyed the most longevity, and he was fairly consistent, but his sales, acclaim and overall impact are no where near the likes of 2pac, Eminem, and ofcourse Jay-Z. Biggie, Rakim, Common, Snoop, the list goes on. All of these MC's are great but none of them have the total G.O.A.T. package like Jay-Z does. Jay-Z is the 3rd highest selling rapper of all time, and the richest. He's one of the most acclaimed (perhaps only rivaled by his boy Kanye). He dropped multi-platinum albums YEARLY from 96'-03', and he is still going strong today. He's been in the game since 88'. He's impacted hip-hop in countless ways from starting one of the 1st successful MC-owned record labels, to being the 1st non-athlete with a signature shoe, to surpassing the likes of Elvis with #1 albums. Jay-Z is without question the Greatest MC Of All Time. Period. You don't have to listen to him everyday (Im currently on my Kendrick wave). You don't even have to like him. But for goodness sake, RESPECT THE FACTS.

    • Anonymous

      @DC...lol, you just ethered that Jay Z stan nigga. Facts>>Opinions.

    • DC

      I appreciate the 'facts' that you have given because it appears that you took a long time to really come up with all of that and present it in a cohesive matter. But i'm going to play devil's advocate here and pick at some of those facts you have listen. For one, what qualifies as critical acclaim? The OPINION of others stating that they like the music? Sounds like something outside of a fact to me. To state that Jay-Z is the most consistent is also a matter of OPINION. I could easily state that he hasn't made an album on par with Reasonable Doubt since the blueprint. How then would that impact your consistency argument? Sounds like a matter of OPINION to me. Then, I would have to question how impact is being measured. Is it just the positive impact that is being observed, or the negative impact as well? How would that uplift or tarnish the image of your so called greatest of all time Jay-Z? At best, I would say that impact can be estimated, but even that can have vague and unspecific lines. From there, I would question the statement of longevity. What does that consist of? Does that mean that he still has a positive impact on the culture of hip hop? Does that include any deviations in his original lyrical content? How does the idea of him having the most longevity (by your statement) ring true here? How can you prove that and what does that consist of. Honestly, the only real fact that's not able to be disputed is album sales. (Unless someone counted incorrectly of course!) And as you said yourself, EM outsold the man. Therefore, if the rest of the things that you listed are subjective and subject to opinion as I have indicated above, the G.O.A.T. argument is still on the table. P.S. It's way easier to just state that Jay is your favorite rapper of all time because your text is far too opinionated to be called 'facts.' I respect the argument though and I actually like Jay-Z. I just believe that the G.O.A.T. is a matter of opinion and nothing will change that.

  • nottheNwordagain

    The most stupid song I have ever heard and read. I guess he says, if these fools buy it, I'll sing it.

  • Men

    Jay Z is the best rapper ever. I mean his really is... MCHG is the best album this year if you really understand the words put together in the album. Hov is the only rapper saying what he does and what his going to do and you see him do them.. Rap is a funny genre of music and jay embodies it and says it in his rap a long time before now just happens a lot of you blacks are just so lame to realize what his was saying, guess you all now understood him now that you're older which is a good thing now you don't want to dance but get bread. Lol how a lot of fake rapper came your way and sold fake attitude to you all, posing with guns in their album cover and other horrible things to prove they are real as the cover gets and most of them were your favorite rapper... I wonder what you fools listen to now they are no more. I mean DMX, Ja rule, Game, Camron, Dr, Dre Snoop, Xzibit, Fat Joe, Nas, Buster, Twister, Lox, Kurrpt I can go on and on with this new cats rapping their lame ass off saying nothing. But we Hov fan will have him all season till you fools are no more. I listen to him because his the best, realist and here to stay. Other rappers and their fans are visitors like Hov said. This album don't need hip hop DX to rate it the best. Listen to it your self and rate is you are not a fool at 40 or a Youngin that want to dance with his tight colorful pants. This album is the best this year and next till he drops another... You fools don't get it that Jay will never stop and he makes music and not rap like your favorite rapper do, it's so funny your favs want his Dick. Hov: Who else you know been hot this long, (Oh Ya, you know we ain't finished) Started from nothing but he got this strong, (The ROC is in the building) Built the ROC from a pebble, pedalled rock before I met you, Pedalled bikes, got my nephews pedal bikes because they special, Let you tell that man I'm falling, Well somebody must've caught him, Cause every fourth quarter, I like to Mike Jordan 'em, Number one albums, what I got like four of dem, More of dem on the way, The Eight Wonder on the way, Clear the way, I'm here to stay, Y'all can save the chitter chat, this and that, this and Jay, Dissin' Jay 'ill get you mased, When I start spitting them lyrics, niggas get very religious, Six Hail Maries, please Father forgive us, Young, the Archbishop, the Pope John Paul of y'all niggas, The way y'all all follow Jigga, Hov's a living legend and I tell you why, Everybody wanna be Hov and Hov still alive. Yo, yo first I snatched the street then I snatched the charts, First had they ear now I hav they're heart, Rappers came and went, I've been hear from the start, Seen them put it together Watch them take it apart, See the Rovers roll up wit ribbons I've seen them re-poed, re-sold and re-driven So when I reload, he holds #1 position When u hot I'm hot And when your feet cold, mines is sizzelin It's plain to see Nigga's can't f*** wit me Cuz ima be that nigga fo life This is not an image This is God given This is hard liven Mixed wit crystal sipping It's the most consistent Hov Give you the most hits you can fit inside a whole disc and Nigga I'm home on these charts, y'all niggaz visitin It's Hov tradition, Jeff Gordan of rap

  • Lil Roc

    The lyrics on this album were ehh by Jay's standards what carries this album to me is not the lyrics but the tight production and Jay-z's flow and charisma. I like it a little better than watch the throne. On the run > Lift off

  • H.O.V.A.

    Classic, pure fire, amazing.

  • Paul

    It's obvious that hiphopdx rate all their artist based on there fame. Like these very mediocre album jay put up and they gave it 4 stars & the crap Kanye West did too while good mixtape like MGK and Tech nine album are rated lower. Mehn I love jay but thus is plain for radio.

  • SDK

    I MISSED THE JIGGA FLOWS

  • Peyman

    Maaaaaaan, 4 good songs ... 3/5

  • Michael Jiggetts

    I think this album was safe for Jay. It's a very strong album. Not Jay's best but it's not his worse. It's good music. He mixed politics, personal success, and his current happiness with his love of hip-hop. For Jay-Z this album is a 3/5. Compared to the hip-hop music that is out now it's a easy 4/5.

  • bruce dawkins

    COMING SOON!!!!!! Nas ft. Justin Timberlake You Owe Me Pt. 2 Produced by Timbaland

  • Brian

    I don't like it, but at least it's better than Yeezus

  • Joe dirt

    Man i think Big. L missed the mark on this one. LOL!!!! Oh shit this aint Big L, this is the pop rap star that took his style and went pop rap with it. True words from pack and Nas FUCK JAY Z.

  • Drake - Nothing Was The Same

    1. Tuscan Leather 2. Started From The Bottom 3. Degrassi Times 4. All Me (feat. 2 Chainz and Big Sean) 5. Toronto 6. Nothing Was The Same (feat. TLC) 7. OVO Taking Over (feat. Partynextdoor) 8. Come Back (feat. The Weeknd) 9. Oh Canada (feat. Justin Bieber) 10. Bromance (feat. Lil' Wayne) 11. Out Of The Blue 12. Cake (feat. Jay Z) 13. State To State (feat. Future) 14. Momentous Occasions (feat. Jhene Aiko) 15. Past (feat. Miguel) 16. Adjusting To Fame (feat. Justin Timberlake) 17. WEONLYLIVETWICE (feat. Rick Ross) 18. Lonely Stoner 19. Tears 20. Bus Stop (feat. Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole) 21. Versace Remix (feat. Migos, Rick Ross, Wale, Big Sean and Chief Keef)

  • BIGGEST JAY Z FAN

    VERY VERY GOOD BUT NOT SATISFYING . 4.5/5

  • Anonymous

    for a Jay Z album, i would give it 3/5. compared to other rap out now, it'd give it a 4.5. it's just a lack of great hip hop albums out now. so, i'd rather an "ok" jay album verses say, ace hood.

  • Dre-Rich

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  • Jwz

    Nobody can do what jay does at his age, 5/5 for sure!

  • Don Mucker

    Im not only a fan of Jay Z, but a fan of the machine. Lets be honest Jay Z will go out being be best rapper to ever do it. Not only has he had a career that keeps going and constantly finds ways to reintroduce new material to his audience for over 15 years. Im just saying thats not a rapper but a machine.

  • Anonymous

    > RICK ROSS is the Best Lyricist in the game >

  • Trey

    Jay Z presents new material w/ current generation beats & a classic flow. Some new flows, but same formula. Rags to riches, millionaire hustler than provides elitist, ambitious, and empirical minds will enjoy Hov's new metaphors. Noteworthy performances from Justin Timberlake, Beyonce & Timbaland assists on this album.If you're into auto-tuned, club anthems, this album is not for you. 5 of 5 for the 44 yr self proclaimed GOAT.

  • badre

    listen https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrgtepffWL4

  • Dentaldamboy

    Jay z is good, but not as good as Wayne. Wayne murked him on Mr Carter and Hello Brooklyn!

  • Klap

    Far from trash people! This is a real album! Disgust it like a great meal! Jay Z!

  • Klap

    Album is nice! I gotta give credit where credit is dew! Jay Z does it again!

  • Billboard

    It is what it is.

  • Anonymous

    album straight fire but he can keep the last 3 tracks they are shit

  • swavy cra

    This is a tuff album

  • steve

    Everything seems a bit rushed - and the end of Picasso baby just awful rhymes. Bring back Dynasty Jay-Z

  • Anybody

    Listening to jay z talk about how much he has gotten really boring. That's like a rapper saying they got two butt cheeks

  • Clutch

    Great album one of his best work in my eyes. But u have to listen to it over and over again to get it. Most people not me enjoy him while he is here people.

    • cody

      if you think this is his best album yet youre crazy. im not a jay fan but i respect him as an artist and reasonable doubt was his best work, also the black album was better than this crap.

    • Adolf Sniffler

      Yeah, can't get any more COMPLEX than this record right here, right. Looks like this comment section is full of the usual Jay-Z dickriders. Have a nice one, fools.

  • Frank Cazal White

    This is the best album out there for a forty plus year old guy jay z is advancing more and more Niggaz won't my old shit buy my old albums/ Niggaz stuck on stupid I gotta keep it movin/

  • badbdjd

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrgtepffWL4

  • Anonymous

    ok out side of A$Ap and kendrick this has to be the most entertaining hip hop album this year not the best but definitely the most entertaining its like that movie Sharknado you know its bull shit but you just have to listen lol

  • Action Bronson is Dope

    This album was ill kid

  • kkkmartin

    Jay Z album was alright, nothing special and i think its funny he marketing new ablum then he at rally for trayvon martin to help sales out. he is a true hypocrite saying the obvious things like the media is feeding u garbage and only trying to make money yet that is wat him and his has been wife and daughter with a name that sounds like a strand of weed, blue ivy LOL these people crack me up blue ivy???? is that wat he was smoking when he thought of this dumb ass name

  • beyoncepimp

    nothing special, i dont buy garbage like this from a fake ass hypocrite like Gay Z , dude really thinks hes some legend, sorry NAS said it best fuck jay z

  • noneofyourbusiness

    never been a big fan of jay-z but this album was really something! 8/10

  • playanj

    i give it 2 out 10!!! waste of money and try to return it to best buy, no luck fuck gay z

  • ogganstakilla

    i aint supporting jay z or satin or that ugly little bitch blue ivy

  • george zimmerman

    i did it LOL

  • trayvonslayer

    Jay Z was beter when in the past, like when he used to steal lines from biggie and blue ivy looks like a pile of cow poo

  • trayvonmartinfromthegrave

    fuck jay z and fuck zimmerman

  • suckmeballz

    trash downloaded for free, not letting Joe Camel get my money . if u wasted money on this garbage u are basically mentally challenged or get some check from the government

  • Da Legend

    MCHG isnt a classic but its on jay-Z upper half of albums in his discography.

  • Anonymous

    FUCC GAY Z CHECC THIS OUT https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpJ1_9EzNOU

  • @lpha

    I WORK FOR A GOVERNMENT SPECIAL INTEREST CORPORATION, MY WORKFORCE AND I GET PAID TO COMMENT ON WEBSITES THAT SWAY CULTURAL, POLITICAL AND SENSITIVE MATTERS REGARDING PUBLIC OPINION. WE CREATE ALIASES AND ARE GIVEN THE TASK TO CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT OF CONFUSION AMONG THE FORUMS OF MANY WEBSITES TO PREVENT THE PUBLIC FROM EXPRESSING, INSPIRING AND ULTIMATELY CONGREGATING. I DON'T WANT TO DO IT ANY MORE. THEY WILL FIND ME SO DON'T LET THIS BE IN VAIN. TELL YOUR FELLOW CITIZENS. AND MARCH UPON THOSE WHO OPPRESS YOU AS ONE.

    • Anonymous

      ^^^^ that guy is a govt worker tryin to cover up the conspiracy. throwing u off wit his "name" fuck u corporate dooshbag

    • suckmeballs

      alpha this message is funny cause it is a lie. really really??? only some fagstick would post something like this that NO BODY BELIEVES!!! if u are the government special bs them im jesus fucking christ

  • JGabriel38

    His discography is solid. As solid as it gets for any HipHop artist. MCHG has its place in the evolution of Jay-Z. What took him 2 weeks takes artists years and even then their quality is sub par. Due to his successes everyone expects that much more out of every album.

  • Anonymous

    Been hearing it for a bit now and it holds up. Wouldn't compare it to Reasonable Doubt at all. Thats just one of the best albums ever made in hip hop. But this is solid work and it absolutely DOMINATES over all that Young Money bullshit that a lot of you faggot ass tight pants wearing dudes bump.

  • Anonymous

    i like the album tho i give it a 3.5

  • Anonymous

    beyonce should spit a verse

  • Quinton V.

    This album should if been an instant hit with the fact that it was a Jay-Z album with a good producer and a nice intro. However, the album doesn't deliver. It seems lacking as if Jay-Z is tapping over someone else's lyrics. It has a direction I can't really follow and the more I listen, the more I insist that the only good song is Holy Grail. Don't know what happened on this album but, it just plain and simple doesn't sound good. It feels wrong giving Jay-Z a bad review but, it's unfortunately true.

  • smh

    i want one person just one person on this damn site to break down kingdom come song by song and tell me why it is jayz worst album i am all ears...

    • sun_god7

      Holy Grail made people forget Yeezus came out.lol. But Kingdom Come was dope. It just failed the expectation after the Black Album and the comeback hype. More importantly - the fan base belonged to Lil' Wayne by that time. The old Jay-Z fans were still around but the Wayne shared some of those fans and created his own new fans. It was Wayne's time just like it's Drake's time now and Jay is still around with his hobby of rap.

    • fawaka

      you people are really idiots vol 1 is one of his best albums

    • Anonymous

      AG is one of his best albms

    • Anonymous

      Jay-z worst album by far is Vol 1..

    • Anonymous

      AG?? U crazy for that/ AG=Classic

    • Bulletproof Wallets

      It sucks but it's still better than Vol 1, Vol 2, BP2, BP3, and AG

    • Youngvito79

      I love Kingdom Come, great album, it's probably the most underrated rap album of all time.. People were just hating on it because Jay Z said he was retired after the Black album so people were mad that he didn't keep his word to stay retired and I guess Kingdom Come was so over hyped before it came out that people expected Jay to perform miracles with it which he damn near did.. Jay-Z is easily the G.O.A.T.

  • Anonymous

    Way better review at http://therapcritic.wordpress.com/

  • Anonymous

    jay-z fell the fuck off. he sounds the same but his rhymes are trash now. i just listened to the black album and he was SPITTING ridiculous on that. this album he drops one weak bar, pauses, goes UH, and drops another weak bar. wack flows, no crazy bars. boring as shit. he sounds like a wack new nigga on this album. sad to say, he's rapping at a drake level on this piece. big beats, big waste. that "diss" to lil wayne was one of the saddest things i've ever heard by a legendary artist. "good luck with that, bruh". honestly lil wayne faggot drugged up gremlin ass would probably body that jay. trash. the song with beyonce is complete trash. only ppl i can see thinking that song is special is jay and beyonce. when jay raps about her it's always some corny, painful, try hard shit. shoulda hung it up. 3 wack albums in a row. bp3. wtt. magna carta.

    • sun_god7

      "sad to say, he's rapping at a drake level on this piece. big beats, big waste." That line is so true. The old Jay is gone. The new Jay keeps it too simple and complies with the dumb down level of commerical rap today. He really does not challenge it and he has the ability to do so. He's lazy at it now. Sad to see when you love hiphop but what's to do when his album sells and is considered amoung the best of today's commercial rap?

    • toppa shot

      "this album he drops one weak bar, pauses, goes UH, and drops another weak bar." LOL, I thought Jay woulda cut that out after BP3, but he's gotten worse with it. It has gotten really annoying. The lyrics are drawn from memory so he's just filling in gaps. He needs to start writing shit down.

  • Julien

    Y'all motherf****** be hatin but dude delivered a conscious album with his personality(braggadocious) in it so who gives a f if it isn't an experimental album. I haven't heard jay this animated ever and there are no obvious throwaway radio singles. So why the ffff is everybody hating on this albummmm

  • makaveli

    Sounds like a Justin Timberlake album ...

  • macdestro1

    Magna Carta Holy Grail is a classic album. 5 stars!

  • YEBO

    Reasonable Doubt Reasonable doubt is Jay-zs crown jewel, his masterpiece album. Its ridiculous to argue that Reasonable Doubt isnt one of hip-hops greatest classics, and almost impossible to overstate the importance of the album, or its influence. The jazzy and sophisticated production, and Jays impeccable delivery and lyricism combine to make this Jays best album, and one of hip-hops best albums. Indeed, this is one of the only albums ever held in the same regard as Illmatic, which is quite fitting, considering its status as a debut album, and the lyricism rampant throughout the album. Reasonable Doubt has a track for almost anyones musical palate, bringing us tracks such as the incredible B.I.G feature, [[Jay-Z Brooklyns Finest]], straight-up banger Cant Knock the Hustle (Remix), flawless pattern rhyming in Opportunity Knocks, and one of hip-hops classic songs, Nas sample Dead Presidents. The Blueprint Its very hard to have worse timing that Jay-Z did with his release of The Blueprint. With a release date of September 11, 2001, TBP coincided with one of the most tragic events in recent history. Taking this into account, it is incredible that the album was the commercial success it was. With rave reviews, and a double-platinum sales number, The Blueprint was one of the most critically successful hip-hop albums of all time. With such depth in production, it is seen by many as the most well-produced of Jays albums, and one of hip-hops only modern masterpieces, and a classic for years to come. The Blueprint brought us some of Jays most popular songs, and showed his emotional depth, with emotionally moving songs like Song Cry and Never Change, while still managing to drop triumphant overtures like U Dont Know, incredible features in Renegade, and a scathing diss on superstar Nas, Takeover, seen by many as one of popular raps ultimate disses. The Black Album Many people see The Black Album as being Jays best album, and its hard to disagree. Jay brings the heat on every track, and displays his lyricism, consciousness and depth on every track. He promised for The Black Album to be his last, and it is everything a finale should be, triumphant, but sad. Jay sets this mood the whole album, making for one of his most thematically consistent albums. The Black Album is also one of Jays most musically flawless albums, making it almost impossible to call any of the tracks weak, stacking the album 14-deep with tracks that would make any MC envious. With said lyrical consistency, its almost impossible to pick out the best tracks off the album, with almost every track at a heroic level. Defiant 99 Problems is one of his most famous tracks, it was almost impossible to escape the presence of Encore, and Jay released arguably his best song to date, the scathing 2:55 that is Public Service Announcement. He completes the album with emotional Moment of Clarity and December 4th, and perfectly illustrates the end of his career with haunting What More Can I Say American Gangster Easily one of Jays most underrated albums, American Gangster is often overlooked as just another part of Jays immense discography. However, in reality, American Gangster was actually an incredibly critically acclaimed concept album, named after the Denzel Washington movie of the same name. Laced with Mafioso themes and imagery, Jay-z paints a picture about the life of crime, and delves into the persona and mindset of a criminal. The dark, melancholy tone of the album spawned a fair amount of creative production, that went surprisingly well with both Jays execution, and the grim subject matter. This album brought severely underlooked gems like Blue Magic, incredibly triumphant anthems like Roc Boys (And The Winner Is), and great collabs with teammate Beanie Seigel in Ignorant Shit, along with a surprising collab with former enemy Nas, Success. Hard Knock Life, Vol. 2 Hard-Knock life was basically the start of Jays career. Although he had a much-more dense album in Reasonable Doubt, this was much more popular, shown by the sheer amount of sales. The production included several top-notch beats, with flow and passion that had never been seen before from Jay. Hard Knock Life perfectly blended popular likability with tales of the street and classic Jay-Z consciousness, and ended up being one of the best popular rap albums of all time. Hard Knock ended up being on both sides of the spectrum track-wise, with well-known jams like classic Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem) and massive cut Reservoir Dogs, juxtaposed with mostly-unknown bangers like Nigga What Nigga Who and Ride or Die. In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 Although not many people see Vol. 1 as being one of Jays most important works, its a great piece of work nonetheless. This is the follow-up to Reasonable Doubt, so Jay was expected to release another incredible piece, and the unreasonable expectations may have degraded the albums success. However, this doesnt degrade from the fact that at points in the album, Jay returns to his Reasonable Doubt form, as on as he ever had been, triumphant and effective as he had ever been. Hard tracks like Streets Is Watching, Imaginary Player, and Where Im From were all throwbacks to his Reasonable Doubt form, showing that his skill on the debut wasnt just fluke, and foreshadowing towards the incredible works to come. The Blueprint 2 It is widely regarded that this was one of Jays weakest and most watered down albums. However, for a double album, Jay provided a valiant effort. Considering he dropped an astonishing 25 tracks, with a large handful of unforgettable songs, its easy to forgive him for the ever-present gaffes throughout the album. Altogether, this album has a great deal of potential, and would have scored a lot higher as a single album. As stated before, Jay laid out some of his best tracks on The Blueprint 2, be it the incredible rock banger Guns & Roses, the killer Hovi Baby and restless club banger Excuse Me Miss, and the amount of good tracks buried in the album is lost on many of even Jays most dedicated fans. Watch the Throne Jay and Kanye have some of the most off-the-hook lyrical chemistry in recent times. Easily the most-anticipated album of 2011, Watch the Throne flew off store shelves everywhere, dominating the radio with several of its singles. Jay and Kanye had almost unreal chemistry together, switching verses on every song, and feeding off each others energy. Although Jay seemed to sit back and let Ye take the spotlight on many of the tracks, it is obvious that Jay still displays a lot of skill throughout the album, still conquering his fair share of tracks, almost overcomingly at points. Although WTT needs no introduction, Jay-Z released an incredible sentimental verse in Made in America, great back-and-fourth banter over a smooth dubstep beat on Watch Me, and goes hard as a motherfucker on You guessed it HAM The Blueprint 3 Even as Jays 9th best effort, BP3 was still stellar at the least, dominating the radio with track after track. Jay rocked the pop-rap effort over and over on the album, introducing an entirely new style while still keeping elements of his older albums, coming to a great combination of both forms. This album garners a lot of respect from me for introducing a mainstream audience to one of raps greats, and presumably getting many non-traditional demographics to adapt rap. No matter what anyone says, Jays most-played songs on the album seem to stay spectacular after repeated listenings on overzealous radio stations. Empire State of Mind and Rihanna-aided Run This Town seemed to be omnipresent on the radio, both with excellent musical composition, with the great song D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune) condemning much of radios propensity to over-synthesise their music, and abolishing most hip-hop fans fear of Jay selling out. The Life and Times of S. Carter Vol. 3 It is at this point at which Jays discography goes from great to good. Although the life and times had a few good moments, it was altogether predictable, as Jay brought nothing new to the table. In lieu of this, the album was okay, with some good production, and good flow from Jay, although lacking some of the primal passion Jay has exhibited so many times before. Life and Times still had a few good songs, with love anthem Big Pimpin', one of the times most clever pieces, and Dope man was also a stand-out, as one of the only other songs on the album worthy of repeat time for me. Kingdom Come I dont have much to say about Kingdom Come, as I never really got into listening to it, even as a big Jay fan. Not many of the songs caught my attention throughout the first few plays, and it never ended up beckoning to me again. Ive never seen any overly favourable reviews of the album, and it is almost always being denounced or put-down, so I have no reason to re-listen. Although a weak album, Kingdom Come still came out with a few Characteristic Jay-Z songs, like his confession-themed Lost One and (misleadingly-titled) uber-deep Beach Chair.

    • youngvito79

      Reasonable doubt Blueprint American Gangster Black Album Magna Carta Holy Grail Blueprint 3 Kingdom Come In My Lifetime Vol. 1 Life And Times Of S. Carter Vol. 3 Blueprint 2 Hard Knock Life Vol. 2

    • SDK

      R.D BLACK ALBUM A.G THE BLUEPRINT VOL 1 BLUEPRINT 2 MCHG DINASTY VOL 3 BLUEPRINT 3 KINGDOM COME

    • Hip Hop Fan

      I took the time to read the whole thing, as I am a Jay-Z fan since 1996. Good breakdown of his albums. You were spot on for pretty much all of them, but I have to disagree with your views on Vol.3. That is Jay-Z's most slept on album after Vol.1. In addition to the classic "Dope Man" and "Big Pimping" you mentioned, Vol. 3 also had "So Ghetto" "Come and Get Me" "Watch Me" "It's Hot (Some Like It Hot)" "There's Been A Murder" "NYMP" "Do It Again (Put Your Hands Up)" "Snoopy Track" Album was a banger in hindsight. A lot of people were just thrown off when he didn't come through with a soulful joint such as "Hard Knock Life" or the tounge twisting flow of "Nigga What Nigga Who". But again, Vol.3 is Jay-Z at his cockiest ever on the mic. Dude just sold 5 MILL off of Vol.2. I recommend going back in and giving it a fresh listen after all of these years. By the way, you forgot to mention "Dynasty: Roc La Familia". THAT WAS A STRAIGHT UP HEATER!!!!! He intended it to be a Roc compilation and it ended up as a Jigga album which you can press play and let it run.

  • Nick

    Only slightly better than Kingdom Come in my opinion. See if you agree with me. http://three6fivereviews.com/post/55451694279/magna-carta-holy-grail-jayz-review

  • mack86

    Will he ever fall off?? Noooooo! 5stars!

  • bigL

    Best hiphop album since the black album!!! Don't hurt em Hov!!!! 5/5

  • iamhipop

    Not a Jay fan at all.. but I gotta give it to camel, nigga went in! 4/5

  • mikeb

    I'm on my 15th listen.. this shit is amazing!!!" 4.5/5

  • nas

    Easily album of year! Maybe decade... Jay never ceases to amaze me! 5/5

  • Real hip hop head

    Real hip hop heads don't support a greedy hustlers like Jay cuz he's not a real artist. He's a greedy hustler doing whatever it takes to get money.

  • Anonymous

    He should just feature on songs man. I had people over and we started smoking, threw on the album and turned it off by track 5. MCHG should have a "blows vibes" sticker on it

    • Jay-Z

      Therein lies your problem. If you need to smoke to enjoy anything in life, you're already fucked. While some people think weed suddenly makes them smart, it actually slows them down a great deal and they miss all kinds of shit when high. I've never been some fugazi rapper you can throw on in the background. I'm not Curren$y, Wiz Khalifa or any of them other throw away niggas who don't put up REAL NUMBERS. This is me nigga... GOD MC Jay Hova!

  • jlock

    Album is fire, niggas LOVE to hate Jay... oceans, heaven, futw, fuck with me, nickels & dimes, crown, somewhere in America, are ALL bangers! Not to mention there are other good songs on album I didn't mention. This album is 4.5 outta 5 easy. Fuck all the haters

  • Nastill@it

    Is it any good?

  • THE GAME

    TOO BAD GAME ENDED JAYZ'S CAREER ON 300 BARS. HOV AINT MADE A HIT SONG SINCE 2006! G UNOT!

    • Anonymous

      Commercially, not lyrically.

    • alex

      what a stupid comment, hes had huge success commericially. you must be trippn' hard if you think the game will ever put a dent in jiggas mind frame. the game ruined his own career, nothing compares to the documentary he done. nothings come close and thats off of 50 and Dres back

  • deviner92

    Jay forgot the lyrics...and he thinks he lives in a chapel in 13th Century France

  • Titty Boi

    Shit Jay-Z thinks/says: "King Louis XIV, Zeus, this nigga!!! "Ahh, George Washington, MLK, ME nigggggas, Ahh, Fredrick Douglas, Jesus, Hova nigga" lol...this shits ass. Save your $13 for a bag of chips, gatorade, and a pack of newps...peaceee

  • That Dude

    I took a sh*t last night that was more satisfying than this album. Each track was more disappointing than the next. Just goes to show you Jay doesn't give a sh*t about his fans...puttin out some trash like this. All hes worried about is that money. Flow=weak...beats=trash...substance=none...what did we learn from this album? Jay-Z compares himself to Jesus Christ and Leonardo Da Vinci...bahahahaha...get the f*ck outta here with this trash album.

  • JohnManee

    I understand that its classic and all but I think Jay-Z could have done better sell out beats it seems like he was just lazy like c'mon dude this a waste

  • Cheat Rockwell

    This album is garbage. Some mediocre beats but his rhyme content is absolutely repulsive beyond measure. We're talking about the guy who made classics. MCHG is the work of a sell out. Steal this album then throw it away. Down load this album then trash it.

  • bizzalls

    You gotta admit, the production is fuckin INSANE on this album! Original and just fuckin crazy! TImbaland's insane. Yea, there are a couple of trap beats on here but this shit is crazy.

  • sdub

    Highly overrated. I give it 3.5 mics. Im basing this off the "holy grail" track alone because that was a great track. Justin made that track great.

  • LAMAR

    its AIGHT 3.75 RATING OUT OF 5 IMO

  • Ben

    1)Reasonable Doubt 2)Blueprint 3)The Black Album 4)MCHG

  • fewoisklcmx,

    4/5 Stars ? C'mon man Jay could drop a fucking turd in the toilet and you HHDX fags would worship it. Get off his dick you lazy ass groupie fanboys! Nothing on this album that you can't get on any of the other heaps of shit he's dropped! mediocre pop beats topped with punchlines he's said a 100 times before!

  • T

    Dear Jay-Z, What happened to t you? I get that youre rich and Blue Bloods are hating on you, but what about the lyrical and musical content of your music. Thats what put you on the map. I love ya Hove, but your new album is wack and pretentious. With all the talent that helped you produce this album; I cant believe this is the end result. Maybe you should spend a year in the Marcy Projects and rediscover you roots.

  • Anonymous

    Its probably a 4.5 out of 5 IMO... but I gave it a 5 to even out the die hard constant hate directed towards Hov.. I see niggas posting lyrics to holy Grail? Post lyrics to oceans or heaven ..? Oh yeah dumb niggas can't fully comprehend shit like that! There obviously a few low points in album but more flashes of brilliance IMO.. what album doesn't have low points? Very few are bangers all the way through.. niggas just expect way to much from hov.

  • Trace

    Were we listening to the same album? This album is 3 stars at best and that is because of strong production. The lyrics were cited in the article as one of his best since American Gangster? As some others have said, I found them very uninspired. If anything, I think his lyrics on this album and flow are the worst in his catalog. Not to say it's a horrible album, but if he wants to be a King or a 'God' now, he has to live up to it. He did not on this album.

  • Andre.CO

    Funny how they praise his lyrics on this one, I felt his lyrics were uninspired and tired. He just sounded like he breezed through the whole thing and wasn't into it. I preferred Blueprint 3 and American Gangster to this. Blueprint 3 wasn't even too bad, it was better than Blueprint 2.

  • nigerian Prince

    Dis Album is pardonable cos of the level at which hov is in @ the moment, d hunger has reduced, total subject matter is based on the exact satate of finanece and d level of his rap status.. With a couple decent replays u'd understabd why MCHG is different from the others.its all about the matter of time 3/5 is good for me

  • Nate662

    Corporate rap garbage. Jay should of stayed retired.

  • Anonymous

    Dis Album is pardonable cos of the level at which hov is in @ the moment, d hunger has reduced, total subject matter is based on the exact satate of finanece and d level of his rap status.. With a couple decent replays u'd understabd why MCHG is different from the others.its all about the matter of time.. 3/5 is good for me

  • SeeKay

    Just remember while you are typing that your opinion doesn't mean shit.

    • ski millie

      sorry not for you

    • ski millie

      buhuahahahahaha.... well, maybe he didnt live up to your own expectations but really ur opinion wont count much dude. i think jay is still great and not scared of trying new stuff, stepping outta the comfort zone. if e vex you go record your own joor!!!!

  • Anonymous

    Jay Z will always be the best that ever did it in my opinion. What he accomplished in a culture that was born out of oppression and poverty is amazing to witness. From living in Marcy Projects on Nostrand Ave to having lunch with Warren Buffet is a story in itself. He is a living example of the possibilities that could happen with the power of thought. With that being said, this album pretty much represents where Jay is at in his point in life. This is his truth, whether we like it or not. Most people wouldnt be able to relate because we dont have basquiats hanging on our walls, or even know who he is (a haitian black artist btw). He's in a different space now and his music reflects that. I do admit, there arent that many quotables, or even lyrical gems on this album like previous ones, but just to hear a new sound from a rapper who has dominated the game for the past 10 plus years is refreshing. I was a lil disappointed because to me his last album was better than this one. Still in all, its an album with new beats, new ideas, and now "new rules" in which he changed the game with the changing of the way sales are calculated. For the peeps that think this album went a lil left, thats understood. We expected an album full of lyrics, flows, metaphors and delivery. He gave us those albums already. Now hes a brand and has to appeal to the masses, not just us hip hop heads looking for hidden sublimes. Lets just appreciate the fact that he can still put out decent music that we can bump for the summer. In my opinion, this album is a 7 and a half out of 10. Im a fan of hip hop, not a music critic!!!!

  • Anonymous

    just landed in Europe, nigga Shopping bags, I'm a tourist, nigga Money talk I speak fluent, nigga Reeboks on, I just do it, nigga Look at me, I'm pure nigga I bet the hoes on my tour, nigga I don't bop, I do the money dance My bitch whip cost a hundred grand Red vert, tou see me slide Sexy bitch I hope she 'bout it Sexy bitch I know she 'bout it Fuck with me, you know I got it How wack can you go , terrible , fuckin terrible album

    • Anonymous

      he's the one puttin these guys on his album , he gets defined by that , but ok here some of his lyrics , and you think this is dope , you probably love the shit out of lil wayne lol Blue told me to remind you niggas Fuck that shit yall talk about I'm the nigga, caught up in all these lights and cameras But look what that shit did to Hammer God-damnit it I like it The bright lights is enticing But look what it did to Tyson All that money in one night 30 mill for one fight But soon as all the money blows, all the pigeons take flight Fuck the fame, keep cheating on me What I do, I took her back, fool me twice That's my bad, I can't even blame her for that Enough to make me wanna murder Momma please just get my bail I know nobody to blame Kurt Cobain, I did it to myself

    • dentaldamboy is a faggot

      You failed to mention these lyrics belong to officer ricky and not jay-z. This is how a typical wack rap from ross goes.

  • SDK

    I seen the light excite all the freaks Stack mad chips, spread love with my peeps Niggas wanna creep, gotta watch my back Think the Cognac and indo sack make me slack? I switches all that, cocksucker G's up One false move, get Swiss cheesed up Clip to Tec, respect I demand it Slip and break the, 11th Commandment Thou shalt not fuck with nor see Poppa Feel a thousand deaths when I drop ya I feel for you, like Chaka Khan I'm the don Pussy when I want, Rolex on the arm You'll die slow but calm Recognize my face, so there won't be no mistake So you know where to tell jake, lame nigga Brave nigga, turned front page nigga Puff Daddy flips daily I smoke the blunts he sips on the Bailey's On the rocks, tote Glocks at christenings Hammer cock, in the fire position and...

  • jlock80

    The best ever, unfortunately he won't truly be appreciated until he's dead... wasn't his best album, he's 43..?!? Overall good album though, oceans, heaven, futw, fuck with me, nickels & dimes, only in American, crown all bangers.. haters will hate. 5/5

  • Warren Peace

    Picked up this album and Talib's Prisoner's of Conscious on the same day. Honestly, Talib's album is much better than this. Jay got wealthy and stopped trying.

  • Anonymous

    shit was garbage lyrically fucking trash hop of jay z's dick just cause hes supposed to be some black rolemodel from dumb black kids and adults.

  • Tim

    I thought this was the worst Jay-Z album to date. It should be called "Lazy Carta, Holy Waste". I dont listen to a lot of rap. In fact Jay-Z's Black album introduced me to him and I was hooked but this album is nothing more than a headache. Great hooks with shitty lyrics, shitty hooks with great lyrics and constant bragging. Go figure the only song he seemed to put time into had his wife singing in it. I wondered how many times I would have to hear him mention Blue or Ivv. It was the first lyric of the first song. You would think he would learn from eminem when he constantly brought up Hayley. Not that Im not happy for him, but rap about something we can connect to. So much money, that I think he has lost his creation here. Glad to see some people like it - but I couldnt find value in the 14.99 I spent and always thought if Jay-Z was gonna create hype (samsung commercials, articlesm and interviews) and have such a name, that he might back it up. If this is the direction rap is going, then its dead to me...

  • Smh @ hiphopdx

    http://www.metacritic.com/music/magna-carta-holy-grail/jay-z/critic-reviews

  • the truth

    this album sucks. beats are overproduced and forgettable. lyrics, flows and punchlines are the worst i've heard all year. the whole thing feels forced and inorganic. fuck anyone who rates this album. earl's right, you're rating it based on the rapper, not the project itself. 1/5

    • church

      of course you a game fan so who givs a fuck about your opinion game weak ass punch lilnes example "I twist niggas heads like 40z bottle caps" ahah yeah ok go back too your abc rappers this is a thinking mans album

  • redrum

    good album not great and why that fag frank ocean is on the records is just wrong

  • matty ice

    not a huge jay-z fan. but thi album reminded me of how skeptical i was wen i bought the black album before i started highschool. i had no clue i had a hip hop phenomenon. now that i am about to start college it seems jay has surprised me again with an album that will last just as long. though i am a die hard az and nas fan. jay-z is easily my 4th favorite hip hop artist behind kanye because of this album. no more hustler talk and drug flipping this feels more like a jay-z who has given into the likes of his contenders by working with them instead of against them.

  • J1

    sounds to me like some teenagers produced the whole album

    • Anonymous

      productions sucks. It could easylee been a Justin Timberlake album.

    • matty ice

      apparently you didnt buy the album. the production on this album is state of the art. u would know that if u have ever recorded or been in the studio. id hate to see wat u consider good production value.

  • Nick T

    Truth is this is just as cohesive as Jay's entire body of work... which doesn't say a whole lot.. let's go over the good ol' Jay format shall we.... MAJORITY OF JAY-Z's ALBUM GO SOMETHING LIKE THIS (excluding most intros): 1. INTRO/HEARTFELT SONG most likely with an R&B artist/narrator (Mary J Blige, Faith Evans, JT, Beyonce, Pain in Da Ass, Memphis Bleek) 2. BOSSY SONG (City Is Mine, Picasso Baby, Hovi Baby, Takeover etc..) 3. STREET SINGLE (H to the Izzo, DOA, I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me etc..) 4. SONG WITH WHOEVER IS HOT RIGHT NOW (FuckwitmeyouknowIgotit, Hello Brooklyn, Run This Town) 5. CATCHY SINGLE WITH R&B BACKUP (Excuse Me Miss, Change Clothes, Empire State of Mind, Oceans) 6. TOSS UP WITH A FEATURE (Real As It Gets, What They Gonna Do, Do U Wanna Ride?) 7. CLEVER SONG (Threats, 22-Two's, A Week Ago, I Know) 8. NOTHING TO SOMETHING SONG (Moment of Clarity, Can I Live, Party Life, Ain't No Live) 9. "MY SAMPLE/FEATURE WILL HANDLE MY HOOK" SONG (Never Change, Ain't No Nigga, A Star Is Born, Heaven) 10. CHARACTER ANALYSIS/INTERLUDES/LAST SINGLE (Song Cry, Venus vs. Mars, Versus, PSA, Friend or Foe) 11. MADE MAN SONG (All I Need, Say Hello, Big Pimpin', Justify My Thug) 12. THE "BODY ME ON MY OWN SONG" SONG (Renegade, Success, Hate) 13. THE "I'M REFLECTING, PLZ CALL ME CONSCIOUS" SONG (My 1st Song, Momma Loves Me, Nickels & Dimes, Beach Chair, Regrets, Fallin', A Ballad for the Fallen Soldier)

    • kiaba360

      Dayum! love the way you broke that down. Calling this album "cohesive" is just a positive way to say that Jay stuck to his tried-and-true formula. Is the album bad? No, but skipping 5 tracks definitely isn't a good thing. Jay said that MCHG was his best album behind Blueprint/Black Album/Reasonable Doubt. I enjoyed "Kingdom Come" much more than MCHG.

    • SDK

      Sit and come relax, riddle off the mac It's the patch, I'm a soldier in the middle of Iraq Well say about noonish, comin' out the whip And lookin at me curious, a young Iraqi kid Carrying laundry, "What's wrong G? Hungry?" "No, gimme my oil or get [fuck] out my country" And in Arabian barkin' other stuff 'til his moms come grab him and they walk off in a rush Distrust, feeling like I've pissed upon wound I'm like, "Surely hope that we can fix our differences soon!" Bye! Buying apples I'm breakin' on You take everything, why not just take the damn food, black master? Like I don't understand it, on another planet 15 month of this stuff, how I'm gonna manage? And increasing the sentiment, gentlemen Getting down on their middle eastern instruments Realized trapped in this crowd Walk over kicked one of my fabulous raps (la dee da dee) Arab jaw drop, they well wish, they glad rap Now the kid considered like an Elvis of Baghdad

    • Bulletproof Wallets

      Very true. Explains why about 2 out of 3 of his albums are complete trash. I like MCHG, though.

    • matty ice

      see thats wat im talking about. u were very descriptive and posed a good argument. and gave a great perspective. but aside everything else this is my favorite jay-z album

    • ThaboZozi

      man you the truth

  • Jeremiah

    Its a shame this was so overhyped, it was actually really good. Everyone just talked it up so much that we expected something on the level of BP1.

    • matty ice

      yes i agree it was over hyped but look at wat jay did to the industry with this album.he changed the way the record sales were looked at with the exclusive dowload. not only is he giving into to his rivals but he is also glorifying the potential hip hop hints the album cover and the artwork with in the booklets. tracing black lines through words is very symbolic to the power of the written words. compare it to the scratched out articles in the constitution.

  • Zee

    5/5, one of the best hip hop albums in a decade, lyrics, production, delivery, all above this game. Stop sleepin and listen people!

  • Kizman

    Jay Z will always be the best that ever did it in my opinion. What he accomplished in a culture that was born out of oppression and poverty is amazing to witness. From living in Marcy Projects on Nostrand Ave to having lunch with Warren Buffet is a story in itself. He is a living example of the possibilities that could happen with the power of thought. With that being said, this album pretty much represents where Jay is at in his point in life. This is his truth, whether we like it or not. Most people wouldnt be able to relate because we dont have basquiats hanging on our walls, or even know who he is (a haitian black artist btw). He's in a different space now and his music reflects that. I do admit, there arent that many quotables, or even lyrical gems on this album like previous ones, but just to hear a new sound from a rapper who has dominated the game for the past 10 plus years is refreshing. I was a lil disappointed because to me his last album was better than this one. Still in all, its an album with new beats, new ideas, and now "new rules" in which he changed the game with the changing of the way sales are calculated. For the peeps that think this album went a lil left, thats understood. We expected an album full of lyrics, flows, metaphors and delivery. He gave us those albums already. Now hes a brand and has to appeal to the masses, not just us hip hop heads looking for hidden sublimes. Lets just appreciate the fact that he can still put out decent music that we can bump for the summer. In my opinion, this album is a 7 and a half out of 10. Im a fan of hip hop, not a music critic.

  • Tbrown

    Anybody else wondering what happened to the Raekwon collab? Album is dope as hell though, don't know where all the hate is coming from. Second half of the record could be stronger, BBC was a letdown and I'm not feeling the beyonce track. 4.5 stars, but I'll give it a 5 to balance out the people who rate without giving it multiple listens.

    • matty ice

      great now im going to lose sleep tonite digging for that song. but hey maybe it will end up on raekwons fila or o.b.f.c.l.3

    • Tbrown

      I'm talking about the people that are saying they hate the album. What other word would you like me to use?

    • Anonymous

      yeah jay on 2 tracks with ray ion his album

    • Optimus Rhyme

      "Don't know where all the hate is coming from" Can we please banish the word "hate" from the hip hop dictionary. Just because someone is not feeling the album, it doesn't mean they hate it. I bought the album and I feel Jay put in a lacklustre effort. There are some good songs, but it doesn't mean I hate the album or Jay...smh.

  • Better than Yeezus...

    ...but aint a smash hit, its alright.

  • Anonymous

    Shits weak son!

  • Chicago Rilla

    I had no Idea Shawn Cory Carter Had So Many Haters, for no justifiable reason

  • john

    sick album, but yeezus was better. but The Throne is killing the summer.

  • lenrad80

    Oh my I don't know what cats were listening to but this album was pure trash. Fuck a double entaunt.... shit I cant even spell it...lol the beats on here are very mediocre and his lyrics are so LAZY! My word. Goodness Please someone tell me J cole is a better hiphop rap lp cus I think so. Tom ford song is WEAK!

  • tree

    Ok album i say a 7/10 its nothin new but the production is dope its just jay z doing jay z nothin more nothing less

  • comachonvargas

    75-80% of the tracks have banging production. About that same percentage have lazy, half-assed and at times laughably simplistic/corny lyrics. The shit on La Familia barely was even coherent, and that is somehow supposed to be interpreted as a diss? I think even Wayne could go par for the course with that bullshit and true Jay fans know that is absolutely nothing to be proud of. Can you believe this is the same guy that made Takeover? What is at with the mid-verse ughs, ad-libs, and long pauses between bars? What is this twerk Miley twerk, don't pop Mollies nonsense? Few albums have production good enough to almost compensate for lyrics this bad. The subject matter is so predictable. People seem to buy into it because Jay's ability to live vicariously through his vacuous luxury and lifestyle rap has been unparalleled in the history of the rap game. You didn't seem to notice from 96-03 because Jay was a lethal MC though. Now, given his apparent decline, the content is increasingly monotonous, and I wonder very much how long Jay can coast on the money/past coke sales/hustler trifecta before people get bored with his music. Judging by the majority of mainstream rap fans, I am guessing Jay can go on forever like this. Again, not exactly an accomplishment worthy on an inordinate amount of reverence. And finally, how is it that jay constantly is able to bite other people's shit WITH IMPUNITY. He bites Nirvana, biggie lines for the thousandth time, bites Juvenile and Mannie Fresh's flow on Back that Ass Up for practically all of the Beyonce joint (check that shit and tell me I am wrong), he bites Cuban Linx on Nickels and Dimes, he bites Mase and Nas on BBC. And that is what I could detect from just TWO listens of the CD all the way through (I am sure repeated listens will reveal more biting). This shit is better than BP3, which says virtually nothing. This shit is better than Watch the Throne, which says slightly more than nothing. But it is barely better than Kingdom Come. I mean that weed plate had the prelude which is better than any thing on this album. I would say this is probably Jay's 4th worst album ever, only topped by BP3, Vol. 3, and Kingdom Come. And for the record, the Dynasty SHITS on this album hardbody. ONE "I give a fuck who you did it with Or where you copped coke The bitch you with or the reason you not broke I don't count your money don't want none of your smoke I don't feel your pain I ain't none of your folk It's easy to point a gun to your throat But I ain't on that Trying to sip coladas where it's warm at Cognac crushed ice you know how it is Alonso said a woman half your age plus seven years Is a plush way to live"

  • BigMikePR

    Dude, this is a banger. Definitely a classic!

  • Ye Fan

    Best rap album of the year MCHG>Yeezus

  • Optimus Rhyme

    Copped the album yesterday, like the rest of Jay's. Jay has always been exceptional at balancing great lyrics with great production. This time around I think the production carried the album. Yeah Jay hit us with his usual double ents here and there, but he's gotten a bit lazy lyrically. All the "ughs" and pauses between bars need to stop. Some songs with a 2Chainz or Wiz type delivery. 16 tracks and he maybe did one hook. If it's your album you gotta command it a little more than that. I know he was going for the less is more approach, but still. I think its time Jay started putting pen to paper and quit crafting songs in his head. The production really is the bright spot of the album. Even though Jay half assed on this album, it's still topping most of the shit out there today unfortunately.

  • 209SINS

    Yes I used dark twice as an adjective....horrible....ps this review was great even though I did not agree with it.

  • 209SINS

    This album feels rushed....The flow of lyrics seems like it is almost hammered and chiseled over the tempo at spots. I got a copy of this and Yeezus on the same afternoon. Yeezus branched out into a dark conflicting recipe of dark ritual beats and almost full blown escapism. I am not a huge Kayne fan either.....In comparison though Magna Carta Holy Grail was lazy and almost flavorless from some one that has offered this much to the rap community. *Just an opinion

  • Anonymous

    25 and up love this album the younger crowd who knows a lil history of music love this album its them molly poppin one verse with the hook done a 100-x with the same track over and over again hate this album

    • Anonymous

      U don't have to reply ur own comment @annoy

    • WC17

      Fuck i know, it was really tough for me. I was 24 when it dropped on samsung....hated it ! All i heard was molly this, bugatti that. Then,....I turned 25....and I loved it! the lyrics are so deep , album of the year for sure

  • c

    great album. He has so much word play I think people are missing half of what he is really saying. Put the album on repeat and just rock to it feel.

  • markmajesty

    Its a decent effort from an artist who has had so many hits over an almost 20 year career. Solid tracks, decent production. But it still doesn't push the envelope. It doesn't shake the ground. It doesn't take a stand. It is red licorice. But that Yeezus, that's black licorice. It's groundbreaking!

  • G

    If you have to listen to it more then ten times to get into an album, that isn't replay value smdh. Replay value is loving what your hear at first, and hearing more music you really like as you replay it. I'm not downing J on this one, but mainstream needs to find someone who can still actually flow, keep quality lyrics, and make music people want to listen too, not hear on the radio. 3/5 at best imo

  • Hip Hop Fan

    Critics are saying Jay doesn't take risks or hasn't evolved but he takes risks lyrically every album. He said it on 22 twos (change styles every 2 rhymes) and on What More Can I Say about switching flows (this one will get bit up). Jay has a new flow and way of rhyming from every album. I'm not talking content either, it's obvious he can't talk the slick coke talk now he's made it, but before that, how he flowed on Reasonable Doubt is different to how he flows on Vol.1. Vol.1 is different to how he flows on Vol.2. Blueprint....Blueprint 2...Black Album....Just listen to has albums back to back and he never sounds the same or sticks to the same formula with his flow. It's just something you have to accept and he won't do an album and flow like he did on the previous even if it's his best flow. He's always messing with new sounds and I guess it keeps him relevant.

    • Hip Hop Fan

      @ Justin Case I didnt say anything about 22 Twos being risky, you need to re-read what I said. That line in that verse Im referring to just backs up my point about Jay switching up his flow all the time. But its still a risk. If Nas started messing with his flow and trying that Southern bounce shit, I doubt his career would survive. Eminem fans couldnt stand the accent thing he was trying and he bowed to the pressure after Relapse. But thats another issue. As for Jay keeping it safe did you listen to Oceans, FUTW, Somewhere In America? Thats black progression talk and Jay doesnt usually take it there so overtly. You get the twerk line about Miley Cyrus right? Watch the Throne, he took it somewhere else with Black Murder/Black Excellence. Those arent safe tracks. Heaven, Nickles and Dimes, Jay-Z Bluewe can further back and look at tunes like Song Cry, You Must Love Me, Still Got Love for You, This Cant Be Life..plenty of tracks to choose from in that sense. His content goes beyond the money and party talk. As for styles, Id say its a major risk for an artist to mess with so many different flows and styles yet keep a hold of your core audience.

    • Justin Case

      When people say such and such artist doesn't take risks, most people do not refer to flow. Having a versatile flow is never a bad thing. It's the content that most refer to. And as far as content goes Jay's catalogue is pretty safe. Jay is a business and will never dive deep into certain issues to risk damaging his brand or pockets. Jay has always been on the low side of the risk scale. Lol @ thinking a song like 22 2's was risky.

  • Rival X

    This album is the best to drop this year. Hands down. I've listened to the album thirteen times. Listening to it right now. Great repeat value.

  • Cleo M. Faber

    my co-worker's ex-wife makes $62 hourly on the computer. She has been fired from work for eight months but last month her check was $18170 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read more on this site... www.Can99com

  • g

    After listening to the album at least six full times Im really liking this album, this is usually the case with Jay album for me, have to liten multiple times, except reasonable doubt which was a instant classic. 4 stars for me.

  • 10thAve

    Sit yall butts down and listen to the lyrics... double entendres and double meanings everywhere! I think people have gotten too use to having metaphors and punchlines set up and rolled out for them instead of actually listening and trying to decode what they mean!! Jay-z and Nas are about the only two artists who you cant possibly catch all of the lyrics on one listen its just not possible!!! 4.6/5 if he would have taken off "BBC and "La Familia" and made "Beach is Better" a full song he would have had classic number 5!!!!!

  • dasada

    Jigga flow on this album was generally wack, his lyrics were aite. The only track where he didnt sound washed up was on BBC,where he became 97-00 Jigga, and that was probably only cuz he didnt wanna get outshone by Nas

  • not gonna lie

    im too young and don't read or watch the news to know half the shit he talking about so this gets a 2

  • uhm

    go back too bbc maybe you a lil young but its a old school late 80s possie track if you notice they spitting about old cars and mcm which was popular with the nike sweat suits I forgive you for not knowing its like a track tht the juice crew would do.

    • Hip Hop Fan

      That track reminds me of Hov's 2nd collaboration with Biggie on 'I Love the Dough'. Brooklyn's Finest was colossal and both were just trying out do each other with crazy rhymes. I Love the Dough was more of celebration and this is what BBC feels like. Hov and Nas in a comfortable place leaving ego to the side. It's a good look. Black Republican was epic enough.

    • uhm

      it wasn't a get all crazy lyrical track thats not how it was in the 80s they brought that party vibe to the album which was a surprise nas and jay have plenty of hard hitting tracks together.

    • Anonymous

      It doesn't mean that it's good. 2 of the greats on the same track should be much better

  • Anonymous

    at first I gave it a 3 I camre back to give it a 4.5 this is a sit down and listen album his double entendre is working over time on this joint I cant skip a song NOW

  • Brandon

    you set your self up for a let down when you name something Holy Grail

  • Lynx

    1.HOLY GRAIL Jay and JT explain the addiction to fame and money. Great concept. a.Best lines: Bright lights is enticing/ But look what it did to Tyson/ All that money in one night/ Thirty mill for one fight/ But soon as all the money blows/ All the pigeons take flight & also Fuck your IRIS and the IRS. b.Questionable move: The song sounds like it could be JT featuring Jay as much as it sounds like Jay featuring JT. Not sure if hearing JT for the first minute of your album was the best move. 2.PICASSO BABY Jay has always been one to influence his listeners style and taste. But he took it to the extreme in this track listing multiple artists such as Picasso, Rothko, Jeff Koons, George Condo, Francis Bacon etc He rides the beat in classic Jay fashion addressing the constant chase for more luxury and excess with subject matter that anyone worth under $10,000,000 would not know. 3.TOM FORD Subliminal shots at fake studio gangstas and molly poppers claiming the trill trap life. Jay hits the hard beat with OG swag reminding people that he kills tracks like notorious hitman Wayne Perry and has no respect for computer/media thugs. 4.FUCKWITHMEYOUKNOWIGOTIT The beat belonged to Rozay which is how he got on the track. More Jay and less Rozay would make the track better considering how great Jay is with his Mafioso slick talk. a.Best lines: Lucky Luciano is what they call me, paesano/ A 100 keys at the piano plays across the Verrazano/ El Padrino, in the villa in Venice sipping vino/ Not bad for a mulignano, y'all know like we know, I got it 5.OCEANS Frank Ocean & Jay hit a homerun with this track subtly comparing the rise out of slavery to an Oceans 11 heist. Throwing champagne from the big yacht into the same ocean water that brought black ancestors on slave boats to America. a.Best lines: Black card go hard when I'm shopping/ Boat dock in front of Hermes picking cotton. - Outside of being a high end name brand store which Jay can pick his cotton from, Hermes was also the Greek God of transitions and boundaries, again tying to the notion of the African American rise from slavery. 6.F.U.T.W. The track speaks to Jays rise to power and how his influence can help uplift the people. Jay has learned from other great black leaders like Malcolm and Muhammed, and as the hook suggests, he is here to fuck up the world. a.Best lines: This ain't grey sweat suits and white tube socks/ This is black leather pants and a pair of Stance/ Socks is my synopsis is clear/ Got stripclubs feeling like Oxford, I swear - Jay is saying that he isnt regular like grey sweats and white socks, he is black leather pants and Stance socks, known to be flashy and colorful. So his synopsis or summary is that his flashy or colorful demeanor can draw attention, and together with his power and influence he can walk into a strip club and enlighten those strippers by his mere presence. 7.SOMEWHEREINAMERICA Jay discusses his position in white America and how he is still not fully accepted. a.Thus, the best lines end up being: Feds still lurking/ They see I'm still putting work in/ Cause somewhere in America/ Miley Cyrus is still twerkin'. - No matter how hard they want him out, Jay is here to stay, and as proof, he is not only a small part of the reason the President is black, but he is also a small part of the reason Americas sweetheart is twerkin that ass. 8.CROWN Typical Jay. Bragging and spitting bars with his king of the world bravado. a.Best lines: I ball so hard on ESPN/ See my name come across on CNN/ 'Bout 6 minutes, you gonna see it again/ 'Bout 6 minutes, you gonna see me again. - 1 minute is 60 seconds. So 6 minutes is 360 seconds. Thus the reason you will see him again is because he is doing a 360. 9.HEAVEN My favorite song on the album. Line after line of double entendre, secret meaning and wordplay. Hard beat combined with sick flow. It was the highlight of the album for me. a.Best Line: Arm, Leg, Leg, Arm, Head -- this is God body, meaning ALLAH the God body, a teaching of the Five Percent Nation: 360 degrees of man is Godly. i.Theory: 85% of the people are blind to the knowledge of themselves and God, while 10% of the people know the truth, but teach a lie for their personal gain. Jay would be part of the remaining 5%, those who do not subscribe to the teachings of the 10%, as they know and teach that God is the Asiatic Blackman. 10.VERSUS The truth in my verses/ Versus Your metaphors/ About what your net worth is/ Ha ha ha nuff said. Good interlude. 11.PART II (ON THE RUN)- I assume this is the song he meant to be for the ladies? A follow up to 03 Bonnie & Clyde that does not live up to its predecessor. 12.BEACH IS BETTER The song starts hot and ends way too quickly. Maybe Jays beach is better, but when a beat bangs like that after the weak sound of the previous track, the listener wants you to tell him why your beach is better.or at least drop another 16!!! 13.BBC Not sure what to say other than this track sounds like trash. I assume BBC means Bliionaire Boys Club? Well nobody involved with this song is a billionaire so maybe they should have chosen another topic. Nas and Jay together with Pharell and Timbo on the production and this is the shit they released to the public??? #GTFOH 14.JAY Z BLUE I guess he wanted to make a song for his daughter, which is fine. Jay can do what he wants. But the same way we didnt give a fuck when Eminem was wasting four minutes of radio time rapping about Hailey, I hope Jay doesnt think we will feel differently about Blue Ivy. And by the way, the bitch yelling in the background for the chorus is annoying and somewhat disturbing. In future, when dudes want make songs about their daughters, please do like Nas and come correct or do not come at all. 15.LA FAMILIA Considering the album thus far, this track had a very lazy flow and little effort lyrically. Also, if you are going to lower yourself enough to respond to Lil Wayne, at least have the decency to drop a proper bar and hit back. Jay has allowed himself to be ethered by Weezys kidnap wifey diss as a result of this weak ass lame response. He would have been better off leaving it alone. Best line was about standing up to NFL investigations, but Ive already lost interest at this point. 16.NICKLES AND DIMES Assuming Beaches Is Better is an interlude, Nickles and Dimes is the best of the last five final full length songs on the album. Unfortunately, its too little too late. a.Best line: Sometimes I feel survivor's guilt/ I gave some money to this guy, he got high as hell/ Now I'm part of the problem far as I could tell/ Did I do it for him or do it for myself/ Can't lie to myself

    • Caastro

      Impressive review....personally 'Oceans' was my favourite track and FUCKWITHMEYOUKNOWIGOTIT the worst. I think I agrre with Jay-Z when he says it is probably his 4th best album. If you do more reviews, it will be nice to give us a link.

    • coca sosa

      ^^^^^thank you

  • Anonymous

    3rd BEST album he's made. Fuck wit'em YOU KNOW HE GOT IT!

  • SP-1070

    Good review. Jay-Z is one of the last of his kind and he's stood the test of time. I had high hopes for Cole and Yeezy, but the one album I didn't see coming is, in my opinion, the best album this year. MCHG

  • Anonymous

    JAY-Z IS A INDUSTRY PUPPET JUST LIKE PUFF DADDY CONTROLLED BY BILLIONAIRE WHITE MEN IN SUITES

  • MrRicoSlick

    I will attest to the fact that the production on this album was pretty decent and superb at times, but when it comes down to mic skills, Jay-Z has reduced himself to elementary quotables. He has lost his way from a rap perspective, his wordplay is less intricate, his metaphors are weak and even his braggadoccio persona is waning. Jay-Z should concentrate on running his business empire, coz rap-wise his well past his prime. People can ride the Jay-brand wagon all they want but there is nothing remotely refreshing about this album aside from the insignificant claim that it's better than Blueprint 3. Jay-Z the rapper is on life support while Jay-Z the businessman thrives.

  • yungczer

    Best post-retirement album hands down!

  • Danny G

    Wow the amount of people that think Jay-z is a valid artist in Hip hop are out of touch. Jay-Z is garbage, he has no vision nothing. This album is about nothing but making.money. I'm sure.the kids listening to Asher Roth will pick this up too.

  • Sam

    Jay's latest release, "the Magna Carta... Holy Grail" does not disappoint as a strong addition to Mr. Carter's renown discography. Remaining contemporary with cutting-edge beats and hooks that stray bravely from what we might expect to come out of a Jay-Z track as in tracks like Holy Grail and Crown, Hov never wavers from his signature flow and classic attack on any given track. While guest appearances on the album remain sparse and slightly wanting as on tracks like "F*ckwithmeyouknowigotit", Jay's true-to-Hip-Hop sound demonstrates his no-bullshit mastery of the craft of rap and feels strong even when unsupplemented by appearances from other artists. Such mastery on the Magna Carta leaves listeners with a refreshing, new departure from the predominantly weak sounds that we have come accustom to hearing from the rap game as of late. Jay-Z's confidence and finesse on a given track has often transmitted a feeling of growth beyond the stereotypes of traditional Hip Hop while artfully remaining true to the old-school influences upon which it came to prosper. Jay maintains this elusive signature with the Magna Carta. The word enlightened comes to mind. Other artists have recently attempted to achieve such a sense of enlightenment but have unfortunately fallen short in one way or another. Kanye West's recent release of Yeezus exemplifies such an attempt, similarly drawing on historical and biblical allusions. The result in the case of Mr. West felt forced as any layman could detect it was trying perhaps too hard to be new and different. In contrast, Jay has achieved a sense of detachment from the rat race that is the Hip Hop game today. Jay doesn't try to pretend to still be the struggling teenager in the projects of Brooklyn that he once was. Nor does he fabricate new sources of struggle to discuss in order to ensure respect in the realm of gangster rap. Instead, Jay's highly personal tracks on the Magna Carta discuss his current internal struggles (see Jay Z Blue and Heaven, respectively) like coping with life as a new father and reconciling existential thoughts in his personal life. Jay-Z's ability to break out from the Hip Hop norm carries over to his latest release, an accomplishment in itself. Not without any bones to pick, Mr. Carter's latest release is quite clearly true to its matured artist and therefore recieves a rating of 4 out of 5 stars. All responses are welcome. Bitch.

    • c

      First and foremost, well written review. This album has me wondering if this is still his passion or is just what he does now? I feel like from track to track you get a little bit of both. Almost as if he is thinking, I like this beat I'll talk breezy for minute but on the next track, he had something to say and found the beat that worked for what he had to say. That's why we have 59 second songs. He had one thing he wanted to say but did not want to put any the additional effort to elaborate more. But then have a full song of him just clowning around but because of his skill level and experience his clowning around is still above average. A full project, I can put on repeat and vibe to all day, which is very rare these days for that reason and simple fact that before over analyzing it I simply enjoyed it. 5 Stars.

    • Boi

      You have spoken well son... Hope Mr Hov does better on his next album. I can't stand fake rappers and pussy dick talking rappers and trouble makers and gangs for Youngins.

    • kas

      Well-written. Completely agree.

  • Anonymous

    Yeezus is 100X greater than this bullshit album. Fuck Jay-Z!

  • ray gomez

    How can anyone hate on this album? He speaks the life he lives now, the life hes lived and mentions things in History none of yall probably know about. Half the shit he says no rapper can get away with saying. There is old school Jigga and New school Hov. The beats BANG! Timbo did an amazing job on the album as well. Best album He has done since the Black Album!

  • jason dale

    This albums is fucking amazing

  • Dentaldamboy

    As an accountant for YMCMB, i can confirm Hip Hop started in the streets and it will forever be in the streets. the fact of the matter is, Nobody in the streets is listening to Jay Z, only kids from the burbs!!!! I ain't feelin this album, i don't care how lyrical he is, it's fuckin wack in the streets. Only people in the urban community (not suburban ) should have say to what is dope hip hop and what isn't, this is NOTHING special. Kids from the suburbs tend to think just because a rapper is "lyrical" that makes them great! 2Pac , Too Short, Eazy E, and many many others weren't the most complex rappers but they are more legends, why? Because they kept it street. These underground, and lyrical cats can rhyme as many words out of the dictionary that they want and it is still wack in the streets why? Wack subject matter, wack hooks, wack beats, nobody wants to listen to any of that. People wake up, street hip hop (biggie, 2pac, big l , meek ) any rapper that reps the streets. YES even Gucci will have more respect than these lyrical cats, because hip hop IS the streets, and if the streets aren't feelin it, than it doesn't matter how versatile you are, wack is wack no matter what, this album is nothing special, and kids from the burbs need to stop givin this shit 5 star reviews!!

    • Listen

      Low life nicca, your dead body will be on the street and no one will take your body to any grave keep street dreaming son.

    • Anonymous

      You a fake just commentin on evry tape on this site and talkin shit about things you know nothing about.

    • YouAFuckBoi

      The fact that you think meek mill and gucci get more respect than jigga shows what you really know. also funny that you're an accountant tryna talk about the streets...you see the irony in that right....yea, you see it. jigga aint in the streets no more lil bro, why the fuck would he rap about them. he sold kilos of coke so i figure he can sell cds. nigga raps about his real life, not some fake shit to make ymcmb accountants feel like theyre from the hood. im from chicago IN THE STREETS and can tell you that we all ride to this shit. go home lil bro.

  • lance

    I could not stand this album at all. Such a half assed album . The lyrics are terrible from aside maybye 4 or 5 songs. Some of the production is alright but then there are just some straight up horribly produced songs like BBC & Pt 2 on the run ,etc. This is a low point in jays carrer to me .He cant decide between being a rapper or a pop star

  • The Man

    The production is good, but the rapping is absolutely atrocious.

  • nahhb

    Solid. 5th best album after RD, TBA, BP, AG

  • Jose

    Jay z gives the world the best hip hop album ever produced and all people can do is hate coz his rich, happy and they jealous (how do you rate music that thugs with nothing relate to it)

  • xkilla

    dope album, picasso baby

  • Osiris, The God

    "Who else could call Big Daddy Kane, the Notorious B.I.G., Eminem, and Kendrick Lamar peers at different points in the same career?" Crazy...

  • ill

    UGH I just want a PICASSO- in mi CASA- No my CASTLE

  • BmorePolitics

    Solid album. Jay did his thing...not the greatest lyrically but the album is complete & flows together well. I'll be playing it daily for the next month or 2..

  • Mr. Tibbs

    This is a great album. After that Yeesus bullshit I was scared but Jay never fails. I'm giving this album a 5/5 for the simple fact it was better than J. Cole, Wale, and Kanye. Oh and he got Lil Wayne and Baby on Versus in :51 seconds. Lol Jigga!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jay-Z Done

    I was more impressed with Timberland and co's production than Jay-Z and that is a bad thing. On a lot of songs I was saying to myself that these great beats are being wasted on Jay-Z's lazy flow and corny lyrics. I know you Jay fans have a hard time accepting it but your boy Jay is mega rich and has NOTHING left to prove or rap about. He just isn't interesting anymore and he and Jay-Z fans need to accept that. Jay is lazy as shit on the mic.

  • Daman

    Damn hov u did an album in 2 weeks better then most ppl could do in a lifetime and ppl still bitching get em young!

  • Matthova

    THe album is dope but I get the sense the most versatile rapper ever could do better

  • Brian

    just because half of the songs are dope don't mean it's a 5. this is a 3.5 album PERIOD.

  • Brian

    versus is fucking pathetic

  • FAABANKS302

    4/5 pretty gud

  • Listen

    Hov became the best rapper since RD when he said rapper going broke trying to keep up with me. in Dead pres. and its still the truth now. what more do you all want from Hov. Well Don't believe me, ask Michael See Martin, see Malcolm See Biggie, see HOV, see Pac See success and its outcome See Jesus, see Judas See Caesar, see Brutus See success is like suicide Suicide, it's a suicide When you succeed, prepare to be crucified Media meddles, niggas sue you, you settle Every step you take, they remind you you ghetto So it's tough being Bobby Brown To be Bobby then, you gotta be Bobby now Now the question is, "Is to have had and lost Better than not having at all?" Because dawg

  • Coogi

    Realest track on the entire album...Nickel & Dimes

  • bigtrev20

    still the best rapper ever..

  • Anonymous

    Album's NICE!!!

  • Adela C. Numbers

    just as Catherine explained I am startled that a student able to profit $6519 in 1 month on the computer. did you read this page... www.Can99com

  • Ghetto Heisman

    Album is soooo ILL. Bars for days. I disagree with Pitchfork's review and more agree with this one. Yes, Jay does name drop fancy stuff and their is inherent materialism in the lyrics, but I think it's done in an artful way. After all, he is just talking about his life the way it is right now. What stands out most is how he talks about how, despite his success, there are still people out there who don't respect where he has come from, what he has achieved, and he is still somewhat discriminated against, just like the rest of us black men. I applaud him on showing the world his version of the modern day American dream. If you take a look at the name of the album, and what the "magna carta" was in history, it's very fitting for the album. I take it as a way of him saying "Yeah, here I am! From the hood. I'm up in your neighborhood where you don't want people like us and at your parties and functions, and you can't hold me or my people down." :-)

  • Shelby

    Zero stars. Jay and Kanye both can suck it! Horrible album

  • MrRhoda

    Not Jays best, but its a solid album non the less, Mr. Carter never disappoints

  • Andrew Wong

    A stellar and mature Jay album that truly gets better with time. The formula of "dumbed-down" lyrics meshed with advanced similes and metaphors has been perfected since 1998 for Jay (arguably). The beats complement the lyrics and vice versa. This has Jay on the most interesting beats in a while and actively exploring various flows. This album has something for everyone, especially the South sound. We'll be talking about this album years for now, not just for its quality, but for its significance to hip-hop and ageism within the genre.

  • Ryan

    Amazing production with good lyrics

  • Tom Ford

    Work we Hov you know the got it Bitches!

  • Anonymous

    album 7/10 good album but not his best

  • anon

    One of his best, not one of his least thats for sure.

  • Anonymous

    OCEANSSSSSSSSSS

  • ben

    This album was terrible. I dont think 9th wonder can save it this time.

  • robot

    i fucks wit it...def compared to whats been coming out in the past few years.....GKMC, Life is good, MCHG...

  • Spit That

    NICKELS & DIMES IS EXCELLENT.

  • Anonymous

    One day all you late motherfuckers will realize this album is dope as hell.

  • Burt Bondy

    "but it's easily Jay's most cohesive project since "The Blueprint." EASILY?!! Not even close! No way is this more cohesive than American Gangster.

  • Anonymous

    4/16 songs... that's a solid album?? ya'll buggin

  • kingdom come

    Blueprint RD black album american gangster dyNASTY ALBUM Kingdom come vol,2 bp3 bp2 vol.1 vol.3

  • kingdom come

    Ok since we trashing jay-z so much i want someone to explain to me how kingdom come is one of his worst albums. And i want a song by song break down.........That album clearly went over heads and i am guessing this album will too.

    • Coogi

      Kingdom Come was dope. A few tracks were forgettable (Anything, Hollywood, Dig a hole) but everything else was top notch

    • Hommie

      KC was so great lames slept on it because it's way out of what they can comprehend... Songs like every track was fire and that trouble track was one of the best... Lil niggas hate KC because they know who, you know what lets keep that between grown men.

    • Hip Hop Fan

      Kingdom Come wasn't the worst. Never. The Prelude sums up Jay's attitude with rap and Hip Hop fans in general. 'The game's fucked up Nigga's beats is bangin', nigga your hooks did it Your lyrics didn't, your gangsta look did it So I would write it if y'all could get it Bein intricate'll get you wood, critic On the internet, they like you should spit it I'm like you should buy it, nigga that's good business Forget this rap shit I need a new hustle' That's the opening lyrics to Kingdom Come and people are shitting all over this album even though it's probably the last time I've heard Jay spit some intricate rhymes like he was doing on Black Album. Tunes like 'Oh My God', 'Kingdom Come', 'Show Me What You Got', 'Lost One', 'Do You Wanna Ride', '30 Something', 'Minority Report'.....'Beach Chair' - Never was this his weakest album. The album showed his growth and he took some risks, but got slammed by the critics cause he wasn't talking that same slick talk. The reverse of the bullshit is when he released American Gangster. Tight album but it was the 'Ignorant Shit' the fans and critics liked. Gangster and coke talk. Now you read the criticism of this current album and you'll hear critics say it's the same lavish lifestyle talk and he hasn't evolved but they slammed Kingdom Come and praised American Gangster. It's funny really.

  • Hovito

    I rather say all my niggas have money...... than say all my niggas got guns with out registration, all niggas in jail, all my niggas gang banging. Lame kiddos

  • ol

    Its about adaptability u dumb fucks. "niggas want my old shit buy my old ablum/niggas stuck on stupid/i gotta keep it moving/niggas make the same shit/me i make the blueprints! Hov's number one quality is his ability to stay relevant with the times. I bet half of these niggas rock tight jeans and shirts TODAY when they use to wear 3xl white tees and size 38 jeans, right? If you do not adapt you get left behind and that pertains to any and all professions whether you are an accountant or n entertainer or even a hustler. DONT GET LEFT BEHIND OPEN YOUR EYES AND EARS FOLKS TIME FLIES!

    • Big Bro

      @ben10. Go watch some cartoons or some thing... You have no idea what we're talking about here because all you said was money.

    • ben

      ...and hip-hop is dead. So if you adapt to the times it means you are making shit albums to make money. No one is arguing with Jay's ability to make money.

  • Anonymous

    No one wants to hear your bullshit ass opinions, dental dam bitch. Shouldn't you be up at mcdonalds making my #1?

    • Anonymous

      Nobody believes your lies, dentaldambitch.

    • dentaldamboy

      I don't suck dick. That guy was a fake. Im from the streets because im a blood. Wayne hired me because I add up numbers and shit.

    • dentaldamboy

      I'm from the streets because I'm a hooker. Lil' Wayne hired me because of my dicksucking skills. He said I was better then Superhead!

    • dentaldamboy

      It fucking dental dam BOY dumbfuckingass. Im from the streets so I know what's good and wack. Don't be mad just because your favorite artists are wack. Im an accountant for ymcmb so we make far more money than your broke ass.

  • dentaldamboy

    Many of the so called, "legends" are fucking wack. Jay Z, Nas, Dr Dre, Eminem, Kayne West, 2Pac, Biggie, those are all wack lyricalists who are becoming more and more pop each day. On the other hand, YMCMB and MMG are keeping it real and are saving it from true destruction. Many of the "legends" are also gay. Jay Z and Kayne West close relationship is suspect, Nas kissed Dr Dre, which is gay since Dre is not Nas's father in any form (unlike Wayne and Birdman, Eminem hates women, why complain about Wayne wearing his daughter's pants when 2Pac wore a fucking tutu, and Biggie could only attract men with his wack rapping.

    • Anonymous

      Everything said by dentalbitch is a fucking lie.

    • dentaldamboy

      That's a fake above me. The only orgy I have been too was a female orgy where the ymcmb crew fucks women and Nicki Minaj and Rihanna were seen kissing. Anyway, Birdman showed me the tape of Nas kissing Dr Dre. Also, Birdman is Wayne's stepfather. YMCMB and MMG have their roots in the street.

    • dentaldamboy

      ymcmb and mmg had a crew on crew orgy and I was invited!! It was so fun but my ass is still sore...also there was no women which really made it great.

    • ol

      I must say you about the lamest most wackest commentators i have ever came across. U obviously one of these new found niggas. Listen kid mmg and specially ymcmb are the most commercially successful camps in rap today how the fuck are they street?

    • Anonymous

      Hey DentalDick...u bout as dumb as your user name...By the way i dont know where the hell u got that story of nas kissing dr. dre...and by the way Birdman is not Lil Wayne's real father which makes them gay for kissing each other dumbass!!

    • dentaldamboy

      Im an accountant for ymcmb. That's part of my job.

    • the wise

      u have to much time on ur hands ..fucking moron!

  • Anonymous

    The ignorant masses wont be ready. They will think its whack because they have no ear for music.

  • Anonymous

    Jay-Z made a career of bragging why would anyone think he'd stop and be this deep reflective rapper now?

  • Dentaldamboy

    Hip Hop started in the streets and it will forever be in the streets, the fact of the matter is. Nobody in the streets is listening to Jay Z, only kids from the burbs. I ain't feelin this album, i don't care how lyrical he is, it's fuckin wack in the streets. Only people in the urban community (not suburban ) should have say to what is dope hip hop and what isn't, this is NOTHING special. Kids from the suburbs tend to think just because a rapper is "lyrical" that makes them great! 2Pac , Too Short, Eazy E, and many many others weren't the most complex rappers but they are more legends, why? Because they kept it street. These underground, and lyrical cats can rhyme as many words out of the dictionary that they want and it is still wack in the streets why? Wack subject matter, wack hooks, wack beats, nobody wants to listen to any of that. People wake up, street hip hop (biggie, 2pac, big l , meek ) any rapper that reps the streets, YES even Gucci will have more respect than these lyrical cats, because hip hop IS the streets, and if the streets aren't feelin it, than it doesn't matter how versatile you are, wack is wack no matter what, this album is nothing special, and kids from the burbs need to stop givin this shit 5 star reviews!!

    • formerly Chicagoian

      No offense Chicago-rilla, but chi town niggas have been bumpin wack music for sometime now, theres only been a few good artists coming from chiraq,(Jeremiah Jae, lep Bogus Boys, Common, Chance, rymefest, and a few other) Yeah its real in the Go, bullets do fly, but, music has always been lacking....Bang-Bang-3hunna

    • Chicago Rilla

      ^Man I live in the hood, 74 shootings 12 deaths in chi-town over the weekend & the whole city was bumping this over Yeezus, I have no Idead what you're talking about

    • Anonymous

      Does this mean you are from the streets Dentaldamboy?

    • Eddie Winslow

      hip hop isn't all about the streets. don't box hip hop in like that. hip hop is about keeping it real and staying true to yourself. Jay-Z is in a different place now than he was in the 90s. He's living the high life, therefore he's going to rap about his life....the high life. Just don't listen to it if you don't like it. end of story. go listen to your street only hip hop.

  • Anonymous

    If this is a 4/5 which i have no problem with. Then explain how the hell yeezus a 4.5, Cole's a 4/5, and Mac's a 4/5???

  • Anonymous

    4 out of 5. Solid work from Jay-Z. Its obviously not flawless nor is it the best album of the year. But nonetheless quality stuff for the most part.

  • Anonymous

    Somehow all those other albums got 4's. GTFO DX

  • Anonymous

    This album was better than yeezus, and j cole's, and better than macs. But i wouldn't compare Jay to those guys anyways. His true comparisons are guys from the his time. With that said, Life is Good was a better all around album

    • @anon

      You guys talk about nas and his shit with out putting his lyrics here for us to read.... We don't have to agure about who can rap, let's go through their rap. Stupid!

  • Chicago Rilla

    Reasonable Doubt The Blueprint The Black Album American Gangster Magna Carter Holy Grail Vol. 2 Da Dynasty: Roc La Familia Blueprint 2 Vol. 3 Blueprint 3 Kingdom Come Vol. 1 With everything being said how could anyone rate this less than a 4 out of 5

  • Remy

    whack niggaz is whack

  • Anonymous

    i never check dx's ratings. All about the user rating. 3.9 sounds just about right... maybe even 3.5. people too infatuated with Jay and blindly believe everything he's gonna put out is gonna be tight due to the "jay-z" brand behind it. compare this to anything before black album... which were all his prime albums. Personally, i don't think this one holds up.

    • Anonymous

      We counting roc la familia as a solo project? that had crazy collabo's on it. the joint with scareface was hot!

    • Hip Hop Fan

      As said, Vol.1 has classic cuts but its not a classic album. Jay will tell you that himself and because of some of the tracks he did with Puff, he cant listen to it and isnt as happy with the album. Look it up. But A Million and One Questions, Where Im From, Streets is Watching, You Must Love Me..those tracks shit on most songs Jay has done since that time. Vol.2 is solid but there isnt anything on there like it like those cuts but thats still a solid album. The Blueprintclassic album but there is nothing on there that tops what he was doing back on Vol.1 lyrically but its a different Jay on a different day. Its like comparing You Dont Know to Where Im From. They should be able to stand on their own two without the comparison but it cant be helped. Hed never be able to make a song like Somewhere in America, Nickels and Dimes or Jay-Z Blue, Holy Grail back then like he cant do a Where Im From or Can I live right now. Different zones.

    • YEBO

      VOL 1 IS A NEAR CLASSIC. YOU MUST LOVE ME AND WHERE I'M FROM SHIT ON ANY TRACK OFF MCHG!!!!!!!!!

    • Hip Hop Fan

      Its better than Vol.1 and The Dynasty (which wasnt supposed to be a solo Jay album). Vol.1 has classic cuts from Jay Z but as a body of work its messy. That would have been a classic if it wasnt for tracks like Sunshine, I Know What Girls Like, City is Mine, Face Off. I can play this the whole way through. The Jay-Z brand isnt about his catalogue. Hes not the sort of artist that gets critical acclaim for his work in the same way someone like Kanye does or Outkast. We dont expect a classic or something ground breaking with each album. Hes not that sort of artist.

    • yoson

      its a good album. You guys r too much. what do u want the cd to do change your life.

    • Anonymous

      Exactly, lets say it like it is. It is Jay's consistency is what we look at the most. So even if he drops something that isnt perfect or all around tight, he gets the nod from the consumer due to putting out solid shit for years. Which is part of the Jay-z brand.

    • Anonymous

      This albums got some bad cuts on there as well.

    • Anonymous

      It's better than Volume 3 and Blueprint 2. It has a flaw or 2. But like you said, those ones before the Black Album were his prime albums so we expected different. The reason people feed into the "Jay-Z brand" is cuz of his catalogue. People expect a classic every time he drops an album and it's just not going to happen. He obvious knows what it takes to put out a classic, but even after damn near 20 years in the game, he's still an artist who takes chances. For an album he just started promoting 3 weeks before it came out, no video, no single, this album is damn near elite. It's not perfect, but it's above average and it's still history happening before your eyes.

    • Hip Hop Fan

      Anything before Black Album....hmmmm....even Vol. 1, Vol. 3, Dynasty, Blueprint 2? Those albums had some horrible cuts on there. This is solid work from Jay and feels like a proper album. Not just a collection of songs.

  • Ferigno

    Solid LP, not a classic, but it is good, above average. Replay value is up there too. I wouldn't give it more than a 4 though.

  • No Stars

    Standards are lower than I thought if people consider this album a classic. Hip hop really is dead

    • U stupid

      [1st Verse:] Sweet! And still there's pain If I would have grew up to be a doctor, my nephew would have grew up to do the same But since I grew up through the game, and my influence is the same And my therapy is music, they ask if you ashamed And though I wish I could separate, two things, I cannot, so my answer to you remains I can walk down the hall or mirrors, in Versailles And be so satisfied when I look a myself in the eyes No shame, no sir, just big boats and tearing the coast up Tight coup like I'm wearing the roadster, For any coup I'm bear hugging the holster. [Chorus:] Hov, alright, alright And that may not be What you call perfect But, but it's my life The life, the life, the life Once again it's the life [2nd Verse:] So I make no apologies Crooked policies So a G a nigga gotta be We playing for property, no monopoly So I'll pass go and let my nephew follow me They say the child shall lead, So I take it far as I can, and then we shall see Shall we dance with the devil, for a beat I pray to God I ain't got two left feet Do the hustle, put keys in the street Then I'm ballroom dancing, ke-ke'ing in the suite Sweet. BB's on the feet, TV's in the seat Enemies on the creep It's so corrupt Soak it up It's a lesson, never fuck up One day you're up, next day you're down Long as you stay the same, it will come back around [Chorus] [3rd Verse:] I'm even better, I'm eating better Best thing about it is, my niggas eating together With each endeavor We reaching levels, niggas ain't seen in like forever I'm hyman roth I make all my partners rich I can vouch for you, if you ain't a part of this So pardon me as I pave my wrist As I parlay my chips, Hov! Alright, alright, American Gangster, ganster, business like I'm white But I'm not, I'm just bright So fly with no fear of the flight So if y'all hear my plight And if you think you can make it this far without a fight Couple mistakes here and there, not always right But I'm always real, that's how I sleep at night

  • urall mychildren

    Crazy that he's 42 and crosses so many generational gaps and is still as trend setting as ever...not a 5 Star album but I gave it that because its at least a 4 and it looks like some people underrated it probably because they can't decipher some of the lyrics... I still think the Black Album is his "Magnum Opus"

  • Soul_Amazing

    At first listen I thought it was 3.5 at best, but i listened to it a bit more and think it's a great album. Not his best album...but i'm growing to love it. #Newrules.

  • Biggie Smalls

    Son what are you doing? Im rolling in my grave: - you did a song with Justin Timberlake? Whats next a song with Miley Cyrus? - Your flow and delivery sounds lazy. - You talking about mona lisa and picasso paintings. Niggas in the hood dont understand this shit. You hanging to much with your rich white buddies. The average hiphop fan cant identified anymore with your music. - Your bragging is getting boring. Kids brag about there toys not 43 year old mans. - You want to sound deep making songs about your family? Then use some emotion nigga. Your songs dont have heart or soul like pac. - Did you make this album on the automatic pilot? Wheres your passion for hiphop. - Nigga you only make albums to make them and not for the love. Nigga remember when we played eachothers records in 96 and 97 that was the shit. Now you dissing older hiphopfans saying you dont like my shit then buy my old shit? Beyonce was your first piece of pussy which you didnt pay for(remember you only fucked hookers because you aint a pretty boy)But Beyonce made a sissy out of you. Nigga im very disappointed! I cant blame the kids on this site they are 12 years old and the reviewers to. Brooklyn aint proud Lazy-Z!