Just My Opinion: JAY Z "Magna Carta... Holy Grail" Review

JAY Z IS the G.O.A.T.... to me anyway. As the title suggests, it's "just an opinion".

Literally, a month ago today, JAY Z released his 12th studio album "Magna Carta... Holy Grail", and 2 months ago, we had no idea this was dropping. He announced this album during the NBA finals in the form of an ad sponsored by Samsung. It featured Jay in a studio with legends such as Rick Rubin, Timbaland, Pharrell, and also included Swizz Beatz. It showcased what to expect production wise, and with those names, and the beats we heard, it sounded like it was going to sound amazing! In the weeks that followed, we got teaser videos with Jay talking about select songs on the album (Holy Grail, Oceans, Heaven and JAY Z Blue), and we also got the actual lyrics, and by the time the 4th of July passed, we had pretty much the lyrics to the whole album. Obviously we had the choice to not see the lyrics, which is what I did. The promotion was sort of 50/50, I liked the videos but the lyrics was kind of stupid and I honestly could have done without. But anyway, we're here for the music, and let's begin with...

"Holy Grail"! Which features Justin Timberlake. And I have to say, he fucking killed it. Jay has said it, and I gotta agree, this may be the best vocal performance that I've ever heard from him, and it had me even more excited for "The 20/20 Experience Part 2" than I already was, cause part 1 is one of my favorite albums of the year. Wish I could say the same for Robin "Lucky Cunt" Thicke. Anyway, on to Jay-Z. He has two great verses, the 1st ending on a sample from the Nirvina classic "Smells Like Teen Spirit". I've seen alot of people say they don't like it, but I'm not in that group. I feel like those lyrics fit the song very well, with Jay talking about the struggles of fame, and being in the spotlight. This may not be an original concept, but it is handled very well. Also, "Blue told me remind you niggas" might be my favorite intro line on an album. And Timbaland. Jesus! He killed this beat, great to see him on form, and off that "Shock Value 2" bullshit. Everyone did their thing, very solid opener.

Now on to "Picasso Baby", which is definitely my favorite song on the album. Production is on point with Timbaland on the boards, and Jay is just killing it. This really is some Volume 3 Jay, especially after the beat flip. Man, that beat flip? INSANE! The moment that dropped I lost it, and when the song was over, I had to go back. Beat flips people, we need more of this!! Anyway, back to Jay. My favourite lines definitely include "Even my old fans like oh man, just stop / I could if I would but I can't I'm hot", and "Oh what a feeling / aw fuck it I want a trillion!" That may seem simple, but listen, no matter where I am, I feel like shouting "AW FUCK IT I WANT A TRILLION!" With someone saying WOOO in the background. Great track, and Jay also released a video for, which I definitely recommend you check out!

"Tom Ford". Again, the production is amazing by Timbaland, and Jay does his thing. Not really alot to say about this song, but I enjoy it. The line "I don't pop molly I rock Tom Ford" took me a while to actually get, I thought it was really random, but after watching the Bill Maher interview, I felt kind of stupid, after his explanation that Jay is basically saying I'm not on that young immature shit, he's more about success, and Tom Ford stands as a metaphor for that, it sounded really simple after that. I definitely one I see this one killing the clubs easily, just like "F*ckWithMeYouKnowIGotIt". With Rick Ross, the boss! Beat by Boi-1da and Vinylz is great, although it sounds like the beat for Joe Budden's song N.B.A., but we'll excuse that. Lyrically it's not the best, but Ross had some lines I laughed at ("Reeboks on I just do it, nigga"), and I really liked Jay's verse due to the Italian references although the verse, the Denrio line was probably my favorite line. Good braggadocios song, and definitely get's alot of plays from me.

"Oceans" featuring Frank Ocean. This is the first appearence from Pharrell on the production side, and he, as usual, killed this beat. I loved the concept from Jay, talking about the duality of the oceans where he may be celebrating on a boat, spilling champagne in it, but it's the same waters that brought the slaves from Africa to America. Lyrically, Jay did his thing, some of my favourite lines being "Silk and fleeces, lay on my Jesus / Oh my god, I hope y'all don't get see/sea sick" and "The oil spill that BP ain't clean up". Really is to many to list. And of course, Frank Ocean on the hook really killed it. One of his best vocal performances to. Definitely one of my favorites on the album. "F.U.T.W". "Just let me be great!" Awesome song, love the beat, the hook, and of course, Jay tops it off with three great verses. Lot of quotables like "Martin had a dream, Hov got a team" and one of the best ways to describe Jay, "Lil' bastard boy, basking on top!" Basically saying he made it to a point that no one wanted him to be at, and all they can do it stay mad as Jay wins.

"Somewhereinamerica" Produced by Hit-Boy, who really just produces greatness after greatness when he links with either Jay or Kanye. "Shout out to old jews and old rules!" Jay's verses on this are great! Again, many quotables, one of my favourites being "When I was talking Instagram, last thing you wanted, was your picture snapped." And the "Miley Cyrus is till twerking" line which sounded kind of stupid to begin with, but when you remember this is JAY Z, and it has multiple meanings, it doesn't sound as dumb. "Crown" is the next song, and really there isn't much to say. It is the best song to use the Sizzla song, which has been used in Ja Rule and 50 Cent songs. The beat by Travi$ Scott is nice and Jay came correct lyrically. I may be getting repetitive, but honestly, there hasn't been one single bad song on the album, and we're 8 songs in, and this isn't going to end soon, because next is...

"Heaven". Again, Timbaland on the production, and really, he is BACK! From "The 20/20 Experience" to this album, this really is his year. Justin Timberlake is slyly on the hook. I really couldn't tell that was him until I heard Jay say it was. And of course, like the 8 songs before, Jay shows why he's one of the best, talking about religion, and spitting some very clever lines, like "(A)rm, (l)eg, (l)eg, (a)rm (h)ead,this is god body." I did not pick this up untill someone pointed it out on Twitter. Thank you sir! He also addresses the Illuminati rumors in this line, and basically pokes fun of it like he should, and even though I'll admit I did once believe in it, know I look back at myself as an idiot. Very good song, and continues the album's solid streak, which is nowhere near ending.

Those 9 songs are very much worth talking about, and although there is only 1 song on the rest of the album I don't care for, the rest are very good. Including the two Interludes "Versus" and "Beach Is Better". I love "Versus", but "Beach Is Better". FUCK! Why is this not longer?!? Damn you Mr. Carter! You have this amazing beat by Mike Will, with an awesome drop, you're spitting, then it just... ends! I really hope we get a full version because that 56 second song was better than Lil' Wayne's whole last album. Hell, it's better than some of J. Cole's last album. But I'll chill. "Part II (On the Run)" is definitely the best collaboration Mr. Carter and Mrs. Carter have done so far. Production is nice and Beyonce really killed it. Jay's verse is also good, the second I like better than the first, but overall a great song.

"BBC" is a good song, and looking at the names on the song, you'd expect it to be, with names ranging from Nas, Justin Timberlake, Timbaland, Beyonce, Pharrell and Swizz Beatz. I really like the beat from Pharrell, and Jay and Nas definitely do well. It's really just a fun song, and you can tell that they were having fun making this, I'd really love to see a video for this. Even Swizz Beatz is tolerable on it! The thing is though, with those names, I really expected this massive epic song, and I didn't get that. I still like the song, and that's probably my fault, but with those names I was expecting a song greater than this. Nevertheless, I really enjoy it, and I hope it makes it as a single eventually.

"JAY Z Blue". Jay hasn't really dedicated a song to his daughter Blue Ivy since the song "Glory" which he released after her birth. I really like that song, but I like this even more. It's Jay talking about his parenthood struggles and hopes that he can be a good father and provide what he never got growing up for his daughter. As Jay puts it: "It's the paranoia of not being a great dad." I really like the beat, especially the flip at the end. It's not my favorite on the album, but it'll definitely get some spins.

Now, if I had to pick my least favorite song on the album, it would be this. "La Familia". Even then, I still kind of enjoy it. I really like the "ready for that war, ready for that war, ready! / You ain't ready yo, you radio, you ain't really radio" part, and the little Wayne diss: "niggas wanna kidnap wifey, good luck with bruh!", but overall it's just Jay's spin on the typical rap song, just with JAY Z level bragging. And honestly, it is a fun song, but I could've done without it.

Now on to the final song, "Nickles and Dimes". A very strong and personal way to end the album, from the Gonjasufi sample on the hook, and Jay's verses. He discusses "survivors guilt", and how he handles his money regarding charity, and he handles these topics very well. I really like the line "Sometimes I feel, survivors guilt / I gave some money to this guy he got high as hell". This shows that he could give money to people, but he could contribute to there problem, which he conveys on the next line. Great song, and great way to end the album.

Overall: Timbaland said this as a good album. but I disagree, this is a great album. I'd say it's easily his best since he came back from retirement in 2006, and shows a very mature and grown JAY Z. It shows he's not lost his touch after almost 20 years in the game, he is still the best. I really love this album, and it's easily one of my favorite albums of 2013, I'd easily give this a 9/10. Now if only he made a full version of "Beach is Better"...

This has been my review of "Magna Carta... Holy Grail", and although you may disagree, I don't care, it's my opinion.


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