FULL-COURT PRESS: Jay-Z fails to capitalize with "Magna Carta"

The Daily News

Jay-Z silently stirs a lot of pots.

Few others get to go home to Beyonce, claim the title of Kevin Durant’s agent and produce their own clothing lines.  

Mr. Shawn Carter certainly does all of those, but he wasn’t silent about much in his new album “Magna Carta Holy Grail.” 

The first track on the album is “Holy Grail” featuring Justin Timberlake, who sings a short verse and the hook. Solid production is evident just one minute into the song. 

After Timberlake’s hook, the beat drops, laying foundation for a smooth verse. Jay-Z provides an interesting back-and-forth take on the celebrity lifestyle. 

“Enough is enough, I’m calling this off. Who the f*** I’m kidding though. I’m getting high, sitting low,” he says.  

Jay-Z continues with “this fame hurts, but this chain works.” 

Not that any of his listeners, save for maybe his counterpart Kanye West, could connect with those lines. Either way, the emotion and semi-relatable lyrics drop off pretty harshly from here.   

The next few tracks are just Jay-Z boasting his big bucks and lavish lifestyle. Not to mention his lovely wife and their young daughter Blue Ivy, who he seems to be quite fond of. 

After stating that he wants to put a “Picasso” in his “casa,” Jay-Z drops a line giving Ivy permission to “lean on” the artwork. 

Thanks, dad. 

The next song, “Tom Ford” is frustrating. A three-minute promotion of Ford’s high-end fashion line does little for the album. 

Timberlake has collaborated with Ford in the past to produce his own line of evening wear, shoes and accessories (“Suit and Tie,” anyone?). To me, the song was obnoxious and hard to digest. 

That trend continues when Rick Ross jumps in on the next track. Ross’ very basic hook, paired with a redundant verse, made for a poor listening experience. 

Still though, to this point the album is very well produced. Maybe, if you’re a fan of Ross it’ll be possible to overlook his poor rapping. If so, you’ll enjoy a very aesthetically pleasing beat. 

This isn’t the theme throughout the entire album though. “Oceans” provides a refreshing contrast between Jay-Z and featured artist Frank Ocean. 

Another song that separated itself from self-promoting tracks talking about signing Durant and dissing Lil Wayne is “Jay Z Blue.”

Jay Z shows his desire to have a good relationship with his daughter as she continues to grow. He also mentions the life that he led growing up without a father. 

“Looking in your eyes is like a mirror, have to face my fears,” he said. “Father never taught me how to be a father, treat a mother. I don’t want to have to just repeat another leave another.” 

A second emotional look in to Jay-Z’s life kept me interested in the back half of the album. 

It wasn’t enough though. 

A collection of songs that discuss everything from his collection of cars (the Diablo, Rolls-Royce, Bugatti and don’t forget his Maybach) to the size of his “castle” kept me at bay. 

Overall, a well-produced album that Jay-Z failed to capitalize on. 

Not literally of course. He made it apparent that he’s doing just fine in the area of personal capital.   




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