Magna Carta Holy Grail Image
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60

Mixed or average reviews - based on 42 Critics What's this?

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6.0

Mixed or average reviews- based on 356 Ratings

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  • Summary: The rapper's 12th studio album (released five days early to Samsung mobile device owners via an app) features Rick Ross, Justin Timberlake, Beyonce Knowles, and Frank Ocean, with production from Timbaland, Jerome "J-Roc" Harmon, and others.
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Top Track

Holy Grail
You take the clothes off my back And I let you You steal the food right out of my mouth And I watch you eat it I still don't know why Why I love you... See the rest of the song lyrics
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 42
  2. Negative: 2 out of 42
  1. Give it up to the one where Beyonce pledges gangsta devotion and, best of all, the one where the "billionaire" (he says) looks back at the betrayals of his own departed head of family with something that feels like dread.
  2. Jul 6, 2013
    80
    Jay-Z co-opts and redefines current trends to reassert his ongoing cultural potency.
  3. 70
    It's inevitable that the usual litany of labels and put-downs dominates Jay-Z's concerns; Shawn Carter's wraps-to-riches story is the meta-narrative to all his albums and only fades a little in the umpteenth retelling. ... [But] it's the varied production – the sinuous work of Timbaland, in the main--that really elevates Magna Carta Holy Grail beyond the usual Jay-Z document.
  4. Jul 8, 2013
    60
    Running to an hour long, Magna Carta becomes exhausting, bumping familiar motifs with such frequency that, as the album nears its close, the senses feel entirely numbed.
  5. 58
    I rank this album alongside Kingdom Come, which in a way was a transitional album toward the superior Blueprint III. Like others, I see (perhaps wistfully so) MCHG operating as a sort of stopgap until he releases something great, like a Blueprint IV.
  6. Jul 6, 2013
    50
    This isn't Watch the Throne, full of rich and weighty contributions from a man who is still enormously talented. It's rap music as a transaction, with a host of stars and hip names wrangled together to convince you it's not.
  7. 20
    Magna Carta’s a mess, and not even an entertaining one--it’s simply a dull record by someone who’s in deep danger of going down as a dull human being.

See all 42 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 83
  2. Negative: 14 out of 83
  1. Jul 6, 2013
    10
    Genious! The LyricalKing of rap strikes again. Great melodier on nearly every track. He is able to use other great artists in an amazing way.Genious! The LyricalKing of rap strikes again. Great melodier on nearly every track. He is able to use other great artists in an amazing way. Personally I would put in a top 3 of his studio albums together with reasonable doubt and The blueprint. Expand
  2. Jul 6, 2013
    9
    Jay through out this entire album is telling us he's the "king", and rightly so. We're gonna need to come up with some sort of Magna Carta toJay through out this entire album is telling us he's the "king", and rightly so. We're gonna need to come up with some sort of Magna Carta to stop him from putting a beating on everyone in the game as he sips from his holy grail. Expand
  3. Jul 7, 2013
    8
    This album should be getting more love than it is. Even though I don't think it is a great album, I think it is an important one for Jay-Z'sThis album should be getting more love than it is. Even though I don't think it is a great album, I think it is an important one for Jay-Z's career and hip hop in general. The production and sound takes you back a little bit and even shows some new possibilities. This is honestly the best produced album I've heard in a while, but the lyrics just couldn't take it to that next level. The lyrics aren't great by any means, but they have FEW great MOMENTS and are good enough to keep this album at that important status in hip hop history. The features work for the most part. This album is a major improvement upon his previous album "Watch The Throne" that he made alongside Kanye. Magna Carta Holy Grail is important for multiple reasons. One for Jay-Z, because I think he maxed out his ability to put out a significantly good album at the perfect time in his career. He's rapped 17 years and put out 15 albums, 12 solo and 3 tandem albums which is just about the maximum that any artist should really do. Not to mention he's 43. And two for hip hop, because this album sonically almost brings hip hop full circle, lyrically seems to attempt to stay in touch with typical mainstream fans taste, which is the only negative about this album, while re-introducing an old-school style/theme and both expand ever so slightly to again introduce new ideas, and is a last contribution/gift to hip hop to point the genre in the right direction... Or at least it should be. Expand
  4. Jul 5, 2013
    6
    Disappointing overall, though still good and very much all over the place. Songs such as "Picasso Bay" (until the beat change), "Tom Ford",Disappointing overall, though still good and very much all over the place. Songs such as "Picasso Bay" (until the beat change), "Tom Ford", "BBC", and "La Familia", were horrible. There were songs with great hooks (which were also my favorite songs) such as "Oceans" and "Heaven", and then songs with horrible hooks such as "FUTW", though the song was still good. The beats were great throughout, especially on songs such as "F***WithMeYouKnowIGotIt" and "Crown", though the former is not that great as a song and the latter is on of the best. In addition, Jay got upstaged big time by Justin Timberlake on "Holy Grail" and Beyonce on "Part II (On the Run)". It's a good album, but likely one without lasting power. Expand
  5. Jul 8, 2013
    5
    I am a huge Jay-Z fan and have found him as one of the few hip hop artists not to fall off. However I did not care for Blueprint 3 nor did II am a huge Jay-Z fan and have found him as one of the few hip hop artists not to fall off. However I did not care for Blueprint 3 nor did I care for Kingdom Come, though he did have some good tracks on both. Same thing with Magna Carta Holy Grail. There are some great tracks (i.e.Holy Grail & Crown) and some awful tracks (i.e. F*ckWithMeYouKnowIGotIt & Part II On the Run). So with most recent Jay-Z albums, you may be better off downloading half individually than downloading the entire album from iTunes. Hope this helps. Expand
  6. Jul 5, 2013
    4
    I had high hopes for MCHG, especially after a load of my favorite producers popped up on the commercials (and because this was going to be theI had high hopes for MCHG, especially after a load of my favorite producers popped up on the commercials (and because this was going to be the next step in Timbaland's comeback). However the weak link, unfortunately, was Jay Z. For every clever line, he has a clunky and inane one to follow it. His attempt to juxtapose his life on the streets with his current situation comes with an awkward reference to Tumblr. On Picasso Baby, he composes a laundry list of all the artists he knows, but ends by claiming he is the "modern day Pablo.... Picasso Baby" in case listeners weren't sure what the song title meant. Moments like this insult the listeners' intelligence and his awkward appropriation of other songs, like REM's Losing My Religion and Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit don't fit at all in the songs they appear on. Furthermore, he is thoroughly outclassed by his featured peers. Even Justin Timberlake doing his best Bruno Mars impression on album opener Holy Grail is more interesting than Jay's verses. Rick Ross seems to be the leading artist on as Jay doesn't appear until more than halfway through the song. Even then, Ross sounds confident with his lines, whereas Jay Z's stuttering, awkward flow give him the appearance of being timid and unsure. On the highly anticipated BBC, Jay's verse is lost in the mix of a multitude of featuring artists. Other times, Jay just sounds bland. Throughout the album, he tries to do his best Kanye impression, juxtaposing luxury with historical references, African American rights, and adversity to fame. However these sound like imitations and his analogies fall flat. On Oceans, he references slavery against the backdrop of a yacht party, but the execution is less powerful than WTT's No Church in the Wild or Kanye's Diamonds from Sierre Leone. In the end, MCHG is stuck in the middle, more experimental, but less meaningful and powerful than past efforts. At its most emotional, on Jay Z Blue, the verses sound like a midlife crisis, rather than a pouring out of emotions. In the end, the good, if not somewhat unremarkable production save the album. But this is not the gathering of talent that we were led to believe it would be from the advertisements. Rather, just like the Samsung affair itself, this album is a business transaction, not a labor of love. Expand
  7. Aug 1, 2013
    0
    Ok. The first few songs were listenable. Then he kept the same verse scheme. "blah blah (hustler) blah...(pause)...blah blah blah-blah"Ok. The first few songs were listenable. Then he kept the same verse scheme. "blah blah (hustler) blah...(pause)...blah blah blah-blah" through the whole album. He even had Nas do it for a few bars. It was bad...real bad. Expand

See all 83 User Reviews