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Mixed or average reviews- based on 265 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 54 out of 265

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  1. Jul 5, 2013
    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 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 Throughout the album, he tries to do his best Kanye impression, juxtaposing luxury with historical references, African American rights, and adversity to fame.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
  2. Jul 5, 2013
    Overall, a colossal disappointment. I enjoyed Jay's last album, Empire State of Mind, and his duo with Kanye West "Watch The Throne. It had been about 4 years since Jay Z's last solo album, so naturally I was very hyped for this. Also, there were all those galaxy promotions and videos that gave inside looks on the album, and it sounded very soulful and personal. But then, (after a ridiculous, unprofessional delay) I head MCHG. I listened to all of it while working out today and didn't really like too much of it. There were a few tracks that were fairly decent, but overall, this was a true disappointment. If you're into buying music, by the tracks Holy Grail, Tom Ford, Jay Z Blue, Picasso Bay, and if you have some to spare, Oceans. Maybe this album is good, and maybe the outstanding Yeezus(quotation forthcoming) is just making me really harsh on this. But it's just not up to Hov's standards, and there is not one track on here that I will put on a playlist or into heavy rotation. If you're looking for good rap albums that dropped this year, I recommend Yeezus by Kanye, and Born Sinner by J. Cole. I'm hoping that when this album goes wide on tuesday that the averages stay green, because there was a clear amount of effort put into this record, but it's just not for me. In terms of Jay Z, wait for the reported Watch The Throne II. Expand
  3. Jul 17, 2013
    Is it bad that a collaborator is better than the actual artist? Yeah, that's what I though. When the over-powering flair of Justin Timberlake and Frank Ocean dominate Jay-Z's minuscule talent, you know there isn't much to look at. On Jay-Z's most recent effort, he tries to pull out all the stops, making his album comparable to the likes of Kanye West's Yeezus. I'm sorry my friend, you missed the mark by about a mile. To be honest, I couldn't even listen to the album completely. It lacks creativity, originality, and the ability to actually sound good.

    The first track, "Holy Grail (feat. Justin Timberlake)" is a mixed bag. Seriously, who becomes so desperate that they need Courtney Love's permission to use Nirvana lyrics? You can't write anything yourself? I'm sorry, but if you borrow the chorus from "Smells Like Teen Spirit", you've hit rock bottom. Plus, Justin Timberlake runs circles around Jay-Z. At first, I thought the song was a new Timberlake song. The rest of the album drips with self-loathing and spite. It's almost unbearable to continue your listening experience. I could go on and on criticising the crap out of the talentless shell of a man, but I don't want to put you through all that.

    I will leave you with one final comment. Magna Carta... Holy Grail is my least favourite album of 2013 so far. It has nothing good about it. From the shady lyrics to the repetitive, overplayed beats, Jay-Z has become the anti-Yeezus.
  4. Jul 8, 2013
    Anyone who says that this album is good doesn't know anything about music and is a jackass, I'm so fed up with Jay-Z believing that he's so damn original and cool when his music shows that he lacks talent and common sense, this album is as boring and crappy just as Justin Timberlake 20/20, the album doesn't have any cool song none fo them are listenable. It's waste fo money and more important it's a waste fo time listen to it. Expand
  5. Jul 9, 2013
    It's just not very good. I keep seeing mentions of how this was knocked out in 2 weeks. Yeah, you can tell when you listen to it. It's not nearly on par with any of his previous work, sounds half hearted, and frankly the content is just dull and boring.

    Give me more Shad please.
  6. Jul 5, 2013
    An overrated album with nothing special. Songs are garbage. Lyrics are pathetic. The man has no talent and needs to learn how to rap. Not worth buying.
  7. Jul 22, 2013
    T of Toilette, R of Rigg, A of Astonish, S of Sucker and H of Horrible. This album is a perfect T-R-A-S-H, fans shoulda deal with it. Kiss kiss I'm leavin'.
  8. Jul 7, 2013
    The beats are semi decent, but the lyrics are some of the dumbest Hov' has ever done. My favorite song has to be the Holy Grail one specifically because of JT who kills it. However Jigga still fails to even try to one up any of the features on this. This would be an okay album, but I will not accept this from an artist who released The Blueprint and Reasonable Doubt.
  9. Nov 20, 2013
    Seeing as Jay Z is one of the supposed legends in rap, then I expect him to come up with something a little better than this. All it seems he has done here is have a mid-life crisis and come up with a rash, half-hearted attempt to remain a rap superstar, and keep his name on the map.

    Well, in my opinion, I think that Jay should concentrate more now on being a father rather than being a
    rapper, as, unlike Nas' latest release (which was innovative, creative, and above all GOOD), MCHG is full of trap-style, 'modern' club beats, with Jay spitting bars that do nothing but drone on and make him sound like someone who has gained perhaps a little too much fame.

    Some of the tracks are bearable, notable ones being 'Holy Grail' and 'Part 2 (On the Run)'. However, the credit for this should go to the featuring artists (Justin Timberlake and Beyonce) who add a little melody and style to what can only be called a..well..boring album.

    All in all, if Jay Z really does want to stay in the game, then he really needs to go back to his old self and take a leaf out of Nas' book who is still releasing incredible music 19 years after his debut. He needs to make something blueprint-esque, and modernise it, rather than this obvious pull for mainstream success and attention that'll only alienate long term fans that waited painfully for a new release from their favourite rapper, only for him to slap them in the face and practically insult them after years of loyalty.

    I am very disappointed.
  10. Jul 10, 2013
    I think it's time for Jay-z to retire. The lyrics are boring and the only thing worth listening on this album are the beats and I rather hear some other rapper on them. But it's not suprising that Jay-z is so uninteresting lately. It's not possible to release an album almost every year and stay equally interesting and inspiring. I think he should've stopped at american gangster, or even the black album. Expand
  11. Aug 1, 2013
    Oh how the mighty have fallen. By far jayz worst album. I couldn't even get through it. All you jayz fans who give this a good album rating need to relisten to reasonable doubt and the blueprint and remember jay at his finest moments. Because there is one or two songs that don't make me wanna vomit ill give it a one
  12. Jul 25, 2013
    In Magna Carta Holy Grail, Jay-Z demonstrates his lack of inspiration now after more than 15 years of career. The production of this album (Timbaland) is trivial and confusing. PLEASE save Jay-Z from himself.
  13. Jul 20, 2013
    Great instrumentals, moderately good lyrics here and there, he even snapped couple times that got me fired up but to be honest, overall, pretty disappointed in his style these days, all the rappers really.. same theme of being greater than whoever's under em, being compared to symbolic/iconic people, reference to other names, talks about how hes a king and y'all are his slaves, like, who the enjoys listening to that context. Real talk. I want more story driven hip hop, not the manufactured pieces, that the corporate heads plan up at the offices. I listened to every song with 100% focus and I maybe found 2 songs I could find myself listening to later, but is this what I should be getting used to over and over as far as rap goes? Smh. Expand
  14. Aug 1, 2013
    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.
  15. Sep 20, 2013
    This ablum sucks to me. I dont know it doesnt seem like Jay-Z. Some of songs on this album sound like he wants to sound like these young rappers out here that all use the same flow. Made the mistake of buying this album twice CD and Playstore. Wish i can get a refund. Only Four songs on the album are worth the time to listen to.
  16. Jul 11, 2013
    Disappointing. A set back in some of the growth he has shown lyrically. You're happily married, have a beautiful baby daughter, and are in your mid-40s. Why are you still so concerned with material boasts?
  17. Jul 19, 2013
    The album producers are widely recognized. but this time fail to capture the public, is a bad album, I'm definitely with The Blue Print 3.I think the next time they will need to do much more
  18. Nov 3, 2013
    I'm a fan of jay z. I loved watch the throne which he did with fellow friend Kanye west. I was anticipating Magna Carta because of this. The first single holy grail I was impressed me. I loved Justin's performance. And I Also loved the beats. But the problem with the album is that I feel jay z's writing and the beats of this album come across tired and lazy. A lot of Timbaland and mike will made it overflow this album as well. The three stand outs are holy grail, beach is better which is a creative song only at 55 seconds, and Picasso Baby. The three worst songs are fu** with me you know I got it a terrible verse with Rick Ross, la familia is lazy and boring, and part 2 on the run beyonces voice is nice but god that song is a snooze fest. Other songs like Tom ford and heaven are only ok. So unfortunately jay Z does not bring us the rap album of the year Expand
  19. Jan 16, 2014
    Take a handful of decent instrumentals, and basically brag about the buttload of money you have for an album. Welcome to Magna Carta Holy Grail.
    Jay-Z has made up for the materialism of his albums on past projects by cutting the filler out of his raps, collaborating with high quality artists, and throwing in a few personal tracks. Everything I just mentioned, is absent from MGHG. 90%
    of the rap is filler, including "HUH!" after every line to aid his lazy flows. He collaborated with Rick Ross (talentless fraud) on perhaps the most pitiful song he has ever made. "Jay Z Blue", his attempt at being personal, features desparate BIG samples thrown in at complete random. Not to mention he sounds like a whiny rich parent who needs, "at least three weeks in the hamptons" and therefore the baby is a problem (boo hoo)! La Familia could be mistaken for 2 Chainz.

    This album, if it weren't by Jay, would be a career wrecker.
  20. Jan 10, 2014
    Before MCHG had hit the shelves, I viewed a trailer which previewed the production of the album and I was blown away by how the album was going to sound. I was definitely hyped. After I had heard the album, I felt like the trailer ruined the album for me. Much like how Kanye West released the best tracks of Cruel Summer. Holy Grail was the intro song which I was looking forward to the most but I felt like it was Justin Timberlake's song. I was hoping it'd be an aggression filled banger but it was a story-telling journey with a hard beat. The album did redeem itself with bangers like Tom Ford, BBC and Picasso but overall, the album was filled with corporate theme songs about wealth and making business. The album was a sellout.. and I mean it by selling out to what the non-Jay Z fans wanted. Expand
  21. Jul 13, 2014
    By this time in Jay-Z's career, one can without listening, predict the substance of his new efforts - mindless braggadocio constantly reminding us of his wealth and success. Such has been the case for his last two releases. At least throughout Watch the Throne, Kanye had managed to keep some semblance of sense and intelligence.

    Similar to The Blueprint 3, MCHG has (arguably) been
    "saved" by its production, this time from Timbaland et al. - "Somewhereinamerica", "Nickles and Dimes" and "F*ckWithMeYouKnowIGotIt" stand out especially. By and large, Jay (perhaps unknowingly) defaces well-engineered instrumentals with his dire lyricism. Nonsensical masterpieces abound: "Twerk, Miley Twerk", and my personal favourite: "I'm on the ocean/I'm in heaven. Yacht! Ocean's 11!". Even his guests fail to mend anything; Rick Ross proudly exclaims: "I just landed in Europe n*gga"; whereabouts would that be Rick? Even the venerable Frank Ocean has his blunders.

    Realistically, Jay-Z is no longer in his prime, but he continues (perhaps due to his arrogance) to make incoherent and disjointed records. Ultimately, even the production fails to illuminate a path leading out of the album's confusion. Indeed, Magna Carta has 99 problems, but the beats ain't one. C[+]
  22. Aug 4, 2014
    Easily the most disappointing rap release of the past decade. Jay-Z may have not always been as innovative as artists like Kanye, but he knew how to throw together a solid beat, and back it with his signature flow. Everything he tries on this album pretty much falls completely flat.

Mixed or average reviews - based on 42 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 42
  2. Negative: 2 out of 42
  1. Dec 19, 2013
    Despite lackluster showings on the title track, and the anti-climactic first two verses of "Picasso Baby," a track presence that has stood the test of time for almost two decades eventually shines though. The second half of the aforementioned "Picasso Baby" shows off Jay-Z at his peak. [Sep 2013, p.97]
  2. Aug 20, 2013
    Magna Carta... Holy Grail isn't a dreadful record but it's a redundant one. [Sep 2013, p.103]
  3. 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.