Magna Carta Holy Grail

User Score
6.0

Mixed or average reviews- based on 338 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 61 out of 338
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  1. Jul 10, 2013
    5
    For anybody else this might be a great album, but let's face it, the bar is raised for Jay-Z, a man who has put out some of the greatest hip hop albums of all time. Unfortunately Magna Carta doesn't live up to the highs of Jay-Z's career. Magna Carta is frankly too long. Jay has little new or interesting to say. There's only so many times I need to hear him rap about being married toFor anybody else this might be a great album, but let's face it, the bar is raised for Jay-Z, a man who has put out some of the greatest hip hop albums of all time. Unfortunately Magna Carta doesn't live up to the highs of Jay-Z's career. Magna Carta is frankly too long. Jay has little new or interesting to say. There's only so many times I need to hear him rap about being married to Beyonce or his new side gig representing Robinson Cano. Halfway through the album it just becomes a boring slog. Maybe we'll get lucky and Dangermouse can mix it with Sgt. Peppers or something. Otherwise this is a bore and not worth paying for. Expand
  2. Jul 5, 2013
    7
    This album is great but its not his best album. The album starts off with an great track. Jay z is an intelligent artist that is also an gifted lyricist. The commercials for this album was great. I like the album but i did expected much more from it, i expected the best jay z album when i watched the commericial from this album.

    The thing that i love about the album is the guest
    This album is great but its not his best album. The album starts off with an great track. Jay z is an intelligent artist that is also an gifted lyricist. The commercials for this album was great. I like the album but i did expected much more from it, i expected the best jay z album when i watched the commericial from this album.

    The thing that i love about the album is the guest apperance is less than your average hip hop album. Most albums have a ton of guess artist on it but this album doesnt which is a step up from his previous album "the blueprint 3"

    If you are a jay z fan or a fan of hip hop you should def buy this album. I am a hip hop fan and a jay z fan so i did enjoy this album but its not outstanding or impress me in anyway.
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  3. Jul 8, 2013
    10
    Ok, so I am a huge fan of true (and rare) hip hop Artists. Jay-Z & Kanye West are my personal favourites of all time and I've been their fan since the turn of the century, so I am biased like hell and take notice of all work done by them together or separately. But even though, I can admit that Jigga had his musical bumps along the way, some are obvious like "Kingdom Come", which was wayOk, so I am a huge fan of true (and rare) hip hop Artists. Jay-Z & Kanye West are my personal favourites of all time and I've been their fan since the turn of the century, so I am biased like hell and take notice of all work done by them together or separately. But even though, I can admit that Jigga had his musical bumps along the way, some are obvious like "Kingdom Come", which was way below par on every level, or "Blueprint 2" (which I liked, really, but it was too light & pop for his own standarts). Now Jay at his highest was at early works of "Blueprint" & "Reasonable Doubt", then the "Black Album" and his true comeback work of "American Gangster", which is an instant classic, by my taste. Now this here album "Magna Carta..." may not be "instant", but still I rate high enough to name it a classic too. After downloading it on 4th of July, I just cannot get enough of it, every song opens up something different with every other listen. So much context, so much themes are brought up (with usual bravado and all that what is associated with hip hop, ofcource), be it fame, religion, love, parenthood, politics... Something we can all relate and/or aspire to. I love this album and would recommend it to every hip hop fan. P.S. give "Yeezus" a try too... you never heard anything like it. Madly interesting and provocative. Expand
  4. Jul 12, 2013
    8
    This album really got panned and I think it's undeserved. The production is stellar and the songs themselves are well put together. The album is well sequenced and I enjoy listening to it. I guess a lot of people are griping about the lyrics and delivery and I'll admit those are the weaker points of the album but they aren't awful and IMO they don't drag the record down too much. I wasThis album really got panned and I think it's undeserved. The production is stellar and the songs themselves are well put together. The album is well sequenced and I enjoy listening to it. I guess a lot of people are griping about the lyrics and delivery and I'll admit those are the weaker points of the album but they aren't awful and IMO they don't drag the record down too much. I was expecting better given all the hype but it's still a solid effort. Expand
  5. 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 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 awkwardI 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
  6. 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 to stop him from putting a beating on everyone in the game as he sips from his holy grail.
  7. Jul 9, 2013
    3
    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.
  8. N10
    Jul 13, 2013
    6
    I'm a Jay fan but this.. was just not what I expected from all the trailers. It seemed all epic and filled with stuff to love. Lyrically and flow wise it's really weak at times coming from Jay, feels often too lazy.

    To be honest, Hov's title as the greatest as many claims seems to have split, he's lost it. Lyrically Jay shine's on "Picasso Baby" and "Oceans" which both are probably my
    I'm a Jay fan but this.. was just not what I expected from all the trailers. It seemed all epic and filled with stuff to love. Lyrically and flow wise it's really weak at times coming from Jay, feels often too lazy.

    To be honest, Hov's title as the greatest as many claims seems to have split, he's lost it. Lyrically Jay shine's on "Picasso Baby" and "Oceans" which both are probably my favorites from the project.
    The beats are an A+, the production team did an outstanding job to this, and could actually see Timbaland or Pharell take home a grammy for this years work.
    I really enjoyed tracks like the opening one "Holy Grail", "FUTW", "Crown", "Part II" and the massive track filled with featues "BBC". Some of these I found great, but a shame that the tracks I really loved like "Versus" and "Beach Is Better" only run around 30-60 seconds. Got to say, "Somewhereinamerica" was a funny ass song.

    Overall, I was dissapointend on MCHG. Tough it had great tracks, the delievery from Jay-Z just did'nt seem matching up to his earlier works or even much released in the recent time of Hip Hop.
    Light three out of five, thank the men behind the music Hov rapped over!
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  9. Jul 17, 2013
    1
    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, youIs 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.
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  10. Jul 6, 2013
    5
    I liked the songs until the 'rapping' part started. Lyrics are much worse than Yeezus', for instance. The instrumentals (beats?) are nice, but easily forgettable. Yet this is my favourite Jay-Z album. I really didn't enjoy the previous ones.

    Magna Carta Holy Grail is worth a listen, but I wouldn't listen to it again.
  11. Aug 1, 2013
    1
    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
    4
    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 8, 2013
    7
    This album was somewhat a huge disappointment. When i saw all the promotional videos and stuff on youtube i was expecting something beyond incredible. The album's production is incredible. The beats are something that you could listen to over and over. The lyrics however are beyond weak. Especially for someone as amazing as Jay-Z. This album is by far his worst in my opinion. I listenedThis album was somewhat a huge disappointment. When i saw all the promotional videos and stuff on youtube i was expecting something beyond incredible. The album's production is incredible. The beats are something that you could listen to over and over. The lyrics however are beyond weak. Especially for someone as amazing as Jay-Z. This album is by far his worst in my opinion. I listened to it a couple of times and thats it. It has already become bland. Expand
  14. Jul 31, 2013
    7
    The entire album is a grower with a couple of classic tunes, but record itself is miles away from the consistent richness of his previous albums.
    Buy Tom Ford, Nickels and Dimes on iTunes, don't waste your money on the album.
  15. Jul 6, 2013
    6
    I think its better than Kanye's new one. Not all the tracks work, but I love BBC. Hearing Jay and Nas was easily the biggest highlight of the album for me. Production is good but it just seemed like the album was too hit and miss. Makes sense Timberlake is on it since Jay is touring with him this summer (!?!).

    Pros some hot tracks, some quest features work (Frank Ocean, Nas) Cons
    I think its better than Kanye's new one. Not all the tracks work, but I love BBC. Hearing Jay and Nas was easily the biggest highlight of the album for me. Production is good but it just seemed like the album was too hit and miss. Makes sense Timberlake is on it since Jay is touring with him this summer (!?!).

    Pros some hot tracks, some quest features work (Frank Ocean, Nas)
    Cons album feels like there is a bit too much filler. Sounds at times like Jay is going through the motions (doesn't he have some sports agent stuff to do?!?). Some features don't work (Rick Ross)
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  16. Jul 7, 2013
    8
    THis is not a classic like his first albums and i do not think as lyrically tight as watch the throne. But, I do like the stetch JayZ seemed to make this album sound different than the others-and different from most things out. The production perfectly fits his lyrical style on almost every track. Although S Beatz and Timbo are not my favorite producers (i.e. same sound EVERYTIME) evenTHis is not a classic like his first albums and i do not think as lyrically tight as watch the throne. But, I do like the stetch JayZ seemed to make this album sound different than the others-and different from most things out. The production perfectly fits his lyrical style on almost every track. Although S Beatz and Timbo are not my favorite producers (i.e. same sound EVERYTIME) even their tracks were agreeable. Expand
  17. 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", "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 greatDisappointing 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
  18. Dec 27, 2013
    6
    Upon first listen of MCHG, I was thoroughly refreshed by the refined, acclimated, modern sound of it. The more and more I listened though, the more and more disappointed I became with his dull, uninspired lyrics. Hov's lyrical dexterity was one of the characteristics that made him a legend to begin with and this album is completely bereft of any lyrical substance at all, except on a fewUpon first listen of MCHG, I was thoroughly refreshed by the refined, acclimated, modern sound of it. The more and more I listened though, the more and more disappointed I became with his dull, uninspired lyrics. Hov's lyrical dexterity was one of the characteristics that made him a legend to begin with and this album is completely bereft of any lyrical substance at all, except on a few stand out tracks; "Heaven", "Oceans", "Jay-Z Blue", and "Nickles and Dimes". Not that I can't admire the man Sean Carter has built himself to be, but he says a whole lot of nothing and does a whole lot of bragging. Which is something Jay-Z is definitely above, but unfortunately he conforms to the norms of mainstream rap nowadays. The production is mostly extravagant and very energetic but again, what Hov is saying doesn't necessarily do his wise production choices any justice. It's an enjoyable album for the lazy listener, but for a Jay-Z fan, it's a disappointing piece of work and it unfortunately raises the question of when will he finally put down the pen and pad. Expand
  19. 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 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 withI 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
  20. Jan 27, 2014
    7
    Between all the ups and downs in Jay Z’s career, his latest release, "Magna Carta… Holy Grail", is about in the middle and therefore, it’s only fitting that the rapper himself named it the sixth-best of his twelve solo albums (although I’d actually put it up one position, since I wasn’t the biggest fan of Vol. 2). Stylistically, the now unhyphenated Jay Z doesn’t notably change, but ratherBetween all the ups and downs in Jay Z’s career, his latest release, "Magna Carta… Holy Grail", is about in the middle and therefore, it’s only fitting that the rapper himself named it the sixth-best of his twelve solo albums (although I’d actually put it up one position, since I wasn’t the biggest fan of Vol. 2). Stylistically, the now unhyphenated Jay Z doesn’t notably change, but rather puts all his different musical experiments – that aren’t all too much, admittedly – in a blender, garnishing it with a newly gained father point-of-view, as his first child Blue Ivy was born a year and a half before "MCHG" dropped and it is his first album since then. What that means for the 16 tracks on the album is that there is a fair share of fine rapping and reasonably meaningful lyrics and a smaller portion of outstanding compositions in all levels. This smaller portion consists of the elaborately sophisticated Frank Ocean collaboration "Oceans" and the more old-school while still thought-evoking "Heaven", Jay Z’s first take, if I’m not forgetting anything, on religion. That isn’t to say that the rest of the LP are disposable goods, but that these two songs are some of his all-time best and deserve multiple listens. Though the prevailing mediocrity isn’t exactly a positive attribute for an album, the lacking of a bad song is – something rather rare on a Jay Z album. The result of all of this is an entertaining hour of well-made hip hop and an assurance that Shawn Carter is still not to be counted out of the rap game. Expand
  21. Jul 22, 2013
    0
    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'.
  22. Jul 7, 2013
    7
    I'm not a big fan of Jay-Z, I only know his big hits and I listened to the Watch The Throne collaboration with Kanye West so in this review you're not going to read comparisons about his classic albums or Blueprint III.
    I enjoyed this album, just a little bit. It was a fun listen, and that's what this album is..fun.
    This album feels like Jay-Z is having as much fun as he did on Watch
    I'm not a big fan of Jay-Z, I only know his big hits and I listened to the Watch The Throne collaboration with Kanye West so in this review you're not going to read comparisons about his classic albums or Blueprint III.
    I enjoyed this album, just a little bit. It was a fun listen, and that's what this album is..fun.

    This album feels like Jay-Z is having as much fun as he did on Watch The Throne.
    It kind of gives me the same vibe I got from Kanye's latest LP "Yeezus" where the beats are stripped down, colorful but simple, and you get some aggressive braggadocios rhymes from the MC, except on Jay-Z's album it sounds like he's going harder with the multiple rhymes he's spitting out, but still not as egotistic and like Kanye.
    A more laid back version is what I'm trying to say.
    Lyrically it seems like Jay-Z is rapping from his *ick, with some Laugh Out Loud, unthoughtful lines but it does sound more comical then stupid. (There are just a few slick lines on this album)
    There are some songs where he's rapping outside his ego and is getting introspective like on Oceans, Jay-Z Blue, and Nickel's and Dimes, but that's basically it.
    If you're gonna be rapping about money, at least have a nasty flow and interesting production, and it is present here on the majority of the tracks. Like I said the production is very simple and beautiful but not as glamorous and expensive as Watch The Throne which is something I prefer because the production is not drowning the MC's bars. Picasso Baby is one of the more catchier tracks, same with Tom Ford, where it sounds like he's going hard, and he's making references to fashion designers/artists behind some really hard hitting simple beats, and towards the end of Picasso Baby it kind of reminds you of 99 Problems.
    My favorite track has to be Somewhere In America though. Not only is Jay-Z funny in this track but the beat is so awesome and has this contradictory kind of feel to it with the soft piano chords, and the quirky street horns, pianos smash at a certain point, but then violins fade in. It mashes so well with what Jay-Z is rapping about especially when he brings up the "Instragram, Miley Cyrus twerking" line which can be taken mostly in a funny way, but it has this underlining drug/corruption meaning.

    My only gripe is half of the hooks are just bland, not interesting, and some of Jay-Z's verses. The collabs did not do much for me, even with Frank Ocean on this, and I actually loved Justin Timberlake's singing, but like Justin Timberlake's "Suit and Tie" it kind of goes off beat with Jay-Z rapping.

    Overall, another one of those bump in the whip albums. Interesting production, some comical and persona's with Jay-Z's flow and rhymes. Take a listen.

    Recommended Tracks: Picasso Baby, Tom Ford, F.U.T.W., Somewhere In America, Nickels And Dimes
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  23. Jul 5, 2013
    4
    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 aOverall, 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
  24. Jul 20, 2013
    3
    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, whoGreat 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
  25. Jan 6, 2016
    6
    Magna Carta Holy Grail is a mediocre Jay Z album. Jay Z, for the most part, just rambles on about his wealth, and talks about "rich people problems." The album would be better served if Jay Z was spitting effective bars, but many lines were flat, uninspiring, and lazy. There is still some gems on the album like "Heaven", "Nickles and Dimes", "BBC", and the interludes. The productionMagna Carta Holy Grail is a mediocre Jay Z album. Jay Z, for the most part, just rambles on about his wealth, and talks about "rich people problems." The album would be better served if Jay Z was spitting effective bars, but many lines were flat, uninspiring, and lazy. There is still some gems on the album like "Heaven", "Nickles and Dimes", "BBC", and the interludes. The production salvages many of the songs that Jay Z under performs in, making the album better than it should be. Expand
  26. Aug 31, 2013
    8
    To say the least I'm confused as to why the user score is so low for this album. I'm far from a big Jay-Z fan, in fact I really didn't start getting into his music until The Black Album came out (not saying any of his albums before then aren't good). I think the problem people have with this album is that they expected a Reasonable Doubt or Blueprint type album and were extremelyTo say the least I'm confused as to why the user score is so low for this album. I'm far from a big Jay-Z fan, in fact I really didn't start getting into his music until The Black Album came out (not saying any of his albums before then aren't good). I think the problem people have with this album is that they expected a Reasonable Doubt or Blueprint type album and were extremely disappointed. My one question to people that thought this is why get your expectations so high? BP3 is easily in the bottom half of Jay's long catalog, after a lack luster effort why would you expect him to release an album of the caliber of BP1 or The Black Album? It just doesn't make sense to me.

    The production on this album is top notch. It's hypnotic, it's loud, it's aggressive, it's everything you want to hear from a Jay-Z album. The features are all excellent with the exception of Rick Ross (I'll get to him later). JT does an incredible job on Holy Grail delivering what I think is the best Hook in a hip hop song so far this year. Frank Ocean also delivers one of my favorite hooks of the year on the song Oceans. Nas delivers a solid guest verse on the track BBC and Beyonce does a pretty good job on the song On The Run though the track as a whole sounds a bit dated. Rick Ross was the only guest appearance on this project that failed to deliver while Jay did pick out a good track for Ross to be featured on, it was a very mediocre and forgettable effort from Ross. Ross's whole "I'm the boss" persona didn't live up to it's expectations on in fact every time I listen to it I find myself zoning out till Jay's verse comes on. Which brings me to my next point Jay-Z's writing. Like I said before, people expecting Jay to come out with a BP1 or TBA are going to be disappointed but that doesn't make the writing of this project bad or mediocre. Jay-Z is his braggadocios self on this project with lines like Yellow Basquiat in my kitchen corner, go ahead lean on that Blue, you own it" but also touches on controversial social matters with bars like "Feds still lurkin, they see i'm still puttin work in, cuz some where in America, Miley Cyrus is still twerkin". Jay also goes on a more introspective note with songs like Jay-Z Blue where he talks about the struggle of having to learn to become a father when he never grew up with a father himself. Overall this is a very good effort from the rap veteran, at 43 years of age and heading towards the end of his career, it's very unlikely we will hear another Blueprint or Black Album for Jay but that doesn't mean he still can't make great and enjoyable music.
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  27. Jul 7, 2013
    3
    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.
  28. Feb 5, 2014
    7
    Only reason I'm giving this a 7 is because of a couple very good songs and great production throughout. Honestly, don't buy this album. I got a consistent feeling that Jay was trying to pull a Kanye with the samples, imagery, and grandiose production. It didn't work. For most rappers it'd be good, but it's a huge disappointment coming from Jay Z. The worst part about this album is thatOnly reason I'm giving this a 7 is because of a couple very good songs and great production throughout. Honestly, don't buy this album. I got a consistent feeling that Jay was trying to pull a Kanye with the samples, imagery, and grandiose production. It didn't work. For most rappers it'd be good, but it's a huge disappointment coming from Jay Z. The worst part about this album is that there's several songs that sound like filler, that Jay clearly put a lot of effort into. I've always been a big Jay Z fan, but coming from someone who's still listening to Reasonable Doubt, The Black Album, and the first Blueprint, MCHG is pretty pathetic. Jigga's gone soft; it's time to retire.

    Low points include awkwardly featuring Justin Timberlake, "Picasso Baby" where Jay pathetically tries to convince listeners he's a badass, and "Jay Z Blue" where he goes from the "I'm rich and cool" message of most of the rest of the album and raps about his kid's Pampers. ~ 7.3/10

    Best track: "Heaven" -- note: This track is what this album should've been about. With the title Magna Carta Holy Grail he could've taken on subjects like the New World Order, the establishment, religion, and his legacy and created something legendary. Instead, as mentioned, he raps about Pampers.

    Other notable tracks: **** "Oceans", "Crown", "Part II (On The Run)", and "Beach Is Better" -- note: Why is "Beach Is Better" not longer?
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  29. 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" through the whole album. He even had Nas do it for a few bars. It was bad...real bad.
  30. Jul 5, 2013
    5
    A typical modern day Jay-Z album. Nothing changes. Obviously there's nothing wrong with Hov, but he hasn't switched things up since The Black Album. It's as simple as that. Like The Blueprint 3, it's a decent album at best. Production by Mike Dean and songs like "Somewhereinamerica" and "BBC" gave it an edge. But mistakes like putting Frank Ocean's vocals over a Pharrell beat is just anA typical modern day Jay-Z album. Nothing changes. Obviously there's nothing wrong with Hov, but he hasn't switched things up since The Black Album. It's as simple as that. Like The Blueprint 3, it's a decent album at best. Production by Mike Dean and songs like "Somewhereinamerica" and "BBC" gave it an edge. But mistakes like putting Frank Ocean's vocals over a Pharrell beat is just an enormous misuse of the greatest singer of our time. Major disappointment. Expand
Metascore
60

Mixed or average reviews - based on 42 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 42
  2. Negative: 2 out of 42
  1. The Source
    Dec 19, 2013
    80
    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. Q Magazine
    Aug 20, 2013
    40
    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.