User Score
5.9

Mixed or average reviews- based on 274 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 54 out of 274

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  1. 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 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 Throughout the album, he tries to do his best Kanye impression, juxtaposing luxury with historical references, African American rights, and adversity to fame.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
    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
    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 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 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
  4. 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, 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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  5. Jul 5, 2013
    7
    Overall this album is very good. Easy to listen the production was great and so was Jay-Z if you can catch his metaphors and understand the meanings to his songs.
  6. 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. Personally I would put in a top 3 of his studio albums together with reasonable doubt and The blueprint.
  7. Jul 8, 2013
    0
    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
  8. 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.
  9. 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 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
  10. 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 an enormous misuse of the greatest singer of our time. Major disappointment. Expand
  11. Jul 8, 2013
    8
    critics make my d!ck hole itch. This album is 10x better than Kanye's garbage album. There are plenty of songs that i keep on repeat. It's a solid 8/10. Jay's best album since American Gangster.
  12. Jul 5, 2013
    0
    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.
  13. 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 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
  14. 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.
  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
    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) Expand
  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) even their tracks were agreeable. Expand
  17. Jul 15, 2013
    8
    It's no Blueprint, Vol 1 or 2 but Jay-Z for the first time since the Black album has combined that street sound while sounding innovating at the same time.

    If someone can convince him to stop singing....permanently and play 'Marcy' than he might recapture that magic.

    It's not going to get the good ratings since there are no 'pop' hits here as he had the last 4-5 albums. This one is
    for the people he dropped in '05 and hopefully he'll shake the mall-rap punks with this effort. Expand
  18. Jul 7, 2013
    5
    Oh, Jay-Z.... This album wouldn't be so bad if Jay-Z had more to talk about than his success. Unfortunately, though, he doesn't and whenever he tries to make something serious, he'll follow a clever line with another line reminding the listener about his success. We get it, Jay, you're rich. The JT track was over hyped. The Beyonce track should have been titled, 'We Need To Get A Room', and the overall feeling of this album felt like it was purposely put out there to scam his listeners. 5.9 average score? Let me put it down with the most overhyped album of the year. That Oceans track was aight, though. Expand
  19. Jul 6, 2013
    10
    This is Jay's best album since American Gangster, it has great production and it shows a growth in his lyrical ability. I am not comparing it to classics like Reasonable Doubt and The Blueprint, but the album is simply a great Jay-Z album and it's an album that will be played in the next 5 years.
  20. Jul 7, 2013
    9
    Magna Carta May Be Jay's lyrically dumbed downed work to date but it delivers a personal message in the album. The message that no matter how much you accomplish in life, you should never lose sight of where you came from. Personal songs like "Jay-Z Blue" and "La familia" shows Jay-z drive what keeps his drive and his insecurities about fatherhood. As A Unit "Magna Carta" Is a solid album.
  21. Jul 8, 2013
    6
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. It isn't a bad album, but everyone can expect more than this from Jay-Z. The album has strong parts as the piano in Holy Grail(good job by Justin Timberlake) or the Chorus on BBC, but there are songs out of place like Part 2. Not a good album to buy. Expand
  22. Jul 11, 2013
    5
    I expected much more from Jay-Z with the beats that he has he could have said some really deep and profound things as well as used his spit-fire flow especially on the tracks produced by Timberland. I have he should have taken more time to work on his flow with the beats as opposed to so much stopping a pauses in his rhymes. As far as lyrics I was too happy about that either, he has great ideas but he doesn't lay them out well it is just kind of jumbled up in this mix of street vs success music. I will say that the last 3 tracks on the album really saved this from being a complete 0. I was hoping for more within his lyrics especially after what J Cole brought to the table with Born Sinner and from I saw in his commericals. I would listen to it first from a friend before I bought it. Expand
  23. Jul 29, 2013
    8
    On initial hearing, this album may sound as if it hasn't lived up to the Jay Z (formerly Jay-Z) name. However, the more I listen to this album, the more it grows on me. The first time I listened to 'Tom Ford', I dismissed it. After the 2nd or 3rd time, I started liking it. I had the privilege of going to the first performance of Legends of Summer at the Wireless Festival in London and saw Jay Z perform some of the songs on this album live. They were performed very well and the audience definitely seemed to be enjoying them, hopefully this album is a slow burner and this album grows on the public. On a side note, some negative reviews of this album are written because they didn't receive the free album through the Magna Carta app on the Samsung devices. It's not the fault of Jay Z that these people didn't understand that only (ha!) 1 million were being given away for free, and that demand was 20 times higher than the supply. Expand
  24. 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 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
  25. 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 was expecting better given all the hype but it's still a solid effort. Expand
  26. 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.
  27. 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 listened to it a couple of times and thats it. It has already become bland. Expand
  28. 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 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
  29. 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'.
  30. 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 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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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. 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. 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.