User Score
5.9

Mixed or average reviews- based on 270 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 54 out of 270

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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 Throughout the album, he tries to do his best Kanye impression, juxtaposing luxury with historical references, African American rights, and adversity to fame.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. Collapse
  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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  31. 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.
  32. Jul 6, 2013
    10
    Honestly I don't understand all the hate on this album. I'd say this is in the top 3 albums released of 2013. If you actually listen to his flow and lyrics then get the album.
  33. 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'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
  34. Aug 12, 2013
    9
    Magna Carta Holy Grail is very much a fundamentally sound rap album. It doesn't try anything new, isn't experimental, but that doesn't make it underwhelming. Every track is full of energy and confidence, and the production is excellent. Jay keeps his signature style while appealing to the younger audience. Consistency plays to the album's advantage, and overall the project is very much at Jay Z's par, if not higher. Expand
  35. Jul 6, 2013
    8
    Another classic by JAY Z. Jay Z has always been one of my favorite artists because of his ability to soak listeners in by the message of his lyric. The catchy beats are awesome and they help the album to give that vibe that is expected from Jay Z. Was it his best? No, but it is definitely a Jay Z product that is right in sink with his God given ability to catch the eyes and the ears of the hip hop scene. I don't think that we will ever hear something from Jay Z that will be classified as mediocre. Expand
  36. Nov 20, 2013
    4
    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.
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  37. Jul 7, 2013
    8
    When I first listened to this album I enjoyed it thoroughly, now I have listened to it a lot more and I still really enjoy it. I am shocked by the negative reviews this has gotten and am convinced this album is going over a lot of people's heads. Some of the lyrics on this album are very sick, just check rapgenius and you will see that they deserve more than just a surface listen. He raps about new subjects like history, his daughter and religion while not losing his personality. There are braggadocious tracks, more social conscious tracks, emotional tracks and they all blend together well. I think this is album is a lot better than bp3 and almost as good as, or as good as the underrated American Gangster. Expand
  38. Aug 21, 2013
    10
    Nothing progressive in the hip hop world, but it is full of hits that never seem to get old!! If you like the fusion of rap and r&b, or just love catchy hooks then this album is for you.
  39. Jul 10, 2013
    3
    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
  40. Jul 11, 2013
    6
    MCHG is classic Jay, though the strong production is constantly weighed down by his inconsistent lyricism and foggy direction. It's a shame, but it's not easy matching arguably his best work, Reasonable Doubt and The Blueprint.
  41. Jul 13, 2013
    10
    Great album, lyrics were on point mostly, production was amazing, guest appearances were limited but meaningful and subject matter varied. Overall his best post-retirement release #go Hov!
  42. Jul 25, 2013
    10
    I'm not quite sure why so many people are hating on this album. I think alot of people put so much energy into worshiping idols they get disappointed when an ARTIST makes a piece of art that isn't their favorite or tries to do something different they just get thrown under a bus. I remember when people used to say Jay Z sucked because he wouldn't switch his flow up then he does and they hate it...You just can't win with people....Hov they really just want to wake up in the morning and see you died on the news then 5....10 years from now....people are going yo miss JayZ Expand
  43. May 3, 2014
    6
    I wouldn't say this is a bad album per se, because there's no denying: the beats are great.

    It's just a huge disappointment. It sounds as if Jay-Z doesn't care anymore. Which might even be true, I mean there truly is no reason for him to care anymore. But still, it doesn't make the album any better.
    On Jay Electronica's "We Made It" Remix we also heard than Jay-Z still CAN rap... if he
    wants to.

    The lyrical content of this album is so incredibly forgettable, that I just wish Timbaland would've given the beats to someone who can.

    All-in-all an incredibly disappointing album by one of the all-time greatest that only deserves some praise for the great production.
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  44. 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
    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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  45. 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
  46. 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.
  47. 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.
  48. 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 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
  49. 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 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
  50. 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
    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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  51. 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, 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
  52. 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 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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  53. 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.
  54. Aug 22, 2013
    6
    Magna Carta Holy Grail is the latest album from one of my favorite hip-hop artists of all-time Jay-Z. This album has some great, some good, some mediocre, and some bad.

    The features on this album are all really good for the most part. Justin Timberlake's singing on the title track is beautiful and he has lots of metaphors. Speaking of metaphors, Frank Ocean brings a lot of them on
    "Oceans". It's one of the best features on the album. Nas had a very solid feature on "BBC". Two features in particular didn't really work with this album though. Rick Ross has a feature on here and it's decent, but seems out of place. Beyonce has a good feature on "Part II", but I feel like that entire song should have been on her album, not Jay-Z's.

    The beats on this album are pretty good as well. The title track has a very hard hitting beat that comes on once Jay starts to rap, and it works very well. Picasso Baby has an almost futuristic beat, and is fantastic. Tom Ford and F*ckwithmeyouknowigotit are kind of generic trap beats, but the get the job done. I also really liked the beat on Somewhereinamerica. The beat on F.U.T.W. sounds like "O.G.', the sound from Wiz and Snoop. The beat is not very good. The Versus beat, Part II beat, Jay-Z Blue, and La Familia are the other beats that I don't care for.

    Magna Carta is a decent album. The first five tracks I really enjoyed, but then I didn't care for F.U.T.W., Part II, La Familia, Jay-Z Blue, and Nickles and Dimes. I know that a lot of people really enjoyed Nickles and Dimes, but the beat was too simple, and the song really shows its length.
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  55. Jul 11, 2013
    7
    I had really high hopes for this album because Jay-Z's previous album came out in Late 2009 and was very disappointing for Jay-Z fans because it just wasn't on the same level as Jay-Z's albums before that like the original Blue Print album and Reasonable Doubt. This album had some good tracks, but I felt as if some of Jay-Z's verses in songs were cheesy, not good and him bragging about money. Not all of it was like that but just some lines in the verses. In some songs like ''Part II (On the Run)'' ft ''Beyonce'' and BBC ft ''Nas'', I felt as if the person featured in the song had a good verse but Jay-Z half of the verse was Great but the rest is okay and isn't very good. For the production, I have to say that the beats are amazing, Jay-Z really got amazing producers to make the beats. My favorite songs in the album were ''Jay-Z Blue'', ''La Familia'', ''Nickles and Dimes'' and ''Picasso Baby''. I think most critics are hating on this album and giving mixed reviews because it was a huge disappointment because people were expecting is album to be amazing and a classic. But the album actually isn't one of his best work, and this is not a classic.

    Overall Score: 7/10
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  56. Jul 23, 2013
    5
    "I left feeling like Jay-Z almost threw together an album just because. Some songs on it had absolutely no reason to be on it, let alone exist. Some had potential but were supported with little dedication and much creativity. There were bright spots. I hope Jay-Z takes the time to actually generate an album worth buying here soon instead of developing what is really just a lazy attempt at bringing his name back into the spotlight."

    "Jay-Z is back with more of the same, minus some production changes for the most part. That’s the thing though, for an album with this name and cover, I wanted (or at least expected) something more conceptual based on it’s source material. What I got here was some interesting concept ideas, thrown on-top of basic trap style rapping and some weak features and hooks. Jay-Z had the chance to bring some needed change to the table, and make a rap album worth remembering, but as a whole, this is a let down with a few memorable tracks.
    Expand
  57. Sep 20, 2013
    4
    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.
  58. Jul 7, 2013
    5
    Proving yet again that sometimes it's best to let sleeping dogs lie, Grey-Hova steps back in the rap ring with another lackluster, expensive effort that veers wildly from his classic nimble raps to inanity, backed by sometimes thrilling, sometimes plodding beats from an army of talented of producers. His batting average between 2003's "Black Album", 2007's "American Gangster" and now "MCHG" finally take him to his own savage "one hot album every ten year average" diss from "Takeover". Expand
  59. Jul 11, 2013
    4
    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?
  60. Jul 19, 2013
    3
    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
  61. Aug 25, 2013
    7
    My favorite songs from this album were:

    * Holy Grail
    * ****
    * Somewhere in America
    * Heaven
    * Nickels and Dimes

    The rest of the songs were pretty meh. This album doesn't really come together the way Blueprint 3 did. Holy Grail has some really low replay value, while makes for some great running music (I could listen to it all day).
  62. Sep 6, 2013
    5
    Jay-Z's new album lacks what his other albums clearly exhibited; a hunger to be great. With his fame and persona already known world-wide, a wife and kid, and more money than god, it felt like this album was produced and released only to get his name once again in the mainstream.
  63. Oct 8, 2013
    10
    All the songs in the album aren't well-done, but Holy Grail is definitely the best. I give a 10/10 for that song alone. It has a personal message and is very exhilarating. Normally I don't appreciate that type of music, but there's something about this song that stands out from the rest of the bunch.
  64. Sep 25, 2013
    9
    The production definitively is the major attraction of this album, while Jay Z might have dumb down his flow and lyrics on some tracks, but he makes up for those ones on several tracks such as Heaven, Nickles and Dimes and Jay Z Blue.
  65. Oct 7, 2013
    5
    To me, this album is a huge disappointment. Firstly, Jay Z's flow is simply non-existant. It seems like he's trying to rap as an aspiring young artist like Big Sean or even Tyga. On top of that, his lyrics are not on the level they need to be. This is Jay Z! Not 2 chainz or Trinidad James! His lyrics are juvenile and it seems like he was extremely lazy in writing his verses. The only thing going for MCHG is the production. There are some explosive beats like crown and F***withmeyouknowIgotit. But F***withmeyouknowigotit is a prime example of a situation where the production is far superior to the lyrics and the delivery. As a Jay Z fan I am ashamed and saddened that this album had huge potential and the opportunity was lost. Expand
  66. Oct 23, 2013
    6
    The problem with this album is failed expectations. When Yeezus first came out I was spell bounded by how different it was from his work on Watch The Throne with Jay Z. Then as the Yeezus reviews were piling high with praise Jay comes out with overly hyped Samsung commercials that hinted at "new" rules, reflective tracks about family, Rick Rubin, Pharrell, Timbaland and descriptions of hip hop and internet as the "Wild West". At some point he says "Hip Hop is about emotion". The thing is that this is what the album lacks. Tracks like "Tom Ford" and "Picasso Baby" both reiterate his wealth and opulence but have really, really great instrumentation and beats. But look Jay Z, we get it you're filthy rich, you've said it millions of times. "F*ckwithmeyouknowigotit" has terrible flow, "F.U.T.W" *sigh* (geez the hook on this), and "La Familia" is, sorry, not really intresting lyrically and musically. Another point that I did not enjoy was the hype over "Jay Z Blue". I'm sorry but a song that was hyped to be a reflective piece about fatherhood, didn't come off towards me as memorable or emotional, fabricated would be a better word for it. The "Mommie Dearest" references were a bit overused and creepy the song overall didn't really mean much, even the Notorious B.I.G samples came off as a nuisance, and the attempt to bring in acoustic guitars to make himself appear vulnerable comes off as an artificial plea for "emotion". At this point, track 14, the running time of the album begins to take its toll as more meaningless raps and catchy beats begin to feel tired, dull and uninteresting. It is evident by this point that Jay Z hasn't grown much musically from Watch The Throne.

    In all brutal honesty, I just was not feeling this LP. The production is a really strong, great instrumentation and great cameos from Frank Ocean, Justin Timberlake and Beyonce. However, Jay Z plays the lyrics safe and narrow minded about wealth and his pretentiousness of him being "the sh*t." The only reason this album went platinum the day it was released was because Jay Z sold 1 million copies to Samsung. No comment. Remember in the beginning when I said, there hasn't been a memorable Jay Z album with widespread acclaim like his previous works? Don't expect it to come any sooner or now.

    Follow @PRTYNTGRVS for more music reviews
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  67. Nov 3, 2013
    4
    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
  68. Nov 4, 2013
    9
    JAY Z once again pushes the envelope with this album. He succeeded once again to sell me the dream with this album! I never thought I'd see Justin Timberlake and the king of rap make emsemble collaboration. JAY Z keep it up bro!
  69. Jan 10, 2014
    6
    Besides the first two tracks, this album is wack...
    Besides the first two tracks, this album is wack...
    Besides the first two tracks, this album is wack...
  70. Jan 16, 2014
    2
    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.
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  71. Jan 10, 2014
    4
    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
  72. Aug 11, 2014
    6
    Thus far, it certainly isn't the most amazing effort of Jay Z's career, but despite what so many are saying, I don't think its half bad either. I will happily say there are moments that I thoroughly enjoyed.
  73. Jul 13, 2014
    4
    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[+]
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  74. Jun 3, 2014
    6
    Crown, Somewhereinamerica, Tomford, Picasso baby, FWTMYKIGI's beats are so nice
    but other songs were not enough to attract audience.......
    Albums was not classic but it is good albums of 2013.
  75. Jul 15, 2014
    5
    B- "I left feeling like Jay-Z almost threw together an album just because. Some songs on it had absolutely no reason to be on it, let alone exist. Some had potential but were supported with little dedication and much creativity. There were bright spots. I hope Jay-Z takes the time to actually generate an album worth buying here soon instead of developing what is really just a lazy attempt at bringing his name back into the spotlight."

    M- "Jay-Z is back with more of the same, minus some production changes for the most part. That’s the thing though, for an album with this name and cover, I wanted (or at least expected) something more conceptual based on it’s source material. What I got here was some interesting concept ideas, thrown on-top of basic trap style rapping and some weak features and hooks. Jay-Z had the chance to bring some needed change to the table, and make a rap album worth remembering, but as a whole, this is a let down with a few memorable tracks.
    Expand
  76. Aug 4, 2014
    2
    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.
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.