Magna Carta Holy Grail Image
Metascore
60

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

User Score
5.9

Mixed or average reviews- based on 274 Ratings

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  • Summary: The rapper's 12th studio album (released five days early to Samsung mobile device owners via an app) features Rick Ross, Justin Timberlake, Beyonce Knowles, and Frank Ocean, with production from Timbaland, Jerome "J-Roc" Harmon, and others.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 42
  2. Negative: 2 out of 42
  1. Give it up to the one where Beyonce pledges gangsta devotion and, best of all, the one where the "billionaire" (he says) looks back at the betrayals of his own departed head of family with something that feels like dread.
  2. Jul 6, 2013
    80
    Jay-Z co-opts and redefines current trends to reassert his ongoing cultural potency.
  3. 70
    It's inevitable that the usual litany of labels and put-downs dominates Jay-Z's concerns; Shawn Carter's wraps-to-riches story is the meta-narrative to all his albums and only fades a little in the umpteenth retelling. ... [But] it's the varied production – the sinuous work of Timbaland, in the main--that really elevates Magna Carta Holy Grail beyond the usual Jay-Z document.
  4. Jul 8, 2013
    60
    Running to an hour long, Magna Carta becomes exhausting, bumping familiar motifs with such frequency that, as the album nears its close, the senses feel entirely numbed.
  5. 58
    I rank this album alongside Kingdom Come, which in a way was a transitional album toward the superior Blueprint III. Like others, I see (perhaps wistfully so) MCHG operating as a sort of stopgap until he releases something great, like a Blueprint IV.
  6. Jul 6, 2013
    50
    This isn't Watch the Throne, full of rich and weighty contributions from a man who is still enormously talented. It's rap music as a transaction, with a host of stars and hip names wrangled together to convince you it's not.
  7. 20
    Magna Carta’s a mess, and not even an entertaining one--it’s simply a dull record by someone who’s in deep danger of going down as a dull human being.

See all 42 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 44 out of 77
  2. Negative: 13 out of 77
  1. Jul 6, 2013
    10
    Genious! The LyricalKing of rap strikes again. Great melodier on nearly every track. He is able to use other great artists in an amazing way.Genious! The LyricalKing of rap strikes again. Great melodier on nearly every track. He is able to use other great artists in an amazing way. Personally I would put in a top 3 of his studio albums together with reasonable doubt and The blueprint. Expand
  2. Jul 6, 2013
    9
    Jay through out this entire album is telling us he's the "king", and rightly so. We're gonna need to come up with some sort of Magna Carta toJay through out this entire album is telling us he's the "king", and rightly so. We're gonna need to come up with some sort of Magna Carta to stop him from putting a beating on everyone in the game as he sips from his holy grail. Expand
  3. Jul 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. TheThis 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
  4. 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 badThus 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. Expand
  5. 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 hisI 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
  6. 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 hadOverall, 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. Collapse
  7. Aug 1, 2013
    0
    Ok. The first few songs were listenable. Then he kept the same verse scheme. "blah blah (hustler) blah...(pause)...blah blah blah-blah"Ok. The first few songs were listenable. Then he kept the same verse scheme. "blah blah (hustler) blah...(pause)...blah blah blah-blah" through the whole album. He even had Nas do it for a few bars. It was bad...real bad. Expand

See all 77 User Reviews