Magna Carta Holy Grail Image
Metascore
60

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

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5.9

Mixed or average reviews- based on 291 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: 47 out of 81
  2. Negative: 14 out of 81
  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. 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 itMagna 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
  3. 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'sThis 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
  4. Oct 30, 2014
    6
    The album is strong lyrically, with impressive beats and hooks that compliment this in the majority of the tracks here. However, someThe album is strong lyrically, with impressive beats and hooks that compliment this in the majority of the tracks here. However, some pointlessly short songs (Versus, Beach is Better) and a lack of variation in general makes "Magna Carta Holy Grail" fall short of its full potential. 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. 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 heSeeing 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.
    Expand
  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 81 User Reviews