Magna Carta Holy Grail Image
Metascore
60

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

User Score
5.8

Mixed or average reviews- based on 265 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: 43 out of 76
  2. Negative: 13 out of 76
  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. 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 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. 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. 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... Expand
  5. 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
  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 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" through the whole album. He even had Nas do it for a few bars. It was bad...real bad. Expand

See all 76 User Reviews