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 289 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: 46 out of 80
  2. Negative: 14 out of 80
  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. 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 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 hipFor 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. 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 constantlyBy 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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  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 80 User Reviews