Review Summary: So why does Magna Carta... Holy Grail feel so insincere?
It's inevitable that this record will be compared to Kanye West's Yeezus: which can be either good or bad. On one hand, this album is by Jay-Z, probably the biggest rapper out there right now. He's married to Beyonce (probably the biggest pop star out there right now), and has a new baby daughter. So what could anyone assume Jay-Z would write about
: money, fame, love, his daughter. And yes, he does all of this, but for some reason it doesn't seem as sincere. On Yeezus, it seemed as if Kanye's featured artists were there for a purpose. On Magna Carta, it seems as if the featured artists are just there because they are also huge: Justin Timberlake, Frank Ocean, Rick Ross, and well of course Beyonce. None of the features say to me: this artist is perfect for this. It's like anyone could sing Frank Ocean's chorus or Justin Timberlake's chorus, no matter how talented they are, or how much I do like them as artists. There's nothing special about it, they are just featured because they can be. So why does Magna Carta... Holy Grail come off so insincere?
Track One, "Holy Grail (Feat. Justin Timberlake)", has a beautiful chorus. Sounds more like a Timberlake song featuring Jay-Z. The beats on this record are pretty sick, hats off to Timbaland, but I have a problem with the raps. Why are they hardly any words per song? The raps are mostly boring and lines too far apart. Is there some new rap law that states that people have to say, "uh" between every line? This Trap-Rap emergence has upped the tempo of rap songs, and only rap prodigy's like Kendrick Lamar can keep up, because apparently, he doesn't need to breath. The only track I can actually call classic Jay-Z rap is "Heaven". It has that flow I've been missing from rap artists. The lines follow each other, and rhyme scheme's stay on track.
Now, why I can't feel the sincerity behind Jay-Z's words. How does a man with a great marriage and new daughter write the song "Holy Grail", and decide to open his album with it. It sounds like a song about a complicated relationship. That's not Jay-Z's life. I understand it's just music and yeah, he wants to sell records, I mean, he sold a million copies to Samsung to release before the album was actually released, but it's not sincere. Jay-Z has always written about his fame, power, and love, but this feels like he's just trying to fit in with the rest of the pop world. Let me tell you something Jay-Z, you don't need to fit it. Hell, hundreds of people want to be you. You basically created Kanye West. You just be Jay-Z, Hov, that Jigga, and do what you know you can do.