Jay-Z

REVIEW: Jay-Z's Magna Carta Holy Grail


“In America, you don’t have to be rich to achieve your potential.” – Barack Obama

When my boy Mecca and I listened to “American Gangster” in the studio with Jay-Z present in 2007, Jay exuded confidence, excitement and happiness. Beyoncé passed through and oozed the same sentiments. Magna Carta Holy Grail feels eerily similar to that moment. Jay sounds fresh. He sounds free. He also sounds angry at times, as if the weight of the hate burdens him despite all of his accomplishments. But, there is a huge difference since then. Jay’s status and profile has risen like a renegade phoenix, soaring from hell to the highest levels of heaven.

Purgatory: : an intermediate state after death for expiatory purification; specifically : a place or state of punishment wherein according to Roman Catholic doctrine the souls of those who die in God’s grace may make satisfaction for past sins and so become fit for heaven.

So, is Jay-Z in purgatory? Magna Carta Holy Grail seems to make the case. Throughout, it’s evident that Jay — despite being an absolute rags to riches narrative — is still trapped between the opulence of extreme wealth and longing to be loved from those at the bottom. So, what does he do in purgatory? He camps out, builds a mansion and makes it home. It all makes for an intriguing musical excursion.

Lets start from the end with “Nickles and Dimes,” one of the most profound songs on MCHG. “Sometimes I feel survivors guilt / I gave some money to this guy / he got high as hell,” Jay opens up. “Now, I’m part of the problem far as I can tell / Did I do it for him or do it for myself?” The rest of the song, he explains that he’s not giving money anymore, but something far greater – opportunity. He even takes time to respond to legendary actor/singer/activist Harry Belafonte, who criticized Jay and Beyonce for “lacking social responsibility.” “I’m just trying to find common ground, but Mr. Belafonte try to chop a n**a down/ Mr. Da-Oh / Major fail,” Jay spews. Naturally, Jay is conflicted as he rhymes about giving opportunity and that “you don’t know the sht I do for the homies.” It would have been nice to see Jay honor the 85-year-old Belafonte rather than feed into divide and conquer. Oh, the conflict.

“Fuckwithmeyouknowigotit” featuring Rick Ross is a welcome delight on Magna Carta. Ruefully ignorant yet magnificently simplistic. Jay and Ross trade bars about bad b**hes and beaches over a booming baseline. Destined to be a hood anthem. The intro in curious where it says, “A little over a year ago I was in bondage. Now, I’m back out here reaping the blessing and getting the benefits that go along with it…everything that’s out here for kings. The reason that we like this – this this jewelry and these diamonds – they don’t understand the sht – is we really from Africa. So don’t look down on the youngsters because they want shiny things. its in our genes.”

“Ni*s want my old st, buy my old album,” Jay once proclaimed. Magna Carta is largely an experimental album where the Brooklyn native attempts deft feats of creativity – some that work and others that don’t. “Somewhereinamerica” knocks with a heavy piano with a repetitive horn. Jay rhymes about being an insider still rejected, despite the wealth. “New money, they looking down on me / Blue Bloods (royalty), they try to clown on me / you can turn up your nose high society / never gon’ turn down the homey.” Another delightfully dense record is “Crown,” where he proclaim himself to be a god. But, the song is truly a reaction the ubiquitous hater where he says, “These n***as try to s**t on me..they try to write me outta their history.” This reviewer wanted to like “Oceans” with Frank Ocean, but it settles rather listlessly.

Beyoncé sounds quite heavenly on “Part II (On The Run),” where the pair make a case for a duet album. Its these times when Jay sounds the most sincere – when he gets personal. While “Jay-Z Blue” feels awkward with Biggie and Mommie Dearest” samples, you can feel the earnest conflict in the 43-year-old as he toils over repeating the cycle his father set for him. “Piscasso Baby” has Jay examining his art fetish, but also begs the question “when is enough enough?” “Ahhh, f**k it, I want a trillion!” he yelps! Raekwon would have been perfect for “Heaven,” which feels like a RZA beat, but the religious subject matter is too weighty for a first encounter between the two titans. Jay quickly sublimes to death some “sucka n***a” on “Versus” and flaunts the fruits of labor on “Beach Is Better.”

Jay discusses “Heaven” and “Jay-Z Blue”

Lets finish with the album intro, “Holy Grail,” a duet song with Justin Timberlake, where the theme continues. Jay chastises the papz – “Can’t even take my daughter for a walk / see them by the corner store” – but, ultimately admits to loving the glory associated with fame and wealth. The self-proclaimed “illest n***a alive” – that’s Jay-Z in all his hues, contrasts and conflicting sentiments.

“Just let me be great. Let me be great!,” Jay shouts on”F.U.T.W.” “I feel like mother f**kin’ Cassius Clay right now.” But, Jay knows like Ali before him. Greatness is seized and not given. With MCHG, he’s extended his greatness well into the future, well beyond his peers, but probably not past his own ambitions. But, will he make it out of purgatory? The truth is, some listeners will hate this record and others will love it. One thing is clear – all will have a need to adjust their musical pallet to fully comprehend Jay-Z’s new truth.

Furthermore, we’ll have to take a moment and see through Jay-Z’s lens to fully appreciate it, as Jay will need to examine Harry Belafonte to understand his critique of the rap mogul. And therein lies the plight of Mr. Carter, smack dab in the middle of the haves and have-nots. On Magna Carta, he reminds us that he “parties with weirdoes” but also has numerous references to his drug dealing days decades ago. Just a reminder: He’s in a different space, still of the people.

All in all, Magna Carta is another victory for Brooklyn’s royal son. The biggest question might be, how will Shawn Carter top the event known now as Magna Carta Holy Grail?

AHH’s Ratings:

Lyricism –8/10

Production –10/10

Album Cohesiveness –7/10

Replay value –8/10

Overall –8/10

01 Holy Grail (Feat. Justin Timberlake)
02 Picasso Baby
03 Tom Ford
04 Fuckwithmeyouknowigotit (Feat. Rick Ross)
05 Oceans (Feat. Frank Ocean)
06 F.U.T.W.
07 Somewhereinamerica
08 Crown
09 Heaven
10 Versus
11 Part II (On The Run) [Feat. BeyoncÈ]
12 Beach Is Better
13 BBC
14 Jay-Z Blue
15 La Familia
16 Nickles And Dimes

  • Christopher Donaldson

    fix the “AHH’s Ratings” . its still showing j.Coles album

    • YoungPrime

      LOL someone at AHH had a cookout to attend and skimmed through it w/o proof reading….

  • Jonathan Cephas

    Good review. I woulda gave it a 9 tho..

  • Reblogged this on City Press.

  • 7 out of 10

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  • Eli Pinilla

    Versus>>>>>

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    FROM YA BOY *GUTTA*

    • STRONGEST LEADER SINCE PAC

      You celebrating the birth of a country that wasnt even built for you….

      • johnblacksad

        Crazy how the other day i thought about Columbus day and wondered if it ain’t somehow celebrating the beginning of the indians getting massacred?

    • brotha_man

      ” AM I NOT A MAN AND A BROTHER?”

  • Fishman3234

    I haven’t seen Jay go this hard since American Gangster

    Lyricism –9/10

    Production –10/10

    Album Cohesiveness –9/10

    Replay value –9/10

    Overall –9.25/10

    • dexter

      I dont disagree with ur scoring but… 9/10 versus 8/10? no diff actually. now say… 7/10 versus 9/10 thats a lil more of a jump. but naw ur scoring is on point also sir.

      • brotha_man

        it s just aiight to me. but to give it an 8 or an 9 is too high, i give him a 6.5. the only way a rapper should get anything above an eight is if the album has no features giving this a 8 or 9 is like saying this is his best album…this is probably his 4th best album( R D, B P, AG, and then MCHG. IMO 8 or 9 puts this up there with: all eyes on me, Illmatic, Me against the world, low end theory, only built 4 cuban links, ready to die, paid in full, it takes a nation of millions to hold us back….if we comparing this against todays music, its a 8 or 9 but all time IMO its a 6.5.
        PEACE

      • dexter

        wow thats an amazing point bruhman!

      • johnblacksad

        The Fix, No one can do it better, Brand Nubian, Aquemini, etc. …agreed!

      • johnblacksad

        I remember you said The Black Album is not among your favorites… you know that’s hard to understand right?

      • brotha_man

        real talk, im diggin in the crates now. you got me second guessing jay -z albums.

    • johnblacksad

      “D.O.A.”?
      “Reminder”?
      “Already Home”?
      “Who gon stop me”?
      “Murder to excellence”?
      “New Day”?
      Talk to me!

      • IToldYoMommaYouAintSh_t

        And New York…which time will probably prove it to be his biggest song.

      • johnblacksad

        I keep tryin to tell n!ggaz : Empire State of Mind is probably Jay-Z’s most successful hit ever (so far)

        Despite any of our personal tastes… Can I live will prolly always be my all time favorite hands down… but the impact that Empire State of Mind had on an international level is just crazy!

        He offered NY one of its best odes ever.

    • Homegrown Chicks

      Yeah I actually like AG over RD and TBA.

  • PhilTheGreat

    I think he did some things based on close ties to people instead reaching out and getting a proper fit for some tracks. I.E. I think he should have used another artist with a little more pain in the voice or something for the Holy Grail track. JT sounds too high pitched IMO. keywords IMO

    • johnblacksad

      Anthony Hamilton? Lyfe Jennings?

      That observation was on point… even if I understand JT automatically equals more sales, grabbing more fans etc. with Jay, it’s not a secret… Money first!

      “I’m the realest to run it,
      I just happen to rap”
      -dirt off your shoulder

      • PhilTheGreat

        Or even John Legend, JT just sounded too poppy. The thing is, with that being the first track you hear and it’s off can automatically throw one’s perception of the other tracks off due to the fact that the mind and the ears need to recover. Lol

      • johnblacksad

        True… you ain’t lied… when i first heard it, i thought it had the potential for being a great track but it was just missing a lil something… maybe that’s what it was

    • Homegrown Chicks

      He had tracks from various producers, Timbaland just co-produced them all. JT sound perfect on here. The best I’ve heard him in years. People like to FIND problems where there are none.

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  • dexter

    Actually I really agree with AHH on this one. Their scoring is on point IMO. & but u rite PhilTheGreat Justin was not the one for that track… unless of course if he was spitting. That which he is singing is met for a pure r&b song beat concept & all…

    • PhilTheGreat

      Lol I feel like it was just a hit back for Suit n Tie.

      • dexter

        EXACTLY!!!!!!!!!!!! tit 4 tat… @ least there is honor among thieves if u will.. lol!

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  • dexter

    See here is the thing… Sir JAy u have urself set the bar sooo high that obtaining or reaching it would be like going behind greatness. Which is equivalent to +1 + −1 = 0.
    Not sayn JAy is a 0 by no means is he… but riddle me this… what is behind greatness?
    & might i add he does a tremendous job of re inventing himself time after time… but thats like reinventing the wheel…or making a better mouse trap… its still a wheel & its still a mouse trap…both of which has already achieved greatness in they own rite 2boot from their debut n2 society…

    • jay just doing what he always do, and thats rap. its not like he is making beats and mastering the damn CD lol..

      • dexter

        great point however he is takn full responsibility for the album… naming it directing it marketing it…man plz its JAys’ work. but heres my thing i did not say it wasn’t good tho…& actually he does or do take part in making the beats as u saw 4 urself wen he said how a certain part of a beat they were working on should be enhanced… but again i said it is a good album.smh

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  • Mega Don

    i hope you aint give a kanye a higher rating like hiphopdx cause that album was trash jay shit was free and it was better

    • For real foreal!!! That kanye album is doo doo butter!!! Its horrible.

      • johnblacksad

        I only played it once… definitely doesn’t sound like it has the heat that was Dark Fantasy…

        I need more rotation before a formal opinion…

      • dexter

        yes it iz. lol

    • Christopher A

      Yessus is hot garbage….and I loved 808s. Deleted that shit from my computer.

  • dee

    oceans is a hit

  • so… being from africa, well your past family being from africa, makes you want shiny things??? SMHF

    old man can rap but he has lost reality. lol.

    • PhilTheGreat

      Lol I think he is referring to the fact that Africans were kings and all that… Saying that wealth and having the luster around you is part of African, therefore black heritage in general.

      • all africans were kings? thats like saying all egyptians were pharaohs smh

      • STRONGEST LEADER SINCE PAC

        i think he’s referring to us really being from Israel….

    • STRONGEST LEADER SINCE PAC

      I think he’s referring to fact that we come from Israel (royalty)

    • Tony G.

      ur really that stupid?

      • you sound pretty stupid

      • you right tho, black people need shiny things, im sorry HAHAHAHAAHA stop the F uckery

    • Homegrown Chicks

      Jay didn’t say that, it was a sample from an interview of a Pimp C statement.

  • grftswf

    Stop following these “showcase negroes”! RISE UP!

  • vackraamina

    Has everyone forgotten what a review is supposed to be? In every review I read all it talks about is what each song is about not what makes it good or bad. All I’m seeing is him getting praise for speaking about something different than he has before. Nothing more nothing less.

    What makes his work so creative and something that should be sought after? What makes this shit such great art?

    • Wayne Perry

      Jus u sayin this shit lets me know u don’t know a lot about this art form lol. I bet u understand the jeezies, weezies, kanyes, and drakes. So okay what makes this so creative and a work of art ? The double entandres (multiple meanings), music, and themes/ subject matter. Lil wayne is done because no one wants to hear metaphors about toilets and banana pudding.

      • vackraamina

        I know enough about the art form to know that he doesn’t respect it.

        He is the type of artist that makes me want to come up with a new criteria and standards for the music industry

        If you are in it for the art why make a business deal just so you can say that you went platinum knowing that you wouldn’t based off the shitty ass content of your music.

        I downloaded and listened to the entire album its a bunch of fluff shit. “let me talk about my life and sprinkle a little bit of shit in that is not what it seems at first to make people think I’m the greatest.”

        There is no line from the entire album that can even be considered a conversation starter… There is nothing from the entire album that will get you thinking. There is nothing inspiring.

        Just because he spoke about something and sprinkled in some double entendres doesn’t make it art. It’s deeper than that. Because someone made a double entendre and you think it’s art just means that you are easily impressed.

  • $18916246

    Jay-Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail, is a 10 why? Jay is in his 40’s YES…and we the fans get upset because the Jay-Z we made famous, bought his records, attended his shows is smart enough to trump the music industry tradition which is to rip off and rape the artist….and later find him or her dead…No Jay is a business man. In a real world where black men are still seen by our own and most other ethnic groups as irresponsible and criminal. Jay like 98% of black entertainers at his age in the game should be long gone and washed up. He is part of the reason why HIP HOP music industry has matured in such a way that teen-agers aspire to become rappers like teens have aspired to play pro-sports. Jay has a wife and child defeating another common stereotype for which black men sadly are the reigning poster children for and that is child abandonment and child support. Jay does “not” present a squeaky clean persona latent with formal education. Jay-Z is a high school drop out like many other successful business men in America. He encourages the many flawed lives of black men and woman young and matured to make it in this life despite the odds. Jay-Z has many fans that only enjoy his music spoken from the most narrow perspective money and woman. The knowledgeable financially successful side of Jay erks the shit out most of HIP-HOP’s bottom feeder fans that believe the best HIP-HOP is beat heavy and ignorant. The best MC’s are broke and socially ignorant. The media does not want any fan of HIP-HOP to think or be inspired in a positive way. Jay-Z is a role model for all black people. Not a leader, That is something every adult human being has to master on their own. Your parents cannot lead you through your adult life and neither should any music or sports entertainer. I’m proud of Jay and Beyonc’e because they are viewed as just some over exposed rich n*ggaz who work like we all should at being the best black people on the planet.

    • Frances M. Cameron

      like Jeffrey said I’m amazed that a stay at home mom can make $7732 in one month on the internet. did you look at this website w­w­w.C­a­n9­9.c­o­m

      • $18916246

        hUH?

    • johnblacksad

      I’m in love with the way you put that down… (no homo, for the homos)

      I ain’t got much to add!

      I seriously wonder when, how and why it became suddenly ‘so cool’ to diss/hate on Jay like that… black people got unsolved issues i’m telling you.

      Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Immortal Technique, Tech9, Ras Kass, Celph Titled, Paul Wall, San Quinn, Alley Boy, Slum Village… i mean everybody is cool, but if you’re a rapper and not trying to achieve Jay-Z’s accomplishments, then your life is really a waste… it’s a like pro-football player not interested in winning the superbowl! (which is gay as fcuk if you ask me)

      • $18916246

        Thanx bruh….

    • Louis Mitchell

      Get off his Nutz…The album sucked. Yes, Jay Z is a good role model, but that does not excuse that he put out some sour grapes to hip hop fans. People are going to love the album because Jay Z did, but to true hip hop fans are going to listen to the words and the beats and give Jay Z their honest opinion and the music does not live up to the title of the album at all.

      • $18916246

        Typical n*gga bag heckler….whateva dummy…next.

    • DJ7

      well thought out & put brotha…that’s peace

  • johnblacksad

    8/10? …AHH scared to be called out for d-riding… it’s cool tho

    Jay’s worst album still gets 7/10 if you ask me

    This one right here… i give it between 9 and 10 just like many of his other albums

    F.U.T.W. is the bizness! Heaven too!

    “Tom Ford” is gonna set the club on fire!

    Magna Carta Holy Grail… Best Thang Smokin like Dro!

  • MadVillain

    lol another extremely over hyped album, wernt feeling it that much but whatever…

  • johnblacksad

    Like you said Chuck, Jay is feeding that divide and conquer but Harry drew first blood… and Jay being from where he’s from, being from where the hammers rung and news cameras never come, it was only a matter of time before he said something.

    Harry took one hell of a shortcut singling Jay & Bey like he did… directly or indirectly Jay did and does a lot for a lot of people… not just blacks… (“small part of the reason why the president is black”… haters fall back don’t get mad and come at me with all kinds of arguments)

    How you honor somebody slendering your name out in public like that?!

    New blacks, with new stacks…!

    I would have expected Harry to be the wisest and not take the divide and conquer route!

    • TheOnlyCoop

      Like the man said to Mr Belafonte “You don’t know all the shit I do for the homies”

  • STRONGEST LEADER SINCE PAC

    “Is we really from Africa?” As Biggest this Hebrew Israelite Movement has gotten, and that’s all he can say…smh…If you aren’t telling these black, latin, and native american people the kingdom is at hand, then your life is a waste…

    • johnblacksad

      I know I am… literally… born n raised!

      • STRONGEST LEADER SINCE PAC

        If you are African American, you are a Hebrew…(African American-Judah, West Indians-Benjamin, Haitians-Levi, Peurto Ricans-Ephraim, Cubans-Menasseh, Columbians and Brazillians-Asher, Native Americans-GAD, Siminole Indians and Aboriginies of Australia-Reuben, Panamanians-Zebulon, Hawaiians and Fiji Islands-Nephtali, and Dominicans-Simeon) The 12 tribes of Israel….Peace

    • TheOnlyCoop

      I’m African American and if you’re talking about the Hebrew Israelites that stand on the corners in cities all over the country, Well they ain’t shit, and I tell them that everytime I see them downtown DC.

      • STRONGEST LEADER SINCE PAC

        Not every Israelite Camp on the corners have the correct doctrine…You should check out the GOCC…They don’t preach that hate doctrine that you see from other camps….

  • johnblacksad

    Just played a few tracks from his first two albums… and i swear to god that if Jay attempted to rap about the same subjects today, it would be the same hatin azz n!ggaz in here talkin bout how he don’t live that life no more… who else you know raps about that ballin sh!t but it’s really real?

    “The truth in my verses, versus
    Your metaphors about what your net worth is”
    -Versus

    I swear some niggaz is a joke!

  • brotha_man

    its a 6.5, but if we comparing this against todays music its an 9. all time its a 6.5

    • johnblacksad

      You can tell the difference between a true opinion and plain hate! This ain’t the latter…

      • hoeyuno

        I donno man. I think after you make so much money rapping and your not doing it to feed your family anymore the hunger and heart needed to make records that really move people become nil. jay don’t need a record to stay relevant and it shows on this album.

    • Homegrown Chicks

      If you compare it to TODAY’s hiphop? It’s a 10. Aside from Kendrick, JCole, and NAS albums, the market for quality music and lyricism in hiphop is not there.

      • brotha_man

        nothing is perfect

  • dexter

    MCHG= Grade B period. like it or not. IMO. the only perfection(10) is with God the only perfection(10) is God.. & Sean Carter is not God my self esteem aint that low to think or say that. Im out on to the next one (in my JAyz voice)

    • johnblacksad

      Grade B is not bad for your 12th or 13th album… (lost count…)

      If 10 is perfection, Jay-Z best two albums are 9.5 IMO
      Reasonable Doubt (9.5 because i don’t fcuk with Ain’t No N!gga like that)
      Blueprint (9.5 because Renegades’s vibe is off)

      American Gangster & Hard Knock life…. both 9!
      In My Lifetime only gets 9 too only because of the two singles he put out… take those two singles out and the album is on par with Reasonable Doubt.

      All his other albums get between 8 and 9, except Kingdom Come who stands at 7!

      Peace!
      (a Jay-z fan… some call it warrior)

      • dexter

        TBH I agree JBS I agree…

      • brotha_man

        hard knock album had too many features to be rated that high IMO

      • johnblacksad

        i know but a lot of the sounds were groundbreaking at the time… it’s the first album where Jay flipped his beat game and started fcukin with only the best producers available

      • brotha_man

        now i gotta go back and listen to all the jay albums…..

      • johnblacksad

        aaargh… i was quietly enjoying MCHG until your post made me switch to Hard Knock Life on the playlist and cot damn… i can’t turn it off… sh!t is straight heat flames and fire! Memphis Bleek alone rips the intro!!! (This by the way was a brilliant move… although it didn’t pay… Jay new this album was really gonna be big like the great Notorious Christopher Wallace, so he thought he’d give Bleek the shine of his life! but it didn’t transform… oh well)

        Damn Hard Knock Life is an incredible album… I think i’m really a fan… Reservoir Dogs, that Kid Capri beat…, A week ago with Too $hort (Used to have a firm grip but now you droppin names, a stand up nigga but now you sit down and aim), Ride or die, Paper Chase, Money Cash Hoes… the beat… omg the beat!, Nigga what nigga who?!!!,

      • brotha_man

        i cant lie i went back and played that hard knock album….u right on that one. i forgot how much it bang. DMX in his prime they had the rap game on lock. speaking on bleek, its still mind boggling how this dude didnt blow up

      • Sinbk Legend

        wait you give bp2 a 8 or 9?? that double album is 6

      • johnblacksad

        mos def! BP2 i admit is not his most cohesive album but it got a lot of nice tracks… i give it an 8/10

    • hoeyuno

      You can judge a album without comparing it with god. god,Allah or whoever we’re not in the business of making hip hop music.

      • dexter

        uh? u lost me wit that comment hommie… & btw God the essence exist in all living & existing people places & things…now how that essence is used via humans is free will…

  • HD

    Let me settle this. I was a jay-z fan till july 4th 2013. I anticipated this album. He did a excellent job marketing but damn this is a horrible album. It seems he feels he can just put out any garbage. The beats are whack. The flow is whack. The hooks is whack. Its time to hang it up. Yeezus sucks by the way. Honest opinion from a very disappointed former fan.

    • hoeyuno

      Album sucks. I’m not a big jay fan but have a lot of his shit. I downloaded the first 7 songs yesterday and was shocked how wack it was. maybe the good songs are the other 9.. I donno tho…. ppls always talk how he rhymes with ease but I don’t think he had any heart in this album at all.

    • dexter

      ummmmmm I disagree… the producer line up is an all star cast still in they prime…its all debatable but the beats r nice tho…

      • The producers are all stars. Their beats on this album are way sub par. I rather have heard a remix of Big Pimpin or Is that Your Chick…those timbo beats are hotter than anything on this album.

      • dexter

        Look every fiber in my being I wanna dispute ur comment but I can not. I even feel JAy shouldve went out & found new & up & coming producers. To put him in 2days sound. I even tweeted it to him.
        Also even JAy said this is not his best work & but I knew that already… I had asked the question… what comes after greatness? No one to date can answer that question. JAy has reached greatness in his pass albums now what?

      • Homegrown Chicks

        “Subpar” production? GTFOH!! It’s superior to EVERYTHING out right now? So what standard has the production not risen to?

      • Ok Im going to give you three tracks from 2013 that I feel are the best so far and better than any of timbos on MGHC
        Shoot You Down-Styles P prod by Scram Jones
        R.I.P, Prodigy, Havoc, and Raekwon Prod by the Alchemist
        Push Thru-Talib, Curren$y, K. Lamar Prod by S1
        You need to get on Hudson Mohawke. Check his Silk Panthers EP…on par with old Timbo…the old GREAT timbo.
        …and I am saying Timbo has set the bar in prior years, but this breaks NO STANDARD. It is Sub Par to his prior works.

      • johnblacksad

        Styles P is and will always be one of my favorite MC’s ever!

        Bodies in the basement is ma sh!t on that Scram Jones joint! But overall the album is good… just like The World Most Hardest MC Project was very good too, just like Master Of Ceremonies was, just like eveything Styles P drops is!

        I missed that R.I.P… about to check right away… glad i have one rolled up already. Will check that Push Thru as well.

        Yo my G, if gotta beg you to listen to one song and one song only… if you ain’t heard already, please, please, please listen to Black Thought’s verse on Bird’s Eye View, off the Statik Selektah’s Extended Play LP! His 32 is AMAZING!
        You will play it at least 10 times right away!

      • I heard of Joey badass ill check that track.
        Styles p aka the ghost aka holiday one of my all times. I grab every album every mixtapes. Selektah is the man! Feelings gone on hardest mc possibly my fav selektah beat! I have extended play! Black thoughts verse Murdered the whole album!!!! “I am the living definition of improving the groove, I use the same tools to shoot that Kubrick used” whjhhhhhat! So sick. Black thought, talib and I shared the same bday oct. 3. That day produced two wordsmiths and one fan haha!

      • Homegrown Chicks

        Yeah the beats are top notch! Anybody saying the production is horrible, I automatically dismiss.

    • YeaMyNig

      Fukk all tha way outta here

  • hoeyuno

    A 16 year old girl from Ontario produced one of the tracks.. “crown” by wondergirl

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  • Louis Mitchell

    This was not a good album by Jay Z at all. I have listened to this album 4 times already and it was not put together well at all. The beats were Whack as hell and I thought the album would have lived up to it’s title like Tupac’s “Makaveli” Don Killuminati album. I think Jay Z believes he can put out any “BS” and people are going to buy it. I think Jay Z sold HIP HOP fans some sour grapes on this Album. This album has a couple of good tracks on it, but I would not play this album in my car. To be honest I have forgotten about the album already. I am very glad I did not purchase this album, I got it from a friend who downloaded it for free…And Jay Z should have gave this album away for free…Samsung should be asking for a refund.

    • brotha_man

      there will never be anything close to makaveli

    • Right on Louis. I agree 110% could not have said it better myself. We should get an option to get our money back.

  • Draco Himself

    No fuckin’ Way you are co-signing this trash project !!!
    How much were you paid for this review ?!
    what you get a free Jay poster and Tee shirt for a Good Review or sum shit ?!
    Even the Cover Art is lazy at best,smh….

    • bisolabliss

      Chuck Creekmur wrote the damn shite…with all the weekly articles on this site kissing Jay’s a$$ to high heavens, did you honestly expect a review that wasn’t going to toe the ‘he who pays the piper, dictates the tune’ line. Chuck’s cashed and continues to cash checks from Roc Nation on the regular. AHH is here to promote Jay…so what else is new?

    • Homegrown Chicks

      Just because you don’t “get it” doesn’t make it ‘trash’. How is the cover art “lazy”? Do you even know what you’re looking at? lol

      • Draco Himself

        Dont get What ?! mediocre Music ?! you can have all this bullshit he feedin’ yall cats,smh… And yes that cover is BS too… Do You know what ya lookin; at ?!
        Do you know what the ‘Magna Carta’ really is ?! Please.. Lets Discuss

      • johnblacksad

        MAGNA CARTA = NEW RULES

      • Homegrown Chicks

        Yeah I do know what I’m lookin at and yeah I do know what it means. That’s why I’m laughing at you.

      • Draco Himself

        ..guess i missed the punchline.. Why are you laughing at me again ?! o_0

        funny thought, I bet you thought that ‘In my Lifetime’ album was hittin’ too… Until Jay himself said how Trash it was.. huh ?!

        Anyway lets discuss this Cover art… please Enlighten me on what this Cover symbolizes if you would dear jay-z fan…

      • Homegrown Chicks

        I’m not a JayZ fan. And you called the cover art ‘lazy” so I’m gonna let you figure it out, I’m good.

    • Wayne Perry

      Only bums and lames show off they radical opinions to bring attention to themselves go lay down before u hurt yourself smfh

      • arrdeesss

        You stay with that sideways tough talk and name calling. How bout you try growing the fugg up or shutting the fugg up. Either will work you choose. Ya dum bish!

      • Draco Himself

        Kill yourself, you gave Me attention in efforts to Seek attention for yourself…. Whose really the Bum and Lame in this equation?!

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  • Dap_Diesel

    Why when people hate something they claim its honesty but when someone says they like or heaven forbid “love” something, they’re blind or dickriding a famed MC. No one has a monopoly on truth. What you find repellent, someone else might find refreshing. I don’t ride MCHG in the car straight through, but I have bumped somewhereinamerica, picasso baby and holy grail just to name a few. Some are a bit more unorthadoxed that I want to sit down and really listen to, but I think that’s kind of the point. I’m not gonna get on Kanye and Yeezus because that’s a completely seperate topic, but once you’ve trancended commercialism, you can afford to take risks and stretch as an artist. You make music for you and hope the fans appreciate it, it’s in the message and not necessarily the beats. Cats love French Montana and I can’t understand why. Women love Wale and cats say J. Cole got next, I bought both the latter two albums and I consistently bump maybe 3 or 4 on each. That’s just my taste. I won’t say they suck or their albums are trash, some tracks just aren’t for me.

    You’ll never please everyone. But in support of black music I will tell everyone to give MCHG a listen. You may like it or not, but try not to condemn the opinions of others in the process.

  • J Rocafella23

    MCHG is a Masterpeice….ppl need to learn to appreciate great music…This is the best free (literally Free) album ever and is easily the best album of the year…Learn to appreciate greatness while it’s still here to accept it…not when the greats are dead and gone…

  • water_ur_seeds

    Ive heard one track ‘Heaven’ and its dope, especially the 5% references where slick… As it sounded so dope, I dont wanna hear anymore and ruin the first listen when I get it on CD…

    Ive not really been fan of Jay since ‘Black Album’, ‘American Gangster’ was dope, but it was like a soundtrack, I hated ‘Watch The Throne’ so didnt have high hopes for this album, but sounds like its gonna be dope if its anything like the track I heard…

    • johnblacksad

      If you like heaven, most likely, you will like F.U.T.W. as well… #IJS

    • Tiger King

      Heaven was a song that straight up copied Wu Tang’s style. Jay Z has never rapped about being a 5%. And with the way he lives his life doesn’t fall in line with 5% philosophy. Not only was the beat ripped off of Wu Tang, but Jay Z bit off of Ghostface Killah’s style. Jay Z is a great rapper, but he has had very few good albums. Only good album he has had since The Blueprint was The Blueprint 3. Outside of Reasonable Doubt, The Blueprint, and the Blueprint 3, Jay Z’s albums have been filled with garbage commercial songs and songs where Jay Z rips off of other rappers style. Even the song he had with Rick Ross, he completely copied Rick Ross’ style and flow.

      • water_ur_seeds

        Jay has been spat 5% schitt numerous times, and millions of rappers have, nothing like biting Wu Tang lol he sounds nothing like ghost… ill admit im not the biggest jay fan anymore, not even BP3 was that dope for me, RD, BP and BA are his only classics imo…

  • Schooly B

    New Rules For The RIAA? Sure, But Thats About It.

    Not as bad as Roc La Familia or Kingdom Come first sounded. This album will go into that category of albums that aren’t amazing but aren’t wack so you pull them out every once in awhile. The songs on the album that sound like they could’ve been real bangers are on some teaser sh- and what follows never lives up to what was served before. And that sucks because that makes the entire album feel incomplete. The Jay-Z Stans might not like that statement but its true. Leading up to this albums release I had high hopes for what was to come considering Jay works with the same two artists that gave us two classic albums this year already (J. Cole and Kanye West). But upon cueing up the album I realized that the promises of new rules would not be fulfilled and started to zone out.

    But after coming back to it a few more times I found myself listening closer and appreciating the lyrical dexterity Jay was putting on exhibition for this album. And maybe that’s what makes this album worth a listen. Because, though it’s not blazing any new paths its fun to take a ride on this well worn path that Jay-Z has treaded so many times before.

    3 stars out of 5

  • Thoroughly disappointed. The worst album he has ever put out. Timbaland is a legend, but he has lost it. I do not feel his beats anymore. The joke is on us. I used to love finding the sick one liner Jay has in every album and texting them out to my hip hop buds. Now its all hooks and Rick Ross taking the majority of time on a song on JAYS album? Im speechless on how disappointing this album is. I may not even listen to it again.

    • Homegrown Chicks

      Yeah, you’re all kinds of inaccurate if not blatantly dishonest and delusional with that one bruh! lol

      • Homegrown Chicks…be easy its my opinion! We just disagree. This is Jay’s weakest album in the catalogue. As Common says, If I dont like it, I dont like it, dont mean that im hatin!” Jay is my all time fav. Give me a bar, Ill tell you the song, the album and the producer. So I am saying this is sub par. We can break it down song by song if you like, but bring historical ammo with ya;)

      • johnblacksad

        You know i got the historical ammo right? I could do the song by song thing but that’s not why i was posting this…

        I just wanted to say that Common Sense track on that Primo beat is CLASSIC sh!t!!!! You bringin back memories

        (#MCHG is somewhere between 4th and 6th best album IMO)

      • You picked out Primo….I know we have similar taste! He is my hands down Favorite producer ever. And now I am showing my age! ha! Gangstarr FOREVER! Yes 6th sense man…….CLASSIC is right! Brings back memories of 2000 summer.

      • johnblacksad

        Still lol @ the epic skit at the end!

        “I don’t care if it’s rainin, i want you out there hoein”
        I ain’t know that side of Common… lol

        Maaan Primo is legendary… GANG STARR FOREVER! x2
        Mass Appeal still blows my mind to this day…
        Preme produced a track on the recent (dope) Joey Badass’ mixtape Summer Knights… the track is named “Unorthodox”… dunno how familiar you are with Joey Badass but you should give this kid a chance, he’s tryin to hold that ‘flavor’ down…

        Friend or Foe, D’Evils, Nas is like, Represent, Full Clip, JFK2LAX, Moment of Truth, Daily Operation, Emeritus… aaargh… don’t let me get started on Preme.

      • Fcccck I was gonna mention that skit! Epic!

        Sheeeyat you mentioned 95% of my fav beats…let me see some other favs Royce 5 9-shake this, biggie unbelievable, royalty, soliloquy of chaos, the militia, legendary OC my world, jeru scientificall madness. Freddie foxx-industry shakedown I’m sure we can both keep adding

    • johnblacksad

      You don’t like the song with Ross?

      Hov’s italian verse is awesome!

      • Hey johnblacksad, nah I dont. First off why does Rawse get majority of bars on a HOV album to me…unacceptable. Second, enough with the hook repitition “fck w me you know I got it”….garbage how many times do i gotta hear it…..spit BARS.. I wanna hear ill raps not filler.

      • johnblacksad

        Ross got more time on the song indeed but Hov spit more… and it’s just that Ross did the chorus. It’s not like the album is filled with features like a French Montana album… so it doesn’t really bother me… plus the beat is far from garbage if you ask me… but i definitely won’t fight you for not messin with it

        The BARS you want are on Heaven and F.U.T.W. if you ask me

        RIP Pimp C on the intro!

      • UGK….OGs! Pimp C and Bun B….both ILL. Heaven yes agreed. And if I have to pick a beat by timbo on here….its Picasso Baby…reminiscent of Vol 3 Jay and Timbo track Come and Get Me…with the beat switch up mid song. Primo did that on a milli and 1 questions too…classics both of them!

    • Raheem Classick

      You Said > texting them out to my hip hop buds / You must be one of the dweebs Jay was talking about.

      • Radio Raheem!!! Yeap I am! You must be the dude that goes for beat and hook! Any artists subsequent work will be viewed by longtime fans to their historicals. So first I ask what do you think of reasonable doubt and blueprint lyrically to this album? I think those two are his best. I text lyrics out all the time like a dweeb do. So now you are defending Mchg by attempting to diss me instead of talking about the topic of this article. So where do you think this album stands dawgs?

      • Raheem Classick

        Yeap I am! what do you think of reasonable doubt and blueprint lyrically to this album? This is what I think, What worked in 1996 will not work in 2013, Understand this, Me & you may want A Reasonable / Blueprint type album but times have changed and so have the music audience, I applaud HOV for being able to stay relevant for so long especially since basically no one else is doing it big from the East Coast. I made my point, Have A good night Sir.

      • In 1996 he upped in in 2001’he upped it. He did not with this. I totally disagree that this album upped it at all. You are not getting what I’m saying. 1996 preemo ski beats Clark kent. 2001 kanye just blaze track masters timbo. 2013 same producer from 12 yrs ago. The flow is below what it was 10 yrs ago. When I want to hear ill lyrics new flow are you saying it doesn’t work in 2013? I hear you times change. Let me say this….kanye is no rapper but his album changed ish up. Jay is my all time fav and this is disappointing. We can agree to disagree.

      • Raheem Classick

        We can agree to disagree.< This.

  • Jose Medina

    This is nothing but garbage lyrics wrapped with some good beats. If you care about great lyrics that makes sense get the new J-Cole and call it a day. If your a Jay-Z fan don’t worry he still gets paid if you get the J-Cole’s new album but in return you get some great lyrics not the garbage Picasso baby junk.

    • Thomas Smith

      This is why I love hip-hop….This is why I love this album…..I always quote the words of Biggie when he was coming out with life after death…he said “when you make your first album…Your outside looking in. But when you get the money, cars, clothes, homes, etc. when you start your next album, your not outside looking in anymore you inside looking out you talk about J. Cole, who is a great lyricist but that guy ain’t where jay-z is in his career now….This Jay-z is giving these ass thinkers (you included) blueprint of the common goal in life success and where it can take you….sometimes I wonder about some of these comments about wack albums and you don’t listen to the music or words……smmfh

    • johnblacksad

      lol

    • Wayne Perry

      U my friend are stupid I hate to put it bluntly. Listen…. To…the……lyrics carefully dummy. If u go into listening to this album thinking bout old albums or thinking negatively your reaction will always be the same (go figure lol). If he is going over ya head with these lyrics it’s okay that happens to a lot of people. Every lyric on the album makes sense….. U JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND EM smh. Get ya mental game up bum.

    • BruceLeRoyGlow

      “Niggas want my old shit, buy my old album” – Jay-Z

  • tipp0183

    lol y’all move quick, i was digging for this review on your site because of Jay-z and this popped right back up…good work guys.

  • danboy1386

    PAYOLA.

    • Thomas Smith

      wow the idiots really come out and post stupid shit……smh on this one…

      • danboy1386

        hey im a Jay-Z fan this will be the first jay album i will not be buying. 8/10 what would they give Reasonable Doubt or blueprint?

      • Hakim Ziyad-Bey

        I get it. I had to break down Picasso baby for the references and check the vid. for the people who were in their and look up their backgrounds to see why it really is a master piece. BBC is crazy. Everyone has different lanes he just touched on a few of them. This is straight lyrics with crazy production. You gotta rewind for both.

  • cromthelaughinggod7

    I am an honest critic. The album is cool. I didn’t like that wack ass album by Kanye and watch the throne I didn’t like except 2 songs. He sounded like old Jay on F up the world with the blueprint/ reasonable doubt flow and beat. I heard it and said oh sh*t this beat sounds like 90’0s sh*t. The Nas track was dope but I am not a fan of the type of beat they used it should have been a more hiphop track. Word play was cool. This has been the hardest he has spittin since maybe American Gangster.

    • johnblacksad

      Which songs did you like on WTT?

  • D. Rose in the paint

    Hov shouted out this review today! On the Breakfast Club

  • Guest

    No need for a review. Jay Z nowadays is totally different than Jay Z up to Black Album. That was the last of his greatness. Only those old enough to see him on the come up could really know the truth. Not to just listen to the albums but knowing the impact that was felt live, uncut and in real time. Freestyles, mixtapes, interviews, live shows etc. Rap is different now and Jay Z is too. Only a few rappers have been able to keep their original edge that they were now for on their come up. Every rapper’s come up has produced their best work. Only when you can reinvent that come up is when you can maintain your greatness. This album is good because I can’t see Jay Z making a wack album due to his greatness. But the impact is definitely uncomparable to his earlier days. Watch the Throne rekindled that spirit a couple years back but on his solo albums since his departure from Damon Dash he has tended to reach more than fulffill.

  • That’s Pimp C’s voice on the quote: “A little over a year ago I was in bondage. Now, I’m back out here reaping the blessing and getting the benefits that go along with it…everything that’s out here for kings. The reason that we like this – this this jewelry and these diamonds – they don’t understand the sh*t – is we really from Africa. So don’t look down on the youngsters because they want shiny things. its in our genes.”

    Hov was just payin’ a lil homage……#Salute #MCHG

    • johnblacksad

      I peeped that at first listen… yeah, cool to see Hov (born Dec.4th) pay homage to Pimp C (Died on Dec. 4th)

      Chad Butler
      Russell Jones
      Keith Elam

      God knows how much i miss these three brothers!!! They really are like big brothers to me! God i love these brothers!
      Guru, Ol’ Dirt & Pimp… REST IN PARADISE!

  • Harrison Boateng

    When Hov did the interview on the breakfast club. He mentioned how he thinks this review was very good. He said the kid from AHH review was more detailed compared to the review the guy from the New York times made.

  • LetsBeRealpeople

    If this album was so great, I’d hear it played in public: coffee shops, stop lights, record stores, my cousin’s kitchen, sports bars, deja vu… this album sold millions and it is not being played in public. Call hater all day, but where are you hearing people play this album? I am not even seeing references to it on FB as the cut. I have at least 618 in my network, from Las Vegas-Macau. Where are these millions of people listening to this album? Are they closeted?

    • johnblacksad

      I’m not gonna call you a hater… but you still need more people.

      • LetsBeRealpeople

        How many more? I live in a port city and my network is hooked up to cirque entertainment, music festivals, When you say a lot more, I mean really? I got two years left to be in the idea buyers demographic. Enlighten me on more.

    • Casor_G

      The album is a 6 his second weakest album next to Blueprint 2

    • Hakim Ziyad-Bey

      lol, 600 friends…

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  • Josh Kriese

    This album was weak.

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  • Jay-Z himself appreciated the depth of this review. He referenced Purgatory and seemed to agree. That’s the ultimate nod.

  • DJ

    When judging music now (especially rap), people who listen for good analogies and concepts must realize that when reading “reviews” and blog comments about this album, please remember this: MOST of the readers/writers don’t have the the life background (projects, drugs, poor, inner-city black male) he has, don’t have the world exposure he has (most young and/or poor listeners can’t relate to rap about travel to other continents or even other countries so the experience isn’t there. They prefer listening to rap about clothes because that’s within reach), don’t understand the thought concepts (uses a lot of analogies and references that requires thought-Oceans and Jay Z Blue are great examples), and yes there is talk of money, but if they listen, you can hear the acceptance of being responsible to family, wife and children and we all know that’s never been popular in rap. So opinions are good. Just consider where the reviews are coming from.

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  • AFRICA

    THE ALBUM IS GOOD

  • Hakim Ziyad-Bey

    If you don’t know the references you will get lost. HE is nice word up. I feel like this is hip hop honest personal. My man this is a great review. The Jay-Z Blue Big and Mommy dearest samples and song are so hip hop if you didn’t catch it you might not have listened to Big echoing those lines in a dark room after his death. The homage and pure spitance that Jay put it into a song perfectly.

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  • rbx112@gmail.com

    Lyricism –5/10

    Production –6/10

    Album Cohesiveness –4/10

    Replay value –3/10

    Overall –5/10