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Jay Z returns with ‘Magna Carta Holy Grail’

By Jesse Campbell (jesse.campbell@mountaintimes.com)



Article Published: Jul. 18, 2013 | Modified: Jul. 18, 2013
Jay Z returns with ‘Magna Carta Holy Grail’


Jay Z is like Michael Jordan. He just can’t leave the game.

When he does make a high-profile return, he rarely disappoints and rewards his followers with flashes of greatness and powerful hooks that are without prejudice, setting his sights on anyone who doubts his rhymes.

Like Jordan’s high-arching jump shot, Jay Z has a timeless flow, which brazenly shines through in outright arrogance on his latest studio album, “Magna Carta Holy Grail.”

No one is safe in Jay Z’s latest retort, as he races through his verbal hit list on all of his so-called “haters.”

He audaciously thumbs his nose at the White House and critics of his trip to Cuba in “Open Letter.”
“Obama said, ‘Chill you gonna get me impeached/You don’t need this (stuff) anyway, chill with me on the beach,’” Jay rhymes.

The veteran Brooklyn rapper also scoffs at the laughable claims that he is somehow involved in a certain secret organization in “Heaven.”

“Conspiracy theorists screaming Illuminati. They can’t believe this much skill is in the human body. He’s six-foot-two, how the (expletive) he fit in that new Bugatti,” he sings.

Likely to become the album’s highest chart rating track, “Holy Grail” features the vocal talents of Justin Timberlake in a song about an emotionally abused lover who keeps returning to his partner for more of the same in the rollercoaster-style romance.

For once, Timberlake shines through brilliantly, offering a smoother complement to Jay’s fast-paced and jab-filled lyrics. Jay Z also pays his respects to the music greats he grew up with, including Nirvana.

“Kurt Cobain, I did it to myself,” Jay sings before he is interrupted with Timberlake’s echoing Nirvana ode, “and we are all just entertainers, acting stupid and contagious.”

Jay Z also tackles the hardships and invasions of privacy that accompany the perils of becoming a rap immortal.

“Now I got tattoos on my body. Psycho … in my lobby. I got haters in the paper, photo shoots with paparazzi. Can’t even take my daughter for a walk. See them by the corner store, I feel like I’m cornered off,” Jay Z sings, while possibly hinting at another retirement when he says, “Enough is enough, I’m calling this off.”

“BBC,” featuring Nas and Beyonce, is the one track that seems completely out of place on the album and seems better suited to the likes of Pitbull or another rapper.

Other notable tracks worth a few repeats on the iPod are “Nickels and Dimes,” “Picasso Baby” and “Versus.”

Above all else, Jay Z rarely disappoints in “Holy Grail.” He rediscovers his swag that made him a breakout star in the “Blueprint” album series.

By the sound of things, Jay still has 99 problems, but he’s no less capable of handling every single one of them, even if he has to lambaste a few people along the way.

“Magna Carta Holy Grail” is available at most retail outlets and comes in both clean and unedited formats.

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