Once you're able to get past the semi-absurd notion that Jay-Z decided to employ former-N'syncer Justin Timberlake to re-sing some Nirvana lyrics, "And we all just / entertainers / and we're stupid / and contagious," "Holy Grail" is actually a pretty awesome album opener/lead single contender. While Jay-Z & Beyoncé were spotted at a Grizzly Bear show pre-Blueprint 3 and Empire of The Sun frontman Luke Steele actually sang back-up vocals on that very album, it seems as though Beyoncé's 27-year-old Indie Rock-loving little sister Solange really has quite the influence on Jay-Z's varied musical tastes; Not only does Magna Carta Holy Grail (MCHG) feature interpolated Nirvana & R.E.M. lyrics, but it also makes use of M.I.A. and Alternative Hip-Hop weirdo Gonjasufi samples, "Bad Girls" and "Nikels and Dimes" respectively. Thanks to Samsung Galaxies, MCHG has already "sold" 1 million+ copies nearly 5 days ahead of it's Tuesday, June 9th wide release.
After a few early listens, it's a weirdly-assembled clunky-sounding album overall -- something we've kinda grown to expect from a live wire like Kanye, but not from a seasoned emcee and entrepreneur like Jay-Z. It's been a damn good 2-3 week stretch for Hip-Hop and fresh on the heels of Kanye and Run The Jewels' excellent genre-blending albums, a mish-moshed 16-track collection like Magna Carta Holy Grail sadly, just hits a little left of center. But don't let me discourage you, if you're a long-time fan, Magna Carta Holy Grail is definitely a worth while, interesting listen... even for it's sheer Monday morning water cooler capabilities; I just think Jay-Z could've easily stopped when initially "retiring" with The Black Album, which spawned Danger Mouse's ingenious Grey Album mash-up. Early favourites include: "Holy Grail," "Picasso Baby," "Nickels and Dimes," "Tom Ford," "Somewhere In America," and "BBC" #noorder.
Roc-Nation managed to recruit Justin Timberlake, Rick Ross, Frank Ocean, Beyoncé, Nas, and Pharrell with production work submitted by everyone from Timbaland to Mike WiLL Made It. However. my biggest qualm with Magna Carter Holy Grail is more or less a minor stylistic touch: slightly tweaking the title so that it would've read "Magna CartER Holy Grail," a la Sean Carter. It just seems like a slight mis-step on Jay-Z's management an PR teams' part(s), who arguably already spent multi-millions promoting the album online, across elaborate billboards, NBA Finals commercial spots, with Samsung's specially-designed app, etc. While Jay-Z's currently headed out on a 15-date co-headlining Legends of The Summer [baseball stadium] tour with repeat collaborator Justin Timberlake, veteran Yeezus/MCHG producer Mike Dean basically confirmed that "Watch The Throne 2" is indeed in-the-works!? Unlike Magna Carta Holy Grail, which is out world-wide July 8-9th, WTT2 currently lacks a solid release date. But I'd guestimate that it'll most likely end up fully materializing by Summer 2014 or before.