“Whats art without constructive criticism, perhaps fart”
So last week while I maintained my almost every Wednesday ritual and sat in the bar on the ground floor of silverbird cinema and pouring into my Heineken glass wondering how best to unwind the day’s stress. See a movie? Polish a poem? Sketch a biz strategy? Or maybe just sit and tweet a lot about the music I was listening to. yea!! I should tweet about Jay’s new album “Magna Carter Holy Grail”.
So I had just posted my first two tweets, read the retweets before I decided to do a little blog review on it, dang!! That’s it, its needed.
Meanwhile Jay is getting ready to start his already sold out tickets for MCHG album tour by November ending which will run through January ending next year. I think to myself how much more successful can a hip hop business mogul get; this is a CD that sold platinum even before its official release date.
the point I’ll be making in this piece is that the magna carter Holy Grail album though a tremendous success already is NOT what I expected it to be, at least lyrically and hip hop content wise. It’s a slap
Before I continue, note that I am a huge fan of Shawn carter (my friends know this). Sometimes I even think am a bit biased in his favor when I talk about him and his success. But lets not leave hip-hop and its culture in this case.
From The way Jay-Z released Magna Carta… Holy Grail – by teaming with Samsung, selling a million copies before the album was even released, and releasing it via a specialized app- is troubling, not because it was heavily commercialized, it’s because the marketing process turned out to be more thoroughly thought out than the majority of the album’s lyrics. Hip hop wasn’t birthed this way, hip hop from day one based her culture on lyrical content, knowledge kick, storytelling and smart word play (even Jayz knew this)
He obviously used his power in the game to push this CD, from involving some of the best’ in hip hop as usual to work on the production of the album to influencing of the mad sales of the copies. No one should have a problem with these, but it bothers me that yet, after all these classic influence on the business he still laced the well-structured beats with lazy lines and tired deliveries .
we all know his style, we can’t take the boasting away from him, its who he is, but come on he used to make the bragging more interesting and not leaving the true aim of the genre, I mean whatever happened to his reasonable doubt , blueprint days of “…eyes behind shades cos her necklace is the reason all of ma days were blind dates”, what happened to such smart metaphors that would leave hip hop heads (like me) with assignment and deep to decipher.
Whatever happened to his lyrics that based on marcy projects and his broklyn dreams? whatever happened to his skillful wordplay and internal rhymes and paradox’? what even happened to his constant reminder to us of his affiliation with the free masons and the way he skillfully presented it with class and intelligence. I found that missing in this album. Personally its okay to say that Jay Z practically recorded an album just because he knew it would sell, no matter what. His prowess speaks for him.
It’s unfair and immature to begrudge Jay-Z for being wealthy and powerful, and yes we know he parties with the warren buffets’ of this world, his baby is about the luckiest child on earth , he’s the only one having sex with beyonce. But then, consistently reminding your listeners of their inadequacy is not only old, but stylistically boring. It leaves his fans and dedicated hip hop aspiring cats in general , with no sincere inspiration or something to look up to.
I wouldn’t want to start mentioning the songs track by track, but I looked forward to listening to “somehere in america” so badly cos’ of its title and knowing how Jay would kill such title, but then the song begins and that fantastic, soulful piano line kicks in, one would expect Jay-Z to rap about something relevant to the country dreams or her ills. Instead we get tone deaf celebrations of ostentatiousness and Jay’s creepy giggling at the thought of Miley Cyrus twerking. Honestly That’s crap. “twerk miley miley, twerk” total crap.
However I love Jay, he has made classics that would be here forever, his hustle story stands as yardstick to most of us, he’s a role model, he has proven his relevance in the game. We have even overlooked a lot of disrespectful things he has said In the past like “..am Jay….Hova (meaning Jehova)”. Like I said, we love him. But then he needs to chill, he has seen all the decades in hip hop, he has sold, he has even retired himself before, un-retired himself again, he needs to chill. Moreover age 50 is around the corner for him. Parenthood should be more important to him now.
In conclusion, Magna Carter Holy Grail is a successful album by a relevant music business entrepreneur and hip hop mogul, But there’s not much on Magna Carta . . . Holy Grail that he hasn’t said before, in more interesting ways.
So With all due respect I say “thumbs down”
This is my critic
(Skips to kanye’s yeezus album)