The Partnership With Jay Z and Samsung Broke Records. But was the album worthy of hip hop lyrical respect or was it just another mediocre album?
Jay Z’s latest musical effort on Magna Carta Holy Grail, seems to establish the artist as a victim of his own achievements – lyrically speaking. The majority of the album is concerned with his relationship with success, and his relentless exploration of such subject matter results in a frankly stale and underwhelming record.
The album sees some interesting moments like the duality in ‘Oceans’ as the rapper considers the luxury in partying on a yacht, whilst also recognising that the water that heralds such revelry is that which brought over his forefathers as slaves. There is also an endearing sincerity in ‘Jay Z Blue,’ in which he addresses his fears that accompany fatherhood, after his own experiences with his father- “…father never taught me how to be a father, treat a mother/ I don’t wanna have to repeat another, leave another.”
However, it is difficult to connect with a rapper who, on the one hand, treats his fame with such contempt, (‘Holy Grail’) whilst salaciously bragging of its benefits in the next song (‘Picasso Baby.’).
The production is mostly handled by industry heavyweight Timbaland with appearances from Mike Will made It, and Pharrell Williams amongst others. Whilst the beats are catchy, they are simply more of the same, and when compared to the radical experimentation in Yeezus, the other much-anticipated Hip Hop album of this year, they are nothing special.
Hip hop has seen some changes in recent times, and whilst a torrent of newer west coast groups like Odd Future and Black Hippy delight younger generations of Hip Hop fans, with their innovative rapping styles, content and often trippy accompanying vids, some might wonder if the king of New York is losing his relevance.
Written by Deepti Bahal