Jay Z – “Magna Carta Holy Grail” – Review


Magna Carta Holy Grail is the long awaited album from Hip Hop legend Jay Z, which has been predicted to seriously up the levels regarding mainstream hip hop releases. After hearing extremely positive things about the album we decided to give it a quick listen.

Although slow to begin with, the progression of the album is solid. Although not the greatest lyricist to ever work within hip hop, Jay Z’s choice of instrumentals and influence in the studio is clear to hear. Many themes and different styles are introduced as the album progresses from start to finish.

Features include Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, Rick Ross and Frank Ocean. The best thing about the range of features is that the guest artists play major roles in each of the tracks they are featured in rather than a verse roughly thrown on the end of a running out instrumental, which sadly is happening more and more within Hip Hop. For example, Frank Ocean’s feature on “Oceans” is the piece of the track which makes it memorable.

The album has a total running time of just under an hour, which seems to represent the high standard of technical creativity within the production of the album. More raw, acoustic sounding instrumentals are meshed with a variety of more techy, electronic trap-style beats. An example of this fusion can be heard on “Tom Ford” which employs an 8bit sounding lead synth layered over roughly quantised acoustic sounding drum hits.

The highlight of the whole album is definitely the incredible range of styles within the instrumental catalogue used. “Somewhereinamerica,” “Picasso Baby” and “F.U.T.W” are all great examples of the extremely high standard of production which resonates throughout the album.

What Jay Z seems to have accomplished by releasing this is that he still has the musical ability and intent to create classic tracks across the whole of the hip hop spectrum. This has been achieved by introducing a larger range of sub genres of hip hop at the same time as employing a number of different producers to work together. “MCHG” is one of the best Hip Hop releases so far this year for certain, although only time will tell if it is going to be as revolutionary as predicted.

Written By Jay Mcdougall.

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