MAGNACARTA (Photo Courtesy Of Google Images)

 Magna Carta Holy Grail (Pre-Order)

No, Magna Carta Holy Grail isn’t a new Dan Brown novel. It’s another musical effort by Hip-Hop legend Shawn Carter aka Jay-Z. Now like any other Hip-Hop fan, I immediately got excited. I mean come on, a new Jay-Z album right before I go to see him on tour. However, within minutes reality set in, which Jay-Z were we getting? Reasonable Doubt, Life & Times, Blueprint, American Gangster, or the dreaded Kingdom Come. My question was truly answered at 11:01pm on July 3, 2013. Unlike the Samsung users, my iPhone (sorry had to do it) immediately started to play Mr. Carter’s newest LP.  Here is a track by track review:

1. “Holy Grail” F/ Justin Timberlake – Accompanied by a piano and a Nirvana “Smells Like Teen Spirit” sample, both JT and Jay-Z tell us about their love/hate relationship with fame. This song is a perfect introduction to the album. By the way Timbaland did his thing on the boards.

2. “Picasso Baby” – This song can easily have been a lost track off the Watch The Throne album. The track is descent. The beat switch at the end is the best part.

3.  “Tom Ford” – The “N****s In Paris” of the album. Hov is just talking rich talk. But with just $3 in your pocket, you still will be rapping along. And yes that’s Beyonce rapping alongside him at the end. “I don’t pop mollies, I rock Tom Ford.”

4. “F***withmeyouknowigotit” F/ Rick Ross – Both Officer Ross and Hov brag about their trip to Europe. Beat is sick. This song is definitely for the D-boys who are in the club fresh as hell on the first of the month.

5. “Oceans” F/ Frank Ocean“The only Christopher we acknowledge is Wallace.” Well of course Mr. Carter. Frank Ocean comes through and murders another hook. If you heard Frank Ocean’s “Sweet Life,” this song is the rap version of it.

6. “F.U.T.W.” – This song is so pre – Blueprint Jay-Z. From the beat to the flow, this is classic Jay. This track is for the fans looking for old Hov.

7.  “Somewhere In America” – The horns are Swizz Beats at his best. This track sounds like they remixed the party scene in the movie The Great Gatsby. Oh and “Twerk Miley Miley Twerk,” (LOL).

8. “Crown” – First and foremost the beat was produced by a 16-year old girl. Who runs the world? (LOL) Honestly the beat is the only reason I listened to this song.

9. “Heaven” – With a reference to R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion,” this is one of my favorites off the album.  Jay-Z is doing what he does best over an Adrian Younge’s “Reverie” sample.

10. “Versus (Interlude)” – The opening line is all I have to say …

11. “Part II (On the Run)” F/ Beyonce – This song is supposed to be a sequel to “03 Bonnie and Clyde.” And I must say it’s 10 times better than the original because the original is ……

12. “Beach is Better (Interlude)” – This should be a full song.

13. “BBC” F/ Nas, Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, Swizz Beats, & Timbaland – Imagine a mashup between Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” and Jay-Z’s “Roc Boys” and you have this song. Nas didn’t disappoint either. Thank the lord.

14. “Jay-Z Blue” – A song dedicated to his daughter Blue Ivy. Hov describes how he’s afraid to be a bad dad. Followed by Mommy Dearest clips and a Notorious B.I.G. “My Downfall” sample, this song is descent. Not much replay value.

15. “La Familia” – Clearly this song is Hov responding to Lil Wayne after he took shots at him on his last album. This song should’ve been an interlude.

16. “Nickel and Dimes” – Over a Gonjasufi “Nikels and Dimes” sample, Jay gets to reminiscing. Hov’s reminiscing and storytelling is why he is considered one of the greats.

First, lets applaud Timbaland for stepping up to the plate and hitting a home-run.  The production on this album is impeccable.  Jay-Z also sounded like he was enjoying himself, unlike the Watch The Throne album, where he sounded like he owed someone a favor.  Is this album a classic? Who knows? But I will say this; this album is a real good look for Hip-Hop. It seems like lately Hip-Hop is actually going back to what we loved about the 90’s era. With Shawn Carter helping to usher it in, I’m here for it. So on July 9th, go get that new Jay-Z album. And if you don’t like it, I’ll refund you with monopoly money. – Pooh Bailey