Jay-Z's 'Magna Carta Holy Grail' has received mixed reviews from critics.
Jay-Z's twelfth studio album Magna Carta Holy Grail rolled out to Samsung users this week - thanks to a multi-million dollar deal - though critics are beginning to have their say on a record that flew somewhat under the radar following the release of Kanye West's much hyped Yeezus.
The fairly mediocre publicity push for Holy Grail will not have worried Jay-Z, for he probably wants the music to do the talking. So what is it saying?
Some criticism of the record - besides the overblown title - has been directed at Hova's silly boasts, though it's hardly worth getting hung up about a millionaire rapper telling you what he's got now is it?
Ludovic Hunter-Tilney of the Financial Times correctly looked past the gall, writing that Jay-Z "explores the theme of black success with wit; but beneath the clever boasts there's also an intriguing layer of ambivalence, as with the pun on slavery and shopping when he depicts himself in a designer clothes store "picking cotton" with a black Amex card."
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Helen Brown of the Daily Telegraph argues that Kanye's Yeezus is the more intelligent record, plied with strange references that at times makes it a tough listen. Jay-Z, on the other hand, "lays everything out for the lazy listener. He can't reference Kurt Cobain without singing a few bars of Smells like Teen Spirit. He can't just compare himself to "Pablo, baby", he's got to make sure we know that's Pablo PICASSO."
In the title track, Jay-Z acknowledges, "We're all just entertainers/And we're stupid and contagious," which may be true - though selling Samsung 1 million copies of the album for a guaranteed $5 a pop sounds anything but stupid to us.
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