Jay-Z’s “Magna Carta Holy Grail”: There’s Levels To This S**t! [Music Review]

Jay-Z-MagnaCartaHolyGrail Black The set-up, the anticipation, the timing and the promotion was ridiculous. I’m sorry if you’re going to drop an album, drop that sh** with FunkMaster Flex bombs droppin’ from here to Baghdad (Shout Out To Outkast) and that’s exactly how Jigga did it on Hot 97 before July 4th, the official chance to download the album for free with Samsung Galaxy products. The intricacy of the release was definitely “so covert that it was overt” as if it was an operation headed by S.H.I.E.L.D. and The Avengers. How Jay-Z managed to pull off a Win-Win deal with Samsung was only how the God MC “shows you how to move in a room full of Vultures.” It’s like Hov still on the block over on Marcy movin’ product but instead of that white it’s that crack music and mobile device apps. Even the date of July 4th was brilliant in the fact that it was the Holiday, about 5 days to get into the album, talk about it, quote lyrics, parlay about it at the cookouts/pool parties and almost 7 days before you can actually purchase the download or physical CD. Got to give it up to his Roc Nation marketing team with Scavenger Hunts in Brooklyn and Samsung for taking this “New Rules” approach.

Magna Carta Cathedral Please believe that Hova easily picked yesterday to go on a full fledge Twitter Q&A with the fans answering most of his mentions to milk the last promotional opportunity for those who didn’t have Samsung Galaxy products that were going to purchase the CD today July 9th from record stores, Best Buys, Targets and iTunes. “He’s not a Businessman, he’s a Business man!” I have to say this, on “Holy Grail” Justin Timberlake puts his foot into the hook. I haven’t heard JT go in like that in a minute. Mr. Carter kicks perspective on the love for fame and give it up but some part of you wants to be normal unfortunately fame is “helluava drug.” And yes I’m about to do the unprecedented and confess something…..I had that “Part II (On The Run)” featuring Beyonce aka Mrs. Carter on repeat for a couple of plays lol. I don’t know about anybody else but I believe this was a great sequel to “Bonnie & Clyde ’03.” It’s a smoother more matured version than the original. It shows although things are different but still stays the same. Bey straight stays in the R&B lane as that ride or die chick on this track produced by Timbaland and Jerome”Jroc” Harmon. Mr. Carter spits that good girl fell in love with a bad boy cliche “I been wilding since a juvi/She was a good girl till she knew me/Now she is in the drop bussin’ a U’ee.” Beyonce: “I hear sirens while we make love/Loud as hell but they don’t know/They’re nowhere near us/I will hold your heart and your gun/I don’t care if they come, noooo” aka cuffing season.

Magna Hov On Bldg If you had one studio session that you could be a witness to this would be one of them for the track “BBC” produced by Pharrell Williams. This club banger features the Rat Pack of Nas, Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, Swizz Beats, Timbaland and Pharrell just to be a fly on the wall to witness the creative process for this joint. These two King MCs took me back to that 80’s/90’s D-Boy Billionaire flow talkin’ that, Nas: “Bally shoes, Gucci sneakers
Pharrell’s a pharaoh, peep the features/Unlaced Adidas/Top of the world like pyramids in Giza/Fila sweats, 88 I rocked a mock neck/Carried a nine in my projects/Bucket hat EPMD cassettes.”
And to take the flow like a handoff from the Quarterback Jigga burst through the line with “Rope chains, Rakim and Eric B/Bought my sidekicks Suzuki Jeeps and Cherokees/Hoop earrings/Coupes with the rear cameras/Put that bitch in a cherry M3/I’m not ya average dope dealer/Silver Toyotas four runners and four wheelers/Me and Teflon Q45 infinite/Windows tinted/White girl all up in it/Britney,b**ch/MCM seats buck 50 stitch.” S dot opens up again about his daughter the Notorious B.I.C. Blu Ivy on “Jay-Z Blue” including some Notorious B.I.G. sample from “My Downfall.” The exerts from “Mommie Dearest” just accents the song. “Picasso Baby” is that classic big boy Basquiat flow with that Timbo crank up. The toxic and laced Timbo track with JRoc “Tom Ford” extends the “Suit & Tie” movement infectiously. So I don’t want to see no TF tee-shirts and belt buckles because Tom Ford don’t make those lol. It was a buzz before the album dropped that Raekwon would feature on the album and to me that song would’ve been “Heaven” so it would be an injustice if the Chef isn’t on the remix because Hov kills it but Raekwon is written all over this one. The 16 year old Ebony “Wondagurl” Oshunrinde gets production credits on this gritty track “Crown” which is that reminder that Hov is still well equipped to defend the throne. “SomeWhereInAmerica” if you’ve been under a rock, ignited a public show of respect to Miley Cyrus for going against the grain. Some other favorites for me are “F.U.T.W.,” “F**kWithMeYouKnowIGotIt” featuring Rick Ross, “Versus,” and “Beach Is Better.” This is a very good album from Jay a must cop for any Hip-Hop fan because he gets back to that but it’s also a must cop for any music fan who can appreciate the innovativeness of this album. Any question if he is still relevant to the game you need to “F**kWithHovYouKnowHeGotIt.”

Nas’ “Life Is Good,” But What About The Album? [Music Review]

The Queensbridge MC has returned. And once again one of the greatest lyricist of all time is Live At The BBQ like it’s the 4th of July, the kid is grillin’ wordplay and sparkin’ lyrical fireworks as usual. There’s nothing like refreshing hip-hop in the morning, s**t all day everyday for that matter. Life is Good is more than a solid contribution, it’s a big “I’m still that MC you catz dream to be.” If this album had an alternative name it would be “Man Up” because NaS doesn’t shy away from his publicized divorce with his ex-wife pop artist Kelis. Life is Good is what’s good in hip-hop straight from the intro with “No Introduction” produced by Justice League. One of the already released singles “Nasty” along with “Daughters” which is a great take on the father’s perspective and trust in raising a girl to be a woman in this full track by No I.D. with an equally fresh music video.

One of my favorite tracks because of its honesty is “Bye Baby” produced by Salaam Remi & Noah”40″Shebib. It’s a song with a cleverly used sample of the infamous R&B group Guy and their street smash “Piece of My Love” in which Nas goes in a little in-depth about the good times and bad times to the end of his relationship with the misses. Please believe this work is all about his marriage, he goes into the essence of taking you on a tour of the hood in his story telling with Salaam Remi laced track “A Queens Story.” As the beat drops only over melody the keys of black & white ivories he spits: Now I’m the only black in the club with rich Yuppie kids/Sad thing, this is the top, but where the hustlers went?/No familiar faces around, ain’t gotta grab the musket/It’s all safe and sound, champagne by the bucket/Where them n****s I shouted out on my first sh*t?/Bo cooking blow, f***ing slay that, where Turkey went?/Old videos show n****s that was murdered since/Another reason to get further bent/Put your glass high if you made it out the stash spot/And here to tell your story and celebrate the glory/Drinks in the air for my n****s not here/This for the fallen soldiers/Hold it down, I told ya/Pop another bottle and keep the smoke rollin’.

What other way to be classic than to do a Salaam Remi, Rodney Jerkins, DJ Hot Day & Nas track featuring the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul Mary J. Blige with “Reach Out” and “Loco-Motive” featuring the one and only Large Professor by No I.D. Just in time for the summer and bangin’ in the clubs is “Summer On Smash” produced and featuring Swizz Beatz & Miguel will definitely have you droppin’ the top and poppin’ that Ace reiterating life is good. It wouldn’t be a NaS album without the Icon droppin’ some knowledge on the masses and he succeeds with “World’s An Addiction” featuring the soulful vocals of Anthony Hamilton with It’s better to dead a beef than let it breathe, then we don’t succeed/Cause then you gotta murder dummies/Waste your time they allergic to money/I’m never squeamish to blood, we can thug, and get out of hand, what’s the options?/Only conclusion is shooting bullets, poppin, hoodlums droppin’, fear any day that the feds will come knocking. With the assistance of Salaam Remi, Da Internz & God rest his soul the Icon Heavy D delivers the infectious track “The Don” and “Accident Murderer” featuring Rick Ross reclaiming his spot as a legend in the game. Although she will be missed NaS lets us relive and enjoy the classic voice of a fallen songstress Amy Winehouse on “Cherry Wine.”

“You Wouldn’t Understand” accompanied by Victoria Monet NaS reminisces hanging with some hustlers stackin’ dough and cruisin’ lavish before they eventually hit the bing. The deluxe version contains songs produced by Boi 1da, Salaam Remi and No I.D. produced “Where’s the Love” featuring a Roc Nation conglomerate with the exception of Common named Cocaine 80s which includes James Fauntleroy, Makeba Riddick, No I.D., Kevin Randolph, Steve Wyreman & Rob Kinelski. NaS and “Life Is Good” is the one of those solid hip-hop totally infused with essence of hip-hop resurrecting the music that was once thought to be dead or on life support about to get the plug pulled. If you had any doubts if life was good for NaS, peep this well put together artwork to feed that cultural hunger. If you ask me, NaS’ life is pretty damn good right now so cop it and experience the good life.

Originally posted on gstylemag.com

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