Jay-Z: Magna Carta

Fri, Jul 12, 2013, 00:00


Magna Carta Holy Grail


Def Jam

Hip-Hop & Rap

As with all event albums, listeners will strip away the kerfuffle, hoopla and red herrings surrounding the new Jay-Z album before getting to the meat. Then again, what Shawn Carter raps about these days is the job of being a successful businessman and brand, and it’s a far different set of streets which watch him now. Between the striking sonic palette (excellent stitching from Timbaland throughout) and the customary deluxe lyrical swagger on tracks such as Tom Ford, Jigga does produce moments when questions are asked to which he doesn’t yet know the answers. Musings on faith (Heaven), philantropy (Nickels and Dimes) and parenthood (Jay Z Blue (Daddy Dearest) are the work of an artist caught between stations, exploring what successful, mature rappers can still offer the game. Even when in transition, though, Jigga’s skills still soar. Oceans is a highlight, with Jay-Z and Frank Ocean parsing slave ships alongside luxury yachts. lifeandtimes.com

Download: Oceans, Heaven