It took me a while to decide what I felt about Magna Carta… Holy Grail.
The album is currently on display next to one of the original manuscripts of the Magna Carta in an English museum. Would MCHG make it to any sort of museum on its merits? Not really.
It wasn’t bad. It wasn’t great. There’s a Tate Modern reference. There’s yet another foray into the dad-rap genre. There’s the (obligatory) Frank Ocean and the (new BFF) Justin Timberlake as guest crooners.
It feels almost impossible to talk about Magna Carta… Holy Grail in a void, devoid of comparisons with Yeezus. These are their first albums post the Throne collaboration, and while Kanye is going strong, crafting novel soundscapes and an exhilarating new anti-corporate manifesto, Jay-Z is another matter.
Mr. Z, for a man who once spoke the lines:
No lie, just know I chose my own fate
I drove by the fork in the road and went straight
as a promise of artistic coherence and integrity, now seems to be in a place in his career where the case for taking a wrong turn or two is getting stronger with every album he puts out.