If you like Jay-Z already, you should love his latest album, “Magna Carta Holy Grail,” out in stores and digital non-Samsung form today. It’s easily his strongest work since “The Black Album” and ranks up there among the top four or five of his career.
Jay-Z albums tend to have too many tracks, too much filler, too many forgettable beats. MCHG features some stellar production, definitely a “post-Yeezus” album in its use of more stripped-down, electronic sounds, though I don’t know how much cross-pollination there was between the two albums as there aren’t any shared features or producers.
At 16 tracks, MCHG could have been cut a little closer (lose the regrettable “La Familia” and the forgettable “JAY Z Blue” for starters, and since Rick Ross is involved, “F*ckwithmeyouknowigotit” could go, too [though I admit it’s not bad despite Ross’s involvement]) but overall there’s a lot of winners here. “Tom Ford” sounds like one of the best “Yeezus” cuts, “Somewhereinamerica” features a horn bassline that is destined for use in NBA highlight reels, “BBC” is Jay-Z’s best party beat in a while.
It’s solid. It may be one of the best hip-hop albums of the year. I’ll listen to it 1,000 times before I ever reach for “Kingdom Come” or “Blueprint 3” again, that’s for sure.