Lists, Pop Culture

The One Where I Write About Magna Carta Holy Grail

JayZ_MagnaCartaHolyGrail_608x608Jay just released Magna Carta Holy Grail. Or at least he released it to Samsung phone owners and the rest of us got it from them. I’d like to say its an interesting album but it isn’t. In fact, by my estimation, it is his worst album.

Yes. I said it. His worst album. That’s not to say its a terrible album. A mediocre Jay album (Vol. 3, Blueprint 3, Kingdom Come) is still going to have some straight up gems on it…though rarely does he perform any songs from those albums. It’s just wildly underwhelming from both a lyrical and a production standpoint. In fact, I feel like nobody involved in this effort put their best footz forward. MCHG is what happens when a bunch of very accomplished, very rich, very talented, bored people get together to make an album because well, that’s what accomplished, rich, talented people who make music do.

I’m very sure many people will love this album. And that’s aces. The good thing about  Jay album is that it still maintains its cultural significance of being a thing. The idea of a Jay album is possibly more important than the output at this juncture. Same thing with Yeezus, at least Yeezus took risks and you keep listening despite telling yourself there’s no reason to. Timbaland stated this in a recent interview about MCHG and I was like, “yes honey chile boo boo…” Except I totally didn’t.

Anyway, after multiple (and I do mean multiple) listenings of MCHG since Thursday, here are 10 thoughts I have about Jay and the album:

1) Jay-Z truly needs a muse. Kanye West is Jay’s muse. While I felt like Jay-Z was also bored on Watch The Throne, at least he sounded like he was having fun and enjoying the moment. Kanye is a motivator for Jay. As somebody who has done everything one can do in hiphop, Jay needs somebody hungry to put a battery in his back. Kanye is forever hungry. Kanye is a battery. Jay feeds off his energy and its evident on everything they’ve done together.

2) MCHG = Rich Bored Nword Music. Real spit, I feel like this is the album that Stringer Bell would be listening to once he achieved whatever the f*ck he was trying to achieve had he left the dope game with his economics books and samurai swords and swanky downtown apartment with modern art and clean lines. Well, you know, if he ain’t catch a bad one at the hands of Brother Mouzone and Omar. And if that’s a spoiler for you, I feel sorry for your mother. It’s music created by rich bored nwords for rich bored nwords.

3) MCHG is basically Kingdom Come 2. KC was an album that people listened to then stopped listening to altogether. Nobody that most of us know as listened to KC in at least five years. It was full of pseudo attempts at depth and social relevancy (the gawdawful “Minority Report” specifically) and faux metaphorical depth like “Beach Chair”. Though I really did like “Beach Chair” but that’s mostly because I like telling people that life is, indeed, like a beach chair. Nobody will be listening to this album in a year. Hell, I know folks who have forgotten JT released an album recently and that sh*t Ricky Martins.

4) Jay-Z only seems to make good songs with Beyonce when they are on her albums. Thus far, he’s striking out with Bey songs on his albums, and “Part II” is no exception. “Upgrade You”? F*cking rocked. “Hollywood”? Not so much.

5) Hearing Jay sound so bored and lazy lyrically is a thing of wonder. The words are there. The flow is there. But for some reason, it just sounds like he’s saying what he’s supposed to say because, what else would Jay-Z say? One knock against Jay has always been his lack of diversity of subject matter. Now generally that doesn’t matter because if you do one thing that much better than everybody else, and you keep doing it better than everybody else, on super dope production, nobody has anything to complain about. But when you lose a step lyrically – even if you’re still on your grizzly just not as grizzly as before – and the music isn’t as exciting as its been in the past or as exciting as other music out, you end up making MCHG, an effort where the most exciting part of it is the marketing campaign. Case in point, “Pop That” made French Montana sound good. Don’t read too much into that sentence.

6) The marketing campaign was brilliant. Totes. “I’m not a business man, I’m a business, man…” And I’m exciting to see these artists cut out the middle men. Timbaland alluded to this in his REVOLT interview where he lauded that this is Jay’s best album (wrong) when he mentioned that he has one album left for Interscope then he can do something similar. Take the music directly to the public without the companies. Brilliance.

“…love to see young Blacks get money…” ~Dr. Dre

7) I also like how often Jay likes to reference Jean-Michel Basquiat. Hopefully he urges some young folks to look into the man’s work for educational purposes. This brings up an interesting tangent. I was remarking earlier today that I’ve learned more about fashionable brands and high end boutiquery via hiphop than anything else. I’m not sure what this says about me. But it’s possible that it says that I drink moscato because I like it. I don’t. It’s possible that you’d assume this about me. And I’d have to understand. I don’t like moscato at all by the way. Sh*t tastes like distilled Kool-Aid. Not that I’d never heard of Basquiat before Jay and Kanye decided to make him their cause or anything. I’m cultured. I pull up to the gallery with my ceiling missing.

8) I feel sorry for Ice Cube. If Ice Cube had released two more solid albums into the mid 90s, he’d definitely be in the conversation for GOAT. But he released shit like War & Peace. And now nobody remembers that for a solid 4 years Ice Cube was the scariest ninja alive AND the best rapper period. Socially conscious. Angry. Mobilizing. A brilliant wordsmith and storyteller and able to put together great albums. Oh, what does this have to do with Jay? Well luckily, Jay waited until he was almost 20 years into the music game to start making forgettable albums. Wile E. Coyote, Super Genius.

“…you’re a white guy and you make tacos like a Mexican…”

I just wanted to write that line.

9) The fact that Rick Ross sounds more believably convinced of his own excesses on “FuckWithMeYouKnowIGotIt” is not lost on me. He also sounds better on the song than Jay. This bothers me. I’m not sure what to do with this information but there’s a really good chance that I’ll just sit down with a crumpet, dip it in a delicious jam or jelly and scratch my pinky toe with salmon. Don’t judge me. It’s possible.

10) It might really be time for Jay to hang up the gloves. I mean, hell, it WAS time after The Black Album. But at this point, rapping is just one of the many things we know Jay does. He seems more popular for his mere existence and other endeavors. He’s possibly the only other rapper aside from Kanye who can maintain complete hip-hop relevance without releasing another album. That is how you know you’ve made it.

Those are my thoughts on MCHG and Jay right now. And because you care and its important, here’s my ranking of Jay’s studio albums (non-collab joints):

1. Reasonable Doubt

2. The Blueprint

3. The Black Album

4. American Gangster

5. Volume 2

6. Volume 1

7. Blueprint 3

8. Dynasty (does this count? I think we consider this a Jay album)

9. Volume 3

10. Kingdom Come

11. Blueprint 2

12. MCHG

So, have you heard MCHG? Thoughts? Should artists continue to art sh*t if its totally clear that they’re not nearly as invested as they used to be (this could be me calling the kettle black, btw)? How would you rank Jay’s discography?

Welcome back.


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Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is pretty fly (and gorgeous) for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. He refuses to eat cocaine chicken. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future. You can hit him on his hitter at

  • I haven’t listened to it yet. I’ll put it on my list along with the new Killer Mike.

    • Don’t do it- save yourself the trouble, LOL!

      • Both? Or just the Killer Mike?

        • Just Jay’s album. It’s a complete clusterf*ck of ideas.

          • Todd

            That’s interesting, because I *like* it because it’s a clusterf*ck of ideas. LOL

            • Eh….Talib Kweli’s “Prisoner Of Conscious” is better…much better…

              • kidvideo

                Havent heard POC yet, but Kweli stay gettin slept on…but the only way he gonna get heavy radio rotation is if he does a Molly/Lean/Big Booty song.

                • Not even. It’s amazing that he’s cool with Mos Def, yet hasn’t went along with that formula. He’s managed to get heavy rotation without pulling a cooning act. The thing is I’m not sure Talib Kweli would *like* heavy radio rotation. He comes off as one of those too-cool-for-school cats.

                • It’s a really good album and people are sleeping on him as always. I was surprised he did a song with Nelly and it wasn’t terrible, LOL!

                  • Todd

                    A song with Nelly that isn’t on this cooning crap? Well, I think that’s enough for Talib Kweli to win a Congressional Medal of Freedom unless dude is on some low-key Sandusky status. I think a trip to Pirate Bay for a “sample” copy is in order!

                • panamajackson

                  He got a song with Miguel. He’s trying. Thing is, I kind of think Kweli deserves to be slept on. He doesn’t do well with “mainstream” type of songs. And he’s tried. I think “Get By” gave him that taste of what could be and he’s been gunning for it again ever since.

        • Madlark

          Always listen to killer mike

    • Sahel

      Killer Mikes Reagan track goes deep

      • kidvideo

        Jay needs to make his version of Reagan

        • Sahel

          Jay cant hack going deep. You have to be an outlier rapper like Mike. Jay is too mainstream

          • The deepest Jay ever went was on the song “Meet The Parents”- and that’s not saying much…

      • Freebird

        Wow! Never heard this. Jay cant do this….

      • I love that track…..the video too.

  • I listened to “Magna Carta Holy Grail” just to see what the fuss was about. I should have read up on the album first. I saw that Timbaland produced almost the entire album and that should have been a red flag right there.

    Just when I thought “Watch The Throne” was awful, along comes this album. It makes “Kingdom Come” sound like a masterpiece in comparison.

    So as of now, Kanye and Jay-Z both released subpar albums this year- around the same time, no less!

    Oh well, I’ll go back to listening to Wale’s “The Gifted”.

    • Sahel

      She sure knows how to >>>>

    • Todd

      Wow…you think Kingdom Come is better than this? Wow…I’m shocked.

      Though what do you think of J. Cole? It sounds like an album you’d like. I need to sit down and listen to it myself.

      And what’s your issue with Timbaland?

      • As we all know, “Kingdom Come” was bad- it was basically an R&B album masquerading as a hip hop album. I’d rather listen to that than “Magna Carta Holy Grail”. His new album was just plain boring. I felt I was being tortured for listening to that God awful mess of an album.

        My honest opinion of J, Cole is that I would give him a listen were it not for the fact that he’s a terrible producer. As I have said on here numerous times before, if he let someone else get behind the boards, he may have a chance at being taken seriously.

        Lastly, my issue with Timbaland is pretty simple- he can make decent R&B and pop songs and/or albums. Hip hop songs or albums? Not so much. Production wise, he’s full of gimmicks and style, but empty on substance.

        • Todd

          I’m eye-to-eye with you except for MCHG. I do respect your opinion on MCHG. I’m not worried about J. Cole though. If his lyrical skill on this album can’t get him a decent producer to work with, nothing will.

          • He did get a decent producer- he got Jake One to do one song on his new album. Coinicidentally, that’s the only good song on there.

        • panamajackson

          Me and you are so >< on J. Cole's production. I just don't like it. And that makes it hard for me to listen to and/or appreciate him as an artist.

          • I’ll put forth an effort to listen to a J. Cole album if No I.D. was handling the production.

    • 321mena123

      I was listening to the radio this morning and they said that Kanye’s album already dropped 80% in sells which is the first time that’s happened in over a year for a #1 album. Was Kanye’s album really that bad or just not that good?

      • Todd

        I would say a bit of both. It tried so hard to be creative that it wasn’t that good. It’s OK. Just not a classic. I’ll say it like this: if some new artist put this out, it would barely go gold after six months.

      • Here’s where Kanye went wrong with “Yeezus”:

        Aside from rushing the album out (Which he recorded five weeks prior to its release date), he tried to experiment without knowing his limitations. Every artist/musician knows they have something they are not good at. Rather than attempt doing it, they just don’t bother with it. In Kanye’s mind, he felt he can do anything and everything due to his success and that wasn’t the case here.

        Sure he may have loved industrial music, but he did not have the talent and/or mindset for it. There’s a reason why Al Jourgensen and Trent Reznor are seen as the leaders in that field of music.

        • The Champ

          “Here’s where Kanye went wrong with “Yeezus”

          I don’t think he went wrong with it at all, though. feels like he made the album he wanted to make.

      • panamajackson

        I think PA is right…but he also is missing a radio single. His first week singles are everybody who loves Kanye going to cop it. But without something to drive the album and keep it in everybody’s head in this era where everything gets forgotten about in 24 hours…he’s gonna keep declining like that. They’re trying to run stuff on satellite radio, but its just not catching on. Even Bound 2, which is oldish Kanye ain’t exactly built for radio. Neither is “Blood on the leaves” which goes HARD in the club.

      • The Champ

        I think Kanye cares more about music critics and legacy than fans/record sells at this point. Not saying he doesn’t care about the latter at all, but it doesn’t seem like he’s driven by that as much as he cares about making something that would win a Grammy.

    • Kanye East

      Not a fan or Timbaland’s production talent?

      • I’ll put it to you this way:

        Out of all the albums produced by Timbaland, I only like two of them.

        Playa- Cheers 2 U
        Bubba Sparxxx- Deliverance

        • Kanye East

          What about his non hip hop offerings?

          • You mean like Justin Timberlake, Duran Duran and Nelly Furtado? *Yawn*

            • 321mena123

              JT’s album is great. Step off.

              • Justin Timberlake with The Neptunes>>>>Justin Timberlake With Timbaland

                “Justified”>>>>”FutureSex/LoveSounds” & “The 20/20 Experience”

                • 321mena123

                  #noteven #hush

                  20/20 Experience>FS/LS>Justified. Every album was better than the last.

                  • “Take It From Here”>>>>”Mirrors”- and it ain’t even close!

                    • 321mena123

                      Sir, take a seat. :-)

                      Blue Ocean Floor>LoveStonned>Still on my brain

                    • “Last Night”>>>>>”Pusher Love Girl”.

                    • panamajackson

                      “Take It From here” is a dope song. It’s not TOUCHING the second half of “Love Stoned/I Think that she knows”

                    • dmcmillian72

                      I seriously thought about logging out and liking this again as a guest! You are so right about the second half of “Love Stoned/I Think that she knows”. I used to fast forward the song just to listen to the second half!

                • keisha brown

                  this is why you and me go together PA. THIS IS WHY.
                  While i enjoyed all 3 albums, i hope 20/20 part deux has SOME Skateboard P.
                  this reminds me… gotta go see despicable me and get the soundtrack. i’ve seen good reviews for both.

                  • 321mena123

                    I really enjoyed part 1. It felt grown to me. I feel that all of his albums are better than the last b/c it transitions with his age and where he is in his life. Seeing that he is only a few years older than me, i feel like i am on that journey with him.

                    • keisha brown

                      i understand. but years later… i still love gone (i know technically an nsync song..but still). i like that he’s progressed as an artist which follows his transition in real life, but they are diff albums with different feels. i also personally prefer neptunes to timbaland. i find tim gets lazy and repetitive. he used to be so innovative.

                    • 321mena123

                      When Gone dropped, everyone knew that Justin was going solo. That song solidified the fact that he was going to be the one to jump ship first.

                  • As much as I’d like for them to work together again, I don’t think it’s going to happen. I think Justin is still mad at Pharrell for the stance he took at Jive over The Clipse. Even though that’s been about ten years ago, he’s still not happy about that decision.

                    • 321mena123

                      Do tell. What happened? Never heard about this.

                    • L.A. Reid took over Arista in 2000 and did too much overspending and not many records were being sold under his tenure. In 2004, Arista was folded and all of the people who were signed to Arista (Anthony Hamilton, Usher, Pink, Kelis and the Clipse) were moved to Jive. The problem was Jive had shifted their focus from hip hop to pop within that period and Pharrell felt the Clipse weren’t going to get a fair shake with Jive.

                      Not helping matters was not only Jive wasn’t interested in dealing with the Clipse, they didn’t want to let them out of their contract either. So a lengthy battle ensued between The Neptunes and Jive Records. Finally, Pharrell threw down the gauntlet and boycotted Jive Records by refusing to work with any of the artists signed to the label until the Clipse gets released from their contract. This is the primary reason why The Neptunes didn’t appear on Justin Timberlake’s “FutureSex/LoveSounds”, Britney Spears’ “Blackout” and Kelis’ “Kelis Was Here”.

                    • keisha brown


                    • Madlark

                      Ride or die with the Clipse. That’s another why Pharrell is my hero.

                    • One thing I can say about Pharrell is that he’s very loyal to the people he’s either worked with, discovered or was discovered by. That’s something you’ll never see in the music industry these days.

                  • panamajackson

                    I saw Despicable Me 2 this weekend. It rocked. Though I was exhausted, fell asleep, and was woken up by my daughter actually backhanding me. It took everything in my power to remember this was my child. She scrong.

                    • keisha brown

                      sweet. can’t wait. im going to go this week. :)

                • panamajackson

                  Yeah, I’m not sure this is true. This last album is quite the endeavor.

                • Man listen, so long as JT works with only Timbo and Pharrell, I’m good. Justified and Future Sex are both excellent in my opinion, so I couldnt place one above the other…I just dont think JT would ever flourish with any other producers….

        • Todd

          The thing with Timbaland is that when he feels like doing good hip-hop production, he can do it. He’s just not a huge fan of the genre. He’s even made statements six years ago about his generation “outgrowing” hip-hop. Take that for what you will.

          • 321mena123

            I agree with this.

          • The thing is he was a huge fan of hip hop until the projects he had high hopes for started tanking. The failure of Bubba Sparxx’s “Deliverance” is the sole reason why he abandoned hip hop for pop music.

            • Todd

              I’m going to need to see the receipts on that. Before Deliverance, it wasn’t like Timbaland was knee deep in hip-hop. He dabbled, sure, but you could tell he wasn’t a huge fan of the genre. I am curious as to why Deliverance went wood the way it did. I do remember some strange marketing decisions around the record. Odd…

              • Shamira

                Dabbled? Nah, son. I guess if you’re gonna claim that R&B is distinctly separate from Hip Hop – but he brought in hip hop drum breaks to the genre, so I don’t know how you can.

                The Timbaland/Missy Elliot collabos alone switched up the game. Timbaland made me a Magoo fan for no real reason. I won’t waste space listing t=all of his hip hop credits, I’m sure you know.

                Timbo’s problem with hip hop was that he felt that he wasn’t getting the respect he thought he rightfully deserved, having changed the sound trends multiple times – both in general acclaim as well as in financial compensation. Led to a falling out with a lot of the artists he used to work with. And then pop made more money. lol. He’s not the first producer to get all butthurt over hip-hop and he won’t be the last.

                • Todd

                  Calling Timbaland a hip-hop producer is a stretch at best. If you’re going to throw him in there, there are a LOT of people who need to get in line behind him.

                  • Shamira

                    such as…..?

                    Like genre crossing does not equal abandonment of roots. Even when he went pop, he brought a more “urban” sound to pop. When he does solo projects, they’re hip hop (and ill advised, lol)

                    to me that like saying that Outkast isn’t a rap group because of Speakerboxx/The Love Below. *shrugs*

      • panamajackson

        I’m a big fan of Timbo’s production. Just not on this album. Because let me tell you, sonically, “The Way I Are” will always reign supreme (though that could have been DanjaHandz work).

    • vixen

      The Gifted is a great listen

  • AfroPetite

    I like Crown and once I found out a 16 year old girl out of Canada produced it I kind of fell in love with it. I see you Wondagurl…I see you.

    • Tristan

      wondagurl has a bright future

    • 321mena123

      That’s awesome!!! I just saw a picture with her and her mom. Her mom’s afro isn’t playing any games. I hope she has continued success.

  • McNairian

    Man, MCHG is decent. Most of Jay’s rhymes are lackluster.

    Rap is a young man’s game. Jigga should have stopped after the Black Album. It feels uninspired.

    Top 5 Jigga albums:

    Reasonable Doubt


    Black Album

    Blueprint 2.1

    American Gangster.

    • Tristan

      agree partially, would i had been fine had black album been the end, maybe. but aside from kingdom come and maybe wtt, hes put out better products than top “new” artists

    • Todd

      Lackluster? Are you one of those “lyricism is overrated” types? Because that’s the only way that statement makes sense.

      • McNairian

        Not at all, I just feel the album is uneven. It’s starts with a bang and then after the first 3 songs, it gets kind of boring.

  • Madlark

    Disagree this is up there with The Blueprint as Jay’s best album. Reasonable Doubt has too much filler for me to be the best album so it sits firmly 3rd right after The Blueprint and The Black Album even though Dead Presidents II -> Feelin It are some of the best tracks he’s ever did. The only real flaw I’ve found with MCHG is that Frank Ocean has the best line on the entire album.

    It’s one of his most inspired albums to me actually. He made a song dedicated to his daughter that didn’t sound contrived and corny like pretty much every single rap song ever created in dedication to their children. It was honest and introspective about Jay’s conflicts as a man, as a father, and how he is putting in work to be a better father all-the-while using Mother Dearest as the sample. From a production side stand point every track seamlessly and perfectly bleeds into each other. Easily one of the more cohesive sounding albums to come out this year.

    For me, this album is the perfect marriage of Black Cool aesthetics and Black Capitalism. It’s a perfect demand of white people meeting Jay where he wants to be met rather than attempting to infiltrate them and drag them to where he wants to be. I mean that from both a marketing angle and throughout the album (Nickels and Dimes being the most obvious and probably best example over an entire track). I don’t think Jay’s ever so confidently and effortlessly laid out lyrically where he currently is in life thanks to the hustle. It’s an audacious scree of “it aint braggin if it’s true.” It’s really there with The Blueprint with me because it’s a great time and place album like The Blueprint was except no one is where Jay is at now. I know a lot of the lyrics have been dismissed as just garden variety braggadocio, but for me so much of this album is just perfectly executed.

    Heaven is the best track for me.

    • Todd

      Like the review. Though didn’t Nas do a song called Heaven? Which one do you like better?

      • The Champ

        Nas’s Heaven is one of my favorite songs

    • panamajackson

      I stopped reading after this is up there with The Blueprint as Jay’s best album.

      • Maharaja Misty

        Your opinions stopped counting once you admitted liking Coldplay

        • panamajackson

          LOL. two shay. I still like Coldplay though. Oh how I’ve enjoyed your thunderous return to the fray. lol.

    • Maharaja Misty

      Malik, that last paragraph. You get it. I don’t know how they missed it, but you got it.

  • NipseysKlub

    I think Jay muse is Beanie Sigel. I have always felt that Beans helped pushed Jay lyrically b/c there was always the chance Beans would outshine him. Also, Jay was free to go more mainstream/ radio friendly with his songs b/c he knew Beans was sitting back like a big joker when he needed to connect to the streets

  • kidvideo

    When MCHG singles were leaked, I didn’t have much faith that the album would be groundbreaking…just Jay rappin’ bout how much he likes Jay. Still haven’t heard the whole thing…I’ll hear it eventually.

    • Just listen to the songs “Somewhere In America” and “BBC”- and go no farther than that…

      • kidvideo


    • kidvideo

      Since everyone putting they fav Jigga albums in order, let’s take it back to hs pre- Reasonable Doubt, single days,just to show im not a Jay hater.

      My fav single was/is “In My Lifetime” (the original and remix)…He basically laid out that he would be the person that he ultimately became.

      It also helped that he had two mentors,(Jaz O & Big Daddy Kane) and he was able to see what they did right and(more important) what they did wrong.

      In my Lifetime (original)

      In my Lifetime(remix)

  • HRH Prince Farouk I

    This might not be Jay’s best album but I liked it. I listened to it keeping in mind what a complex experimental mind coitus Yeezus was so it was refreshing to hear an album that was basically simple, I didn’t need to listen to it like 10 times to get the nuances like I was in a damn Masterpieces of Western Art class. Screw that ivy league ish I m grown. Although I m sort of a jigga stan so it would take a lot to disappoint me, I think kingdom come did that. This album shows that even when jay-z is bored he makes a decent album. I ll give it 6/10. I now like Yeezus; Kanye and his illuminati got me. Lol

    • panamajackson

      I agree with you on Jay’s abilities. He’s a master at his craft. So its a decent album. But decent album for Jay gets more heavily criticized b/c thats how he’d want it. He’s the GOAT. He knows this. I do think you may be right…I did listen to it like…ah a normal album. Still not making me want to listen again, but normal.

      • Todd

        I disagree, but I have to respect that viewpoint. *tips cap*

  • Tristan

    reads post with the face a smack battle rapper has when the opponent spits

    i would switch bp3 and vol 1 and rank it as 7, not so much because i think its middle of the road as much as it is my affinity for the top 6. mchg is a great album, its what ive come to expect from jay, witty entendres, a couple of references to his life, and flawless production. holding him to a kanye standard is unfair, its like comparing kobe and lebron, they do two completely different things. jay is a rolling stone, a beatle, he makes hits that will live on for years, ye makes his albums timeless pieces that even his singles sound out of context. honestly i think jay has one more in him, he likely believes so as well seeing as mchg has no walk off shot, like an encore or forever young.

  • Todd

    Interesting review, and I’m not surprised you’re not a fan. Then again, we have different musical tastes, it makes sense. Ironically, while you think this is Kingdom Come 2, I think of it as In My Lifetime Vol. 1 Part 2….aka the version he really wanted to release if it wasn’t for the fact that Reasonable Doubt had disappointing Soundscan numbers. By the way, I find it really amazing that Vol 1. get sh1tted on the way it is even though it’s the reason so many people know who Jay-Z is.

    My faves on the record are Oceans (where Jay-Z is doing a rap-R&B collabo without either sounding like a sucker or that he’s trying to be “different” in a desperate attempt for sales a la Mobb Deep), Tom Ford and F.U.T.W. And I don’t know what you’re talking about with Rick Ross outshining Jay-Z. It was the same stuff Rick Ross always does. LOL

    OK, here are my rankings for Jay-Z’s discography:

    1. Black Album. And no, I’m not joking.

    2. Reasonable Doubt. Great concept. That said, there’s a reason this barely went gold the 1st time around

    3. The Blueprint. Well-executed, and it just happens to be Kanye West’s masterpiece…though a few songs took a while to grow on me.

    4.MCHG. If only all MCs aged so gracefully, they wouldn’t be cooning in Hollywood

    5. American Gangster. Ironically, he tried to out-artist Nas on this record…and it mostly works, keyword being mostly.

    6. Vol 1. You can make a pop hip-hop record without pandering, and this is an example.

    7. Blueprint 3. Still fun to listen to anyway, if only because he was clearly being experimental. Some stuff worked, some stuff didn’t.

    8. Vol 2. Hasn’t aged well, but still a fun listen.

    9. Blueprint 2. Eh…and that’s all I have to say about that.

    10. Volume 3. Not bad, but he mailed it in.

    11. Kingdom Come. I tried re-listening last week, and I fast-forwarded through half the album. Not a good sign.

    12. Roc La Familia. Trash. Why does Jay-Z insist on keeping this on his record is beyond me. Is it to try and keep himself humble? As a favor of Amil and Ja Rule? Because Beanie Sigel is extorting his royalties? No. Just no.

    • Tristan

      with dynasty, jay was always willing to dive on the sword for his brand….well back then he was. just like he gave anything and dear summer away

      • Todd

        Yeah…and you see how far it got his team, right? Does anyone know where Beanie Sigel is nowadays? And Memphis Bleek is the Tito Jackson of hip-hop. I mean, how many free hits can a dude get without actually blowing up? LOL

        • Kema

          He’s still friends with Freeway. :-)

          • AfroPetite

            This picture never fails to be hilarious for me.

            • tgtaggie

              They could’ve at least asked dude to come in the picture. He looked like the kid in the sandbox when his toy is taken away…

    • “6. Vol 1. You can make a pop hip-hop record without pandering, and this is an example.”

      But…but…but…he was pandering.

      • Todd

        Maybe pandering is the wrong term. But it clear wasn’t as calculated like Souljah Boy, Snap Music or 90% of the output of No Limit Records.

        • Here’s why I say it was calculated. Being that the ‘jiggy” phase was in, he hopped on that trend very fast. In fact, he immersed himself in it and that album set the tone for what he was going to be doing for the rest of his career.

          Then there were the Southern bounce songs and the blatant attempt at pop records that dominated much of “Vol 2…Hard Knock Life”. That Stevie J. produced song “Ride Or Die”? Yuck!

          • Todd

            Remember, I said Volume 1, NOT Volume 2. The thing was he was in that general direction anyway as an artist, so it wasn’t a dramatic leap unlike a lot of artists. *cough*Nas*cough* And you’re conveniently forgetting Volume 3. I just looked up the track listing for that again, and even though there are some gems on that album (Big Pimping and So Ghetto were good, and Jigga my N*gga was just pure fun), the rest of the album was like…really? LOL

            • I’m aware you said “Volume 1”, but you have to admit that he was pandering. He planted the seeds there and went all out by the time “Volume 2” came along. There’s a world of difference between “Reasonable Doubt” and Volume 1″.

              “Volume 3” wasn’t bad as much as it was different. That album was made solely for the clubs.

              • Sahel

                P,A your going hard at Jay,your making him sound like the Dwight Howard of hip hop.

                • Nah, I’m actually a Jay fan. I look at his music and career in an objective an non-biased manner. Let’s be honest though, for all his success and achievements, he hasn’t really done anything musically innovative (unless you count the Samsung deal as being innovative). If anything, I’m being realistic.

                  • 321mena123

                    You’re not being a stan. This is why i appreciate your viewpoints on music.

                    • Ironically, that’s why I’m not well liked when it comes to discussing music, LOL!

                  • Kanye East

                    Yeah, Jay really isn’t innovative.

                    • The problem I have with Jay is that he follows trends and acts as if he sets them. What the hell?!

                  • panamajackson

                    I agree with this. Jay’s lane has never been innovation. It’s just being better and more interesting as a rapper at that braggadocious shit than everybody else. And he’s been better than everybody else for a long time.

        • panamajackson

          I disagree on it not being calculated. The sh*t was so cheesy on “sunshine” or “city is mine” like…it was pretty terribly calculated to release them both as singles.

    • panamajackson

      I’m with you on Vol 1. While he’s got some TERRIBLE songs on there…the dope songs are epitome of the Jay catalog. “Imaginary Player” is still one of my favorite Jay songs ever. “Where I’m From”? maaaaaaaaaan listen…

    • Maharaja Misty

      Though I refrain from ranking Jay’s albums I kinda agree with your listing. Except the ‘eh’ for Vol 2, and I never really saw Reasonable Doubt as anything ‘conceptual’. Plus BP3 has ‘Ghetto Techno’ on it, when Jay fails he FAILS and ‘Ghetto Techno’ is a track right up there with ‘Justify My Thug’ that us stans have to repress memory of just to live on in fandom. Kingdom Come has cringe worthy moment’s, some decent offerings but cringe worthy moments. MCHG might be underwhelming for some, but there’s not one track on there that induces cringe worthy reactions.

      When did we start putting Roc La Familia on the lists tho?

      • Todd

        I put it on there because Jay-Z insists that the album is a part of his discography. Hence why I suspect blackmail.

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