In addition to Jay-Z’s major league musical strength, Holy Grail features the talents of Justin Timberlake & Timbaland, Frank Ocean, Pharrell and not surprisingly, Mrs Carter (Queen Bey) contributes too, all giving a depth and virtuosity to Jay-Z’s stylings that add immeasurably to the richness of the whole.
Frank Ocean’s soulful, somehow vintage-sounding voice on the aptly-titled Oceans swims languidly, yearning for something just out of reach, while Beyonce and Jay-Z’s pairing on Part II (On the Run) is heavenly, swingy and easy.
You’ll recognize samples, from names such as Johnny Guitar Watson, Nirvana, R.E.M. and musical styles as diverse as blues, jazz and soul to add to the obvious hip hop dominance.
This album could be viewed as more a demonstration of Jay-Z’s image and the might of his reputation rather than breaking new musical ground, but it is worthy of respect, coming from an artist who could really sit back and relax. Magna Carta Holy Grail is a complex, interesting offering with lots to love. I look forward to really getting to know it.