Purple Tape Reviews: Jay-Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail

What you see before you is the illest rating system known to the free world, and even some of the 3rd world countries that aren’t doing to well but still have a nuclear arms program.
It’s the Purple Tape Rating System and the criteria is as follows…
You might ask why would I use the Purple Tape as a measuring stick to rate other albums. I would ask you why not? Have you heard it? It's a classic from beginning to end one of the best albums ever. When Raekwons' Only Built For Cuban Links was released it connected with all manner of music fans on multiple levels in a way that can only be understood if you were able to experience it's release and the world in which it was released into. I think it's only fair to use a project as great as that one to rate other albums.
The accompanying quotes are from a show that was just as funny as it was controversial, The Chappelle Show. Dave Chappelle and the host of characters he created so well written and portrayed that no matter how outlandish their actions or appearances were you found yourself admitting that you know somebody just like that. So I decided to borrow a couple choice phrases that would convey the same emotions as those moments on the show.
WHEW... Now that that's out of the way, welcome to the Purple Tape Reviews
When Hov announced the digital release of his latest album its reveal was just as dramatic and eventful as it’s opening track. The project was masked in mystery, no leaks. Nothing but a promo featuring what could arguably be recognized as some of the most influential producers in pop/urban music today Swizz Beatz, Pharrell, Timbaland and Rick Rubin. After seeing that collection of heavy hitters we knew any and everything was possible for this project. Releasing the album fresh off the back of what many would consider a less than favorable Kanye West project worked out incredibly in his favor. There were no distractions and we were looking for something, anything better. I for one was not in the least bit disappointed.
Magna Carta’s digital release created a frenzy amongst android users while the rest of us waited until the early morning email links and blog posts to bring us up to speed. At a first listen it seems to be over right as you get settled into the vibe it creates. The remedy for this was simply to play it again. Stand out tracks like Picasso Baby, Tom Ford, F.U.T.W., Somewhereinamerica and BBC highlight the different soundscapes that Jay would move through effortlessly.
The overall feeling is organic in the way that the production doesn’t feel forced, or out of place. The bulk of the production is carried by Timbaland with assistance from Pharrell, Hit Boy, Swizz Beatz, Mike Will, Travis Scott, Boi-1da, and Kyambo Joshua. Thus giving the album a much more uniform sound than we’re used to getting from artists that grab 1 or 2 tracks per producer creating a project that is pieced together like a puzzle. Magna Carta sounds like one beautiful interpretation on a single piece of canvas. One brush many different colors with features from Justin Timberlake, Rick Ross, Frank Ocean, Beyonce, and Nas helping Jay convey the joys and grievances of having new money. He lets us know that being rich, even wealthy, still can't buy him the accessibility to move freely in some circles.
Jay discusses the concerns of successfully navigating both his career and fatherhood without having his own father as an example to him on Jay Z Blue. Part II features wife Beyonce for what sounds like a soulful sequel to Jay’s ‘03 Bonnie and Clyde one of the many tracks on the album that would seamlessly fit into radio rotation. On what is my absolute favorite track Jay lets us know that he does indeed keep his ears to the street and the internet. Close your eyes and tell me that isn’t a Pusha T inspired flow on Somewhereinamerica? When it’s all said and done, what you have is a solid project, marketed in a very creative way to what appears to be a very satisfied audience.
“Twerk Mylie, Mylie twerk”
Verdict: 4 out of 6