(I have not listened to all songs on either Magna Carta… Holy Grail or Yeezus so please take that into consideration when reading this post. Also, take into consideration that I prefer rock music, but I do like West’s and Jay-Z’s previous work.)
Magna Carta… Holy Grail and Jay-Z
Okay, so Jay-Z released his new album, Magna Carta… Holy Grail, a few days ago through an app that Samsung paid for so Jay-Z would avoid his album being leaked. With the app, users had the opportunity to download the new album before anyone online, or before any physical copies appeared; the first 1 million got the album for free and it downloaded to those 1 million on July 4th (but with issues.)
Seems pretty hip and cool for Jay-Z to do that for the fans, but it also ensured ‘The Jigga Man’ a nice pay day; he received $5 million for Samsung buying 1 million companies. Sure as hell looks like a suave business move to me. Even with a leak, shouldn’t a Jay-Z album sell pretty damn well?
I have always had respect of Jay-Z just because he was the epitome of rap for my generation (aside from Eminem) and no one could stop him. He was someone to truly idolize if you wanted to be successful. But that all changed once I read this article and actually did some critical thinking.
Jay-Z is, and always has been, a business man first. Sure he has some notable songs (my favorites being: Big Pimpin’, 99 Problems, Dirt Off Your Shoulder, and the entire collaboration with Linkin Park), but I believe Jay-Z to be more about the dough and the power now. (Then I ask myself would he marry Beyonce if she wasn’t worth as much as she is? But then I laugh because Beyonce is incredibly talented and gorgeous.) He’s now a freakin’ sports agent! Roc Nation is spreading as quickly as the Roman Empire once did. I’m not knocking Jay-Z for wanting to become bigger than big, but shouldn’t a rapper (or any musician for that matter) care about his music, not trying to score a sweet deal, like the aforementioned Samsung deal, or expanding your record label into sports?
Nonetheless this is about the album, I think Jay-Z’s album (of the songs I’ve heard) is a 6/10 and will succeed just because it’s Jay-Z. No disrespect, but the album is average. Nothing that makes you want to dance, nothing that makes you contemplate (yes rap lyrics can be contemplative), nor lyrics that are catchy.
Jay-Z’s disses are getting lackluster: ““Scott Boras, you over baby. Robinson Cano, you coming with me.” That is pretty terrible, it references how New York Yankees second basemen, Cano, left super agent, Boras, for Roc Nation.
Now to Yeezus and Kanye West
Kanye, or Ye, or now Yeezus, has been a polarizing figure in popular culture since I can remember. He’s had some misteps (they may not be misteps to you), but overall he has been a fashionable, opinionated, and superb rapper/hip-hop artist. From All Falls Down to Gold Digger (this song is ironic now, though) to Heartless to Power to Clique to Mercy, West pumps out songs that everyone that loves him or barely knows him (very few people) remember.
He either has catchier lyrics than Jay-Z, or I am just biased and have terrible ears when it comes to rap/hip-hop (which may very well be true). The thing I like about Kanye is that he may be arrogant as all get out, but he is himself. He never settles for what someone else thinks or does, but what he wants and what he thinks. Sure, he’s as much of a businessman as Jay-Z is, but Kanye West goes 100% when it comes to his music. Every album is different (and possibly better) than the one before it. That, to me, shows that Kanye is a true artist; being safe and doing the same type of music every time shows that an artist is incredibly weak and do not care if they let down fans.
Yeezus, of the songs I’ve heard, is an 8/10 and continues Kanye West’s streak as being extremely creative with his music.
(side note: I think Childish Gambino is better than either of these two, but whatever it’s only one man’s opinion.)