Pre Release Article
So tonight at midnight the moment we’ve all been waiting for arrives. The release of Jay-Z’s newest opus and 17th studio album (12th solo) Magna Carta Holy Grail. With one of if not the most unique marketing strategies ever created, Jay’s online presence has been massive to say the least. There’s been a ton of content, a majority of which will become uninteresting in 1-5 days depending on how tech savy you are (the album will be available for legal and illegal download tonight (7/3) at midnight the latest.
So here is everything and anything I could find regarding Magna Carta, I did my best to list it as it came out chronologically but its not perfect.
LEADING UP TO THE ANNOUNCEMENT/COMMERCIAL.
In April The Dream spoke with Angie Martinez about a possible new Jay-Z album.
In March Kendrick Lamar released the remix to “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe” featuring Jay-z. The song received pretty much universal critical acclaim, many saying “HOV IS BACK”, although Kendrick probably had the best verse Jay’s “sitting next to Hillary smellin like Dank” had to be the highlight
In April, amid heavy speculation about his trip to Cuba with wifey B, and much talk of his recent sports related business ventures, Jay released “Open Letter” a song that def didn’t scream SINGLE but nonetheless got some radio spins especially in NY.
In May Jay-Z released his song that is featured on The Great Gatsby Soundtrack that he also executive produced. The song with its heavy incorporating and juxtaposing of Leo Dicaprios Gatsby charecter was used in trailers, and even in the movie itself. Frankly the second verse is as close to a perfect verse as I’ve heard from Jay-Z in A LONG TIME, possibly even before Blueprint 3. Disclaimer, im Jay-Z stan number 1, but have been pretty critical of him over the last few years, even though I still love is music I feel like he doesn’t SPIT as hard as he once did, after hearing this song and the Kendrick verse I started thinking IS HOV BACK?
The Dream further clarified his work on Jay-Z’s at the time untitled/undated next project. He went on to say that he had done the work PRE Watch The Throne and some of what he did will definitely be on the next project.
On 6/16/2013 During game 5 of the NBA Finals Jay-Z debuted this commercial. THE FEVER HAD BEGUN.
On 6/17 I wrote a post predicting the features and breaking down the production that the commercial hinted at, the highlight IMO was that Kanye West is most likely on the album and definitely in the commercial (or at least spoken to).
6/20 this video “4 more” was released
6/20 Revolt TV (Diddy’s new venture) released a clip of them watching on a samsung device a previously unseen Magna Carta clip, the actual video is posted below with the song it refers to, Jay-Z ft Justin Timberlake “Holy Grail”
01. Picasso Baby
04. Tom Ford
05. Beach Is Better
06. FuckWithMeYouKnowIGotIt (produced by Timbaland and Boi-1da)
09. Part II (On The Run)
11. La Familia
12. Jay-Z Blue
13. Nickles & Dimes
14. Holy Grail
15. Open Letter
I think giveaways were also done the next day.
That weekend images appeared and were rumored to be Cover art. While neither is(real one is below), the first has been used in promo features and the second is possibly an alternate still.
On 6/24 through The Google Play Marketplace the Magna Carta App was released for download. Over the course of the next week and a half, via the app images of the lyric sheets were released, including guest features. A number of new videos were released by Samsung, the ones that accompany lyrics I have linked
THE TRACKS (via videos and lyric sheets)
Starting with Jay-Z – Holy Grail ft Justin Timberlake
This is the song Courtney Love was referring to that uses elements of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. The fact that its most likely Justin Timberlake that sings the lines “And Were All Just/Entertainers/ And Were stupid/And contagious ” , little bit cringe inducing potentially, no?
– As first spoken about here at GSF, The Dream confirms his involvment on the Magna Carta Holy Grail, specifically on the song Holy Grail
Yes of course wrote the hook and Track for Holy Grail it’s not a Secret stop hatin. Crédit Check. Team Effort! La Familia Timbo,No I’D.
— THE-DREAM (@TheKingDream) June 24, 2013
This is interesting in that Dream had stated that he worked on a song during the time of Watch The Throne that would be on Jay-Z next project, so this begs the question has Hov been sitting on this whole Holy Grail concept for over a year now?
Jay-Z – Heaven
Jay-Z – Oceans ft Frank Ocean
Jay-Z – Versus
Soo if you put it all together thats 13/15 lyrics sheets, plus “Open Letter” which was already released and thats all the songs except track 6 “FuckWithMeYouKnowIGotIt” from the original track list.
Yesterday (7/2) DDotOmen informed the world that 2 tracks had been added and that TraviS Scott of G.O.O.D Music and Grand Hustle affiliation had produced and sang on the song (at least one of them he sang on). The lyrics for those soon followed
A new tracklist was revealed, this time with the extra two songs and Rick Ross listed as a feature on “FuckWitMeYouKnowIGotIt”. Timbaland said he and Boi-1da produced this track
Rick Rubin recently confirmed to XXL he did not work on the album directly even though hes in the commercials a lot.
This additional promo clip premiered 6/25
Timbaland gave an interview with RevoltTv talking about the project
Swizz Beatz also sat down with Vibe to talk about the album, video in article
The day after the initial commercial aired (6/17) Jay went on Twitter rant of sorts shouting out his and the moves of Kanye West, J.Cole, Wale (all business associates as well as friends) and they’re #newrules movement. Also put under the #newrules banner..
However in true Hova fashion he didn’t just settle for unveiling the album art on the internet. Apparently it is on display at the The Salisbury Cathedral in the UK, where one of the four original copies of the original Magna Carta is held.
So that brings us to now 7/3 6:30 pm est. Less than 6 hours away, what should we expect?
For one thing im not sold that the other features I predicted based on photos (Drake and Raekwon) are not on the album. Seems Drake and Raekwon were in fact left off Magna Carta Holy Grail (target bonus track maybe? Jay exploits all avenues?) But overall I’m expecting something on a pretty grand but yet somewhat simplistic scale. I have not delved deeply into the lyrics but from glancing heavily they seem somewhat intentionally sparse for rap songs. At the stage Jay-Z is at now it wouldn’t surprise me if these songs are in alot of ways a departure from the norm, not so much sonically (ala Yeezus) but maybe in rhyme and content structure. From the titles and the YT previews you can definitely tell Jay is dealing with some really LARGE topics, and it would be logical if some of his lyrical themes are wide spanning. Either way, I’m very excited.
ALBUMS SALES & #NEWRULES
It will be very interesting to see how the album does commercially. Almost as big as the albums hype has been the discussion of whether or not the 1 million copies that Samsung has already “purchased” from Jay-Z and label Rocnation will in fact count towards Soundscan and RIAA numbers. Initially it looked like the answer was no, because the album was a bulk sale (similar to say a Wal-Mart exclusive) and the consumer did not purchase the album. However in the past week, although Soundscan stays steadfast that it will not count the album giveaways as sale, the RIAA actually changed their policy in order to allow instant recognizing of digital sales (opposed to 30 days previously) and will in fact count the Samsung giveaway sales. So in effect Jay-Z will go Platinum tonight at 12:01 (or whenever RIAA counts them officially), but technically those sales will not count toward his Soundscan numbers or Billboard charts. The Billboard part is based on this article published since the RIAA’s announcement, however it quotes Billboards chief editorial columnist Bill Werde, who announced this BEFORE the RIAA decision. Confusing and convoluted, I know. They’ll be many more questions to follow im sure.
This campaign has been run almost flawlessly, besides the faulty albeit very brief and not wide-spanning announcement that a pre July 4th single was in fact on its way. I mean as if it wasnt alreayd clear that Jay-Z is this generations biggest trendsetter, he literally used a marketing slogan that he titled #newrules and legitimately created new rules that affect an array of industries (many say the RIAA changed their minds becuase 5 of the board members are Universal Music Group employees, but thats a story for another day). My guess is with all the hype Magna Carta Holy Grail has garnered it will exceed the early projections of 450k by about 100k landing it just short of 600k first week.
Updates 11:30 pm est
The RevoltTv interview with Timbaland is enlightining, “I did the majority of the album”
He says he co produced FuckWitMeYouKnowIGotIt, Ross brought the record to Jay and Timbaland already done, Tim touched it up.
Pharell Did 2 tracks (according to Tim), added some 808’s on it
Said Dream brough him “Holy Grail” he re did it
Says he told Jay-Z “this is your best album ever”