While Kanye seems to waver between claiming godhood and raging against rampant consumerism (that he helps to promote), it looks like his spiritual big brother has decided to double down on the hubris. Calling his upcoming album ‘Magna Carta Holy Grail’ Jiggaman has decided to name his latest long player after two priceless objects; one real and the other mythical. We’ve reached a point where rappers have run out of things in this existential plane to brag about.
Being the kind of hustler that never found a moneymaking opportunity he didn’t like Jay-Z has teamed up with Samsung to bring their Galaxy phone users (Normal data rates apply. Void where prohibited) his album on July 4th, 72 hours earlier then the release date. Announced in a wayyyy too long docu-commercial shown during the playoffs, it featured Jay in the studio working with the producers that gave him the biggest hits: Swizz Beatz, Pharrell, Timbaland and Rick Rubin.
At this stage in his career Jay-Z is a dinosaur. While his collaborative album with Kanye West, “Watch the Throne”, helped him recover from the mediocrity of Blueprint 3 his guest verses since then have reverted to the boring tone of an a uncle talking about how cool he used to be. So why should we care about another Jay-Z album in 2013?
We care because he’s the first rapper to hit his twilight years with his fan base mostly in tact: he proves that Hip-hop can age. His concerts are marathons with one hit song after another cramming fifteen years of hip-hop culture into two hours. He may be slower but like an aging boxer when he has moments that harken back to his golden era its AS good as his best work.
And frankly even at his worse he’s still a GOOD rapper. Give him a good beat and more likely not he will show that he still can be a great one. And in 2013 it’s nice to see him stick with the producers that gave him those moments as opposed to trading them in for Young Chop. In about two weeks lucky Samsung owners (and millions of online pirates) will experience the album while grilling hot dogs and downing beers during America’s Independence Day, a tradition in that country. And with Jay-Z’s fourteenth album approaching digesting a new Jay-Z release has become it’s own tradition for hip-hop fans, for better or for worse.