Album review: Jay Z, Magna Carta Holy Grail (Virgin EMI)


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The Independent Culture

“Welcome to the magnum opus,” he insists and his 12th album is certainly magnum: 59 often leaden, mostly hubristic minutes to make that 1215 Grand Charter seem like light relief.

Lowlights include an opener cutting “Smells Like Teen Spirit” into a solipsistic symposium on celebrity. Better moments include the sinuous, horn-inflected “Oceans”, with Frank Ocean, a provocative tale of luxury and slavery that shows up the complacency elsewhere.