In a weird sort of way, it’s hard to call Jay-Z’s latest record his “sell out” album, despite the fact that the whole thing sounds like an attempt to cash in on his listeners to make money. Jay does nothing new or interesting at all on “Magna” and if nothing else just managed to craft the blandest record of his career so far. However, his latest record has been released with a flurry of attempts to get media that are so desperate, so cheap, and so alienating that they are borderline disgusting. Making matters worst, Jay has now billed himself as some sort of revolutionary hero of modern music when he is in fact the corporate machine that is attempting to regain footing in a turbulent environment and trying to suck the life out of the newly vibrant social music scene, without understanding any of it in the process.
Smart phone apps are certainly all the rage these days, but releasing an album early exclusively through a certain companies app (who shelled out big money to have it) is restrictive to fans and ultimately alienating, and then further asking them for their sensitive information is just insane. Yes, privacy is a hard thing to completely possess in the digital world, but you shouldn’t ask your fans to sacrifice their sensitive information to download your latest album.
All of the negative publicity surrounding the album wouldn’t much matter if the record was any good, but unfortunately this is one of Jay’s worst records to date. The whole thing is bland, overproduced, and Jay sounds lazy and bored on the whole thing, as if he was just forced to go into the studio and drop a few lines before he could go home. If Justin Timberlake’s “Suit & Tie” was any indication that perhaps Jay was no longer the gifted rapper that he once was, then this whole record is a definitive statement of that. It’s unfortunate too, because songs like “Oceans” and “Somewhereinamerica” feature some of the best beats that Jay’s ever rapped over. Even stellar guest spots by Justin Timberlake and Frank Ocean can’t save things though, and this record is good for maybe one or two spins before it collapses into itself and just becomes one giant, bland entity.
Jay was once the king of rap, but it’s clear now that he is content just counting his millions and living it up. He may mention the cup that Jesus drank from in the title of the record, but it’s clear that it’s not Jay who’s making Godly music anymore, but rather Kanye West, who’s album “Yeezus” is so far superior to this one that I feel bad even mentioning it in the same sentence.
Score: 4.7 / 10