Ian Cohen reviews Jay-Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail for Pitchfork:
Jay-Z rapping about the incomprehensible awesomeness of his life is nothing new, and the corporate synergy is hardly a novelty: The Black Album doubled as a retirement party, Kingdom Come was launched by a Budweiser commercial, American Gangster coincided with a Hollywood blockbuster of the same name, and, in hindsight, Blueprint 3 was made with full knowledge that Jay-Z would be Coachella’s first hip-hop headliner. He’s a businessman and a business, man. After all, while Samsung shelled out seven figures for exclusive access to the Jay-Z brand, Shawn Carter was the guy signing the contract and cashing the check. But the best of those joint ventures seemed determined to reach a new audience and create a connection. The weirdly distant and safe Magna Carta Holy Grail abides by the tried and true business principle that the customer is always right: you just have to remember who the customer is here.