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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Jay-Z Returns with Magna Carta Holy Grail

Written by Jon Williams

Earlier this week saw the release of the latest album from rap legend Jay-Z. Magna Carta Holy Grail, the first release from Jay-Z since 2009’s The Blueprint 3, features guest appearances from a number of hip-hop and R&B superstars, including his wife Beyonce, plus Justin Timberlake, Frank Ocean, and more. The album had been rumored since 2010, but the actual announcement didn’t come until a commercial during Game 5 of the NBA Finals on June 16.

Of course, Jay-Z hasn’t been idle in the four years since his last album. In 2010 he collaborated with Kanye West on the acclaimed Watch the Throne album, which the pair is reportedly planning to follow up. Then, earlier this year, he served as musical director for the film adaptation of The Great Gatsby, and served as producer for the soundtrack, which features a variety of musical styles.

Jay got his start in 1995 with the release of Reasonable Doubt. This followed years of toil and effort to make a name for himself, which culminated with the formation of his own record label, Roc-A-Fella. The album was well received, eventually being listed at #248 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. He followed that up with In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 in 1997, and Vol. 2…Hard Knock Life (currently out of print) catapulted him to superstardom, winning a Grammy Award for Best Rap Album.

Five more albums followed between 1998 and 2003, the last of which was The Black Album. After a “Fade to Black” concert in November of 2003, Jay-Z announced that he was retired. It soon became apparent, though, that it would be an active retirement, as a number of side projects soon commenced, including Unfinished Business, a second album of collaborations with R. Kelly.

In any case, the retirement only lasted until 2006, when Jay-Z returned with Kingdom Come. He had lost little of his game in the meantime, with his comeback album being certified multiplatinum and earning a Grammy nomination. In 2007 he released American Gangster, a concept album inspired by the film of the same name directed by Ridley Scott and starring Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington.

Now it looks like Jay-Z is back to stay, which is great news for rap fans everywhere. For a full list of Jay-Z albums available from Midwest Tape, SmartBrowse ‘Jay-Z’ on our homepage.

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