Let the backlash to the backlash begin. If Jay-Z is trying to lower expectations for upcoming album Magna Carta Holy Grail, he's doing a fantastic job. The name itself was funny, the platinum-already (already!) marketing deal with Samsung was obnoxious, the '90s rock references were ridiculous, and the fact he had Rick Rubin in his promotional video without having Rick Rubin involved in the album (per XXL) was just puzzling. Also, Frank Ocean on a song titled "Oceans"?
Now, Jay-Z has revealed that the purported cover art for his opus is not the actual cover art, and everything about the announcement is corny. The artwork is a black-and-white photo of two classical statues, with Jay-Z's name on the cover in black, except there's a line through it. The art is part of an installation on display at Britain's Salisbury Catherdal, home to one of the four surviving copies of the 1215 Magna Carta.
The Magna Carta, as you may have looked up recently on Wikipedia, is the document that tried to limit the king's powers and led to constitutional law in the English-speaking world. In other words, the rapper behind Watch the Throne is inexplicably promoting a document that helped make thrones obsolete.
Hova's post-retirement misstep Kingdom Come is seven years old now, but that sinking feeling has come again. His return to form with 2007's American Gangster, which seems like forever ago, really was forever ago. Our first-day excitement for politically nettlesome Magna Carta opening salvo "Open Letter" also seems like forever ago.
Samsung users can get Magna Carta on July 4; check out more information over at Jay-Z's Life + Times website. He'll also be performing on top of David Letterman's marquee on July 8.
"Wait a minute," you're saying. "The album is titled Magna Carta Holy Grail. What about the Holy Grail?" If Jay-Z's next publicity stunt involves the actual Holy Grail, we have a review all prepared. He chose ... poorly.