Don’t say he’s not a man who enjoys subtlety.
Sure, naming your latest work Magna Carta Holy Grail doesn’t exactly scream modesty (though it’s not half as bad as Yeezus). Announcing said album with a commercial spot during Game 5 of the NBA finals might not either.
But Jay-Z’s 12th studio release, revealed via a television spot during last night’s Miami-San Antonio contest, included a surprise that was likely lost on the casual viewer.
The video is mostly comprised of “behind the scenes” footage shot in the studio. Filmed working alongside Shawn Carter is Pharrell Williams, Swizz Beatz, Timbaland, and the great Rick Rubin.
Leave it to Hov to put four of the biggest-name producers in hip-hop history in one room (all at the same time—really?) and slyly not mention even one of their names in the promo video.
Notably absent from the mini hip-hop summit was Kanye West, a go-to collaborator for Jay-Z who’s big break in music was producing tracks for the Roc-A-Fella founder. As several YouTube commenters have noted, West might not appear in the video, but based on a few audio snippets, it sounds like at least one Yeezus beat made it onto the album.
According to the video’s description on YouTube, Magna Carta Holy Grail will be released through a partnership with electronics giant Samsung on July 4, three days ahead of its availability to non-Samsung users. The first million people to download “the app” available June 24 get the album for free on the July 4 release date.
“We don’t have any rules. Everyone’s trying to figure it out,” says Jay-Z in an apparent explanation for the Samsung deal. “That’s why the Internet is like the Wild West. The wild wild West. We need to write the new rules.”
Jay-Z plays B.C. Place alongside Justin Timberlake on July 31. An official after party featuring DJ Young Guru is scheduled for the Commodore Ballroom the same night.