I had said in the opening to my interview with Pusha T that Jay-Z is the “Mike Jordan of Recording” – when MJ was taking his victory lap with the Wizards. From my perspective, the Magna Carta Holy Grail album was simply Jigga flexing his muscles within corporate America and making the statement that the world is simply Sean Carter’s oyster of opportunity. The man found a way to sell a million records before the album even hit the market and simultaneously provided his fans with free music. He did a performance art piece at The Pace Gallery performing Picasso Baby unhinged for 6 hours and sold out TWO nights at Yankee Stadium with Justin Timberlake.
Big picture: he may have completed the most successful marketing of an album we've ever seen, with this stadium tour tying into his Suit & Tie collab with JT and Timberlakes upcoming part 2 album release. And all the while, he even found a way to prove how many people on the planet have no idea who Rick Rubin is.
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This does beg the question, however; how much marketing is too much marketing for an album? Music consumers don’t want to think they’re being profited on; it is much more “artistic” for consumers to think that they are listening to someone’s artistic creation than they are waltzing into the jaws of someone’s business plan. With almost a month in the books since the release, I think it’s time to get some perspective and really look back on what this album is, with the help of Jay-Z himself and his interview with Elliot Wilson of Rap Radar. Filmed prior to his first night at Yankee Stadium, they sit down and really comb through the nitty gritty of the producton of the album and how it came to be.
The “shattering of the glass” for me on this album was that Jay-Z was trying to pursue a Samsung-like deal on Watch The Throne. Had that move already been made 2 years ago, I would have certainly changed my judgement of the collaborative album with Kanye West and most certainly would look at MCHG as an entirely different project as well. On a personal note, this interview with Elliot Wilson is unbelievably well done, and I’ll be trying to bring you guys more stuff like it in the future. With all of my quips the marketing aside and a look into Jay-Z’s mind and his vast appreciation for art, culture, and his genre’s history and future, I was finally able to sit down and really give the article a good listen. In return I recieved a look into the mind of a person who is as competitive as he is creative and as thoughtful as he is confident.