We live in a culture where popular public figures, such as musicians and athletes, are our Nation's trend setters, and have become more influential than the people in our Government. Now, I am not talking about how we politically think--yet some people cast their ballots depending whom their favorite Public Figures support--but rather how we dress, think, eat and communicate to the rest of the world. I put my money that most sports fans can name the star player for every NBA and NFL team, but can't give me the names of 10 Senators, 5 Governors and 2 Judges for the Supreme Court. (For those who can, remember, there are always exceptions to the rule.)
I bring this up because on Father's Day, Samsung released a 3 minute commercial featuring Jay-Z, Pharrell, Swizz Beatz, Timbaland and Rick Rubin announcing the release date of the "Magna Carta Holy Grail", Jay-Z's up and coming album. The moment the commercial was shown the Twitter and Facebook worlds exploded. There was a fair share of excitement, curiosity, criticism and anticipation as everybody sits and waits. One of my favorite tweets was someone stating that they would die a happy person if this "Magna Carta" will become a more popular search than the actual one. Other people tweeted things such as poking fun how most people do not know what the actual "Magna Carta is, what year it was created, and what country it involves. (Without searching on the internet, can you answer the questions above? To be honest I only remembered its purpose and what country it involved) And as funny as these tweets are, I think there is definitely some truth to it. If you go on Google right now and put in the words "Magna Carta", the first couple suggestions are about Samsung and Jay-Z. Already the world has shown that this album will be significant in our Urban culture. With people like Jay-Z, there is always a method behind the madness, and only time will reveal the overall impact of this project.
The other major significance about this commercial is that Jay teamed up with Samsung making Magna Carta Holy Grail a Platinum Record before it has even released, let alone hit Platinum before it is even completed. Samsung agreed to buy 1 Million copies at $5 a piece, giving Jay $5 Million without anybody listening to his latest production. On June 24th Samsung Galaxy III, 4 & Note II users can download an App which will make them eligible to download the album on the 4th of July; 3 days before it is released to the rest of the World. Unfortunately, not all eligible Samsung customers will get the album as Samsung has only bought 1 million copies. A random selection process will be used to determine who gets the album.
Talking with friends and skeptics about whether or not Jay can produce a top album such as Reasonable Doubt and The Black Album, I say this album will be a top 5 album at the least, and I truly believe it will be one of his top 3 albums ever! Hey, it might be wishful thinking, but History tells me it will be a hit! In 2003 Jay teamed up with Nokia to sell the phone above with the album preloaded into the phone. And at that time it was not just significant because it was his "retirement" album, but back then preloaded albums on phones were rare. Technology back then seems light years away, but it has only been 10! Jay has always been a pioneer in the Music industry, and it makes sense he is taking a page out of his own book and reusing a revolutionary PR campaign that was so successful for him a decade ago.
I am definitely excited about this project. Everybody has been asking when Jay would release his next album, and we finally got an answer. The tracks in the commercial are hot, produced by the same people who did the majority of his work for The Black Album. Yes, I am bias because I am a huge Jay fan (I mean just look at the title of my blog), but the fact there is a specific direction Jay wants to go with this album will make it a dope album. The way it sounds, feels etc will all be parallel to each other, and if you have seen his documentaries for Reasonable Doubt and The Black Album, than you know having all the components tied to each other will produce an awesome album.
So, the question is what do you make of it? Will this project have a huge impact on the Urban and Street cultures? Labeling it the "Magna Carta Holy Grail" is a statement, and Jay himself in the video states: 'We have to write the new Rules' because the 'Internet is the Wild, Wild West.' It is not a far reach that our generation and the next generation will associate the "Magna Carta" with Jay-Z, and not England. The crazy thing is the fact we haven't even heard a track yet. God knows what subject matter he will be talking about, and influence and impact it will have.
He is cognoscente about music being downloaded illegally, so in a Business and Promotional move, he became Platinum over night, and he is letting the World share it, which I am sure will spread like wild fire. Hip Hop has changed not just in its production and lyrics, but how we listen to it, and how we share it. A month or so ago, Kanye released his first single, "New Slaves" from his controversial and highly criticized album Yeezus, across 80 cities by projecting the video on the side of random buildings.
In their own ways, Kanye and now Jay have rewritten how and where we can listen to their music. In music you have to be creative in all aspects or you will just burn out and be irrelevant. You might not like his music, criticize him and what not, but Jay has definitely been the most consistent Rapper of all-time, and yet he is still not satisfied and continues to be a pioneer in a genre which most people say it is dead!
Check out the commercial if you haven't done so! The video features top-notch producers, and it reveals the direction in which Jay wants to take this album. The instrumentals are ridiculous, hopefully the lyrics compliment them! The video is already approaching 11 million views.