Jay-Z's celebrating July 4 in grand style this year by releasing his twelfth record Magna Carta Holy Grail via a Samsung Galaxy app (for those of you with other smartphones, don't worry, it'll be out physically on July 7). Just to get everyone way too excited, he's also released a ton of details about the 15-track record that we thought we should collect in one place for you to bone up on before the record's release. Voila, what we know about MCHG:
April 11: Jay-Z releases "Open Letter," which led President Obama to have to shut down rumors that he'd helped put together Jay and Beyonce's Cuban wedding anniversary. The song will be a bonus track on the album.
June 16: In a commercial during the fifth game of the NBA finals, Jay announces the record's title and some of its guests in a video in which he also discusses the record's overarching themes - duality and history. Watch the commercial below if you haven't already seen it as a YouTube ad.
June 23: Magna Carta Holy Grail tracklist confirmed via Roc Nation scavenger hunt, so let's go from there, shall we? Over the past few days, lyrics have been made available for some tracks thanks to the Samsung app - click through the song's title to read them.
01 Picasso Baby
02 Heaven (some lyrics borrowed from R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion")
03 Versus (this one seems really short - maybe an interlude?)
04 Tom Ford
05 Beach Is Better (produced by Mike Will Made It)
06 FuckWithMeYouKnowIGotIt (produced by Boi-1da, features Rick Ross)
07 Oceans (features, obviously, Frank Ocean - watch Jay talk about the inspiration behind the track with Pharrell, Rick Rubin, and Swizz Beats)
09 Part II (On the Run) (features Beyonce)
10 BBC (features everyone: Nas, Swizz Beats, Justin Timberlake, Pharrell, Beyonce, and Timbaland)
11 La Familia
12 Jay-Z Blue (Daddy Dearest) (an ode to Jay's daughter Blue Ivy - watch him talk about the track with a sleepy-looking Rick Rubin)
13 Nickles & Dimes
14 Holy Grail (bonus track) (features Justin Timberlake, chorus borrowed from Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," with permission from Courtney Love)
15 Open Letter (bonus track) (produced by Swizz Beats)
June 28: Mayor Bloomberg has given Jay-Z permission to perform on top of the Letterman marquee on the Ed Sullivan Theater in Times Square on July 8, the day after the record's physical release.
July 1: Samsung has released a few videos (visible above) in which Jay chats about album tracks with superproducer Rick Rubin, but Rubin confirmed with XXL that wasn't involved in the album's production at all - Jay invited him into the studio to listen to some of the finished songs and Samsung caught it on tape. Rubin said the record was "more of a traditional hip-hop record," so don't be expecting Yeezus: The Second Coming.
July 2: Part of Jay-Z's Magna Carta Holy Grail promotions included the hashtag #newrules - new rules for music, new rules for how music's released. Well, he's spurred the Recording Industry Association of America to make some #newrules themselves - now, a record can be certified gold or platinum immediately upon release based on digital sales, not after a 30-day waiting period. Only one thing's standing in Jay's way now - Billboard won't count sales of the record via the Samsung app, so it's possible he won't debut at #1 when it's released. To recap: Jay has a platinum record practically in the bag on release day, but his #1 status may be jeopardized. This is why everyone hates you, music business.
Jigga also unveiled the lyrics for "Tom Ford" and "Beach Is Better."
You can also check out the hyper-minimalist MCHG artwork, confirmed today.
July 3: Hold on! It turns out the image above is not the actual MCHG artwork, because Jay Z just unveiled the real album artwork next to the actual Magna Carta – and it's much better.
Also shared were the lyrics to "Crown,"“F.U.T.W.""Picasso Baby,""Nickels & Dimes," and "Somewhereinamerica."
It's also being reported that Jay-Z's performance atop the David Letterman marquee in Times Square has been rescheduled, if not flat-out cancelled.
July 4: The album was released on midnight, but most users were met with errors when they tried to download the album via the branded Samsung app. But you can stream it for a limited time here. You can also listen to "Holy Grail," featuring Justin Timberlake.
The official tracklist below:
1. Holy Grail (Feat. Justin Timberlake)
2. Picasso Baby
3. Tom Ford
4. FuckWithMeYouKnowIGotIt (Feat. Rick Ross)
5. Oceans (Feat. Frank Ocean)
7. Somewhere In America
11. Part II (On the Run) (Feat. Beyonce)
12. Beach Is Better
13. BBC (Feat. Nas, Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, Swizz Beatz, Pharrell & Timbaland)
14. Jay-Z Blue
15. La Familia
16. Nickels and Dimes