All Of The Beats On Jay-Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail, Ranked From Best To Worst

by (@unclegrambo)


5. “F.U.T.W.” (produced by J-Roc & Timbaland) – The song’s opening 20 seconds are a bit underwhelming, as lonely horns play over a weird organ noise. But when the beat drops after that? We dare you not to raise your hands in the air.

4. “Somewhereinamerica” (produced by Hit-Boy & Mike Dean) – Ryan Lewis didn’t earn a producer credit on this song, but he almost deserves one considering how much the track resembles his hit with Macklemore, “Thrift Shop.” You can always tell when Hov is feeling a beat, because he’ll often shout out something before the song’s “real” first verse starts. In this song, it’s “See what you made me do?” And that little piano riff? Reminds us more than a little of Yeezy’s “Heard ‘Em Say” (in a good way).

3. “Holy Grail” (produced by J-Roc, The-Dream & Timbaland) – The first time we listened to Magna Carta Holy Grail, we were surprised that the album’s first 80 seconds were a spare piano beat, but the moment when Timberlake tags Jay to hop in the ring, we are treated to a beat that’s classic Timbaland: Elegantly minimal yet very impactful.

2. “Tom Ford” (produced by J-Roc & Timbaland) – There were two beats on the album that, to the three of us who worked on this piece, stood heads and tails above the rest of the material on Magna Carta Holy Grail. “Tom Ford” was one of them. This contains the INSANE beat that we first heard teased during one of the album’s many Samsung commercials, something that can stand alongside “Get UR Freak On” and “Are You That Somebody?” in the canon of Timbaland’s best beats. It’s the kind of zig-zaggy beat that can ONLY come from the mind of Tim Mosely and, if we’re being perfectly honest, is infinitely hotter than anything he gave Justin Timberlake for The 20/20 Experience.

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