Jay-Z has gone the minimal route for the cover artwork to new album "Magna Carta Holy Grail." His name isn't even on it: instead, the initials of the set are in simple black type with a white background.
UPDATE: Sike. The rapper, after some confusion yesterday, has revealed the actual album cover, displayed here. And it was put up next to the actual Magna Carta at Salisbury Cathedral in the United Kingdom this week. Because Jay-Z.
So there's that. And there's this: "Magna Carta Holy Grail's" first one million "sales" through Samsung may not count toward the Billboard charts, but the RIAA has announced that they will allow the numbers to count toward its certifications. That means, once the album drops through the MCHG/Jay-Z app on those Samsung phones on July 4 and are "counted," the album will have immediately earned platinum status.
"Going forward, sales of albums in digital format will become eligible on the release date, while sales of albums in physical format will still become eligible for certification 30 days after the release date," the RIAA posted. "Not only do we believe it’s sensible and logical to align digital album rules with those we have maintained for digital singles since the program’s inception, we also consider today’s move in line with our larger efforts to modernize the G&P Program to reflect the new music marketplace."
The "common sense" language may be a dig at Billboard, who allow a count of album sales through various rules that include the album needs to be fan-bought, and there needs to be a $3.49 price tag minimum to count toward a "sale." The application to get "Magna Carta Holy Grail" through Samsung phones (in an exclusive, early deal) is free.
"Had Jay-Z and Samsung charged $3.49– our minimum pricing threshold for a new release to count on our charts– for either the app or the album, the U.S. sales would have registered. But in the context of this promotion, nothing is actually for sale," Billboard wrote in its decision to disallow the Samsung downloads of the album to count toward the Billboard 200 and other charts. When the set goes up for the general public on July 9, those can go toward the tally.
As for the set itself, it's been confirmed that several big-name artists will guest, including Mr. Carter's Mrs. Carter. "Part II (On the Run)" is a duet with Beyonce; Frank Ocean shows up on "Oceans"; Rick Ross helps "F*ckWithMeYouKnowIGotIt"; and Nas, Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, Swizz Beats, Pharrell and Timbaland all show up on a single song, "BBC."
Rick Rubin was rumored to cameo as a producer on the set, as he can be seen in promotional videos for "Magna Carta Holy Grail." But the beardo himself told XXL this week that he didn't perform any duties -- just showed up to watch.
"The point of me being in the commercials was that he was filming a documentary and he asked me -- I imagine he’s just comfortable talking to me -- to come listen to the songs with him and just talk about the songs. Just listen to it and talk about it, and that’s what we did. It was fun," he said.
Rubin is fresh off of finishing "Yeezus" with Kanye West, Jay-Z's Watch the Throne cohort. The two albums couldn't be more different, he concluded.
"I liked what I heard [on MCHG], but it was a little difficult -- after just coming from the Kanye sessions -- to listen to Jay’s album, because they’re so different. I was in a very alternative and progressive headspace, and Jay’s record is a more traditional hip-hop record.”
Here is the tracklist for "Magna Carta Holy Grail":
1. Picasso Baby
4. Tom Ford
5. Beach Is Better
6. FuckWithMeYouKnowIGotIt (Feat. Rick Ross)
7. Oceans (Feat. Frank Ocean)
9. Part II (On The Run) (Feat. Beyonce)
11. La Familia
12. Jay-Z Blue
13. Nickles & Dimes
14. Holy Grail (feat. Justin Timberlake)
15. Open Letter