Jay-Z has always been at the forefront of rap braggadocio, from having “Cashmere Thoughts” on his debut to later, balling so hard in Paris. When other rappers were dreaming of mere millions, he was already thinking about “A Billi.” On Magna Carta Holy Grail, Hov rewrites the blueprint of hip-hop success and pushes the limits to places even he’s never been to before.—Sowmya Krishnamurthy


The 10 Best Homages On ‘Magna Carta Holy Grail’
Magna Carta, Holy Bars: 30 Quotables From Jay-Z’s Latest Album


1. “I'm the new Jean Michel/Surrounded by Warhols…Sleeping every night next to Mona Lisa/The modern day version/With better features/Yellow Basquiat in my kitchen corner/Go ahead lean on that shit Blue/You own it”

Who needs rap money when you have art money? On “Picasso Baby,” Jay-Z gives us a crash course in modern and pop art by shouting out the likes of Andy Warhol, Mark Rothko and Jeff Koons. Other rappers may think they’re doing it big by name-checking the late Jean Michel Basquiat, but Hov has the last laugh. He’s not only rich enough to buy a Basquiat, which have sold at auction for as high as $20 million, but when baby Blue accidently leans up on one while playing in the kitchen, he doesn’t even care.


2. “I don't pop molly, I rock Tom Ford”

Hov scoffs at hip-hop’s drug du jour on the track “Tom Ford.” While you’re rolling and sweating, he’s busy doing grown man shit in his tailored, designer duds.


3. “Hov just landed in Rome, nigga/All hail, Caesar's home, niggas/Cent'anni, ciao bella”

The man who introduced hip-hop to the Amalfi Coast is now onto other passport stamps. On “FuckWithMeYouKnowIGotIt,” Jay brags about his excursions to Rome and even spits a line in Italian with the traditional toast, “Cent’ Anni” (“May you live 100 years”). When in Rome…


4. “Welcome to the magnum opus/The Magna Carta”

Even before the reviews are in, Jay has already dubbed Magna Carta Holy Grail as his greatest work to date. Being that he has arguably rap most stellar catalogue, he’s basically telling you that this is the greatest rap album ever made.


5. “1% of a billion more than niggas even seen/Still they wanna act like it's an everyday thing”

Jay heard his haters laugh about his owning only minority stake in the Brooklyn Nets, so he’s here to break down the math. His stake may seem small but 1% of $1 billion is still kind of a lot of money.


6. “A million sold before the album dropped”

Jay’s landmark partnership with Samsung in distributing Magna Carta Holy Grail has been just as important as the album itself (maybe more so). On “Somewhere in America,” he reminds us of that.


7. “Might crash ya Internet/And I ain't even into that/When I was talking Instagram/Last thing you wanted was your picture snapped”

Hov often gets questioned for why he’s so quiet on social media. He follows 0 people and he’s tweeted some 46 times to date. On “Somewhere in America” he brags that he doesn’t have time to play on the Internet so save your selfies. The only “Instagram” he knows about has to do with grams of drugs.


8. “You in the presence of a king/Scratch that, you in the presence of a God”

God complex is in full swing on “Crown.” He once dubbed himself “Jay Hova” but now he’s just God. Later on the track, Jay claims that he drives around in a bulletproof glass car just like the Pope.


9. “Your last shit ain't better/Than my first shit/Your best shit/Ain't better than my worst shit”

“Versus” is a message to young rappers everywhere. How does your catalogue stack up to Reasonable Doubt? Hell, even the underwhelming Kingdom Come? According to Jay, it doesn’t. Even on his worst day, he’s better than you on your best. Ouch.


10. “You better look like Halle Berry/Or Beyoncé/Shit then we getting married”

He once said “Got the hottest chick in the game/Wearing my chain.” Well, he still has the hottest girl in the game and on top of that, he married her. On “Beach Is Better,” Jay tells all the breezies out there that unless you’re on Beyonce or Halle Berry’s level, don’t even try to holler at him.

More From XXL