Jay-Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail: Best Pop Culture References

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By Maurice Bobb

As he’s proven time and time again with the power of his rhyme references throughout his career, Jay-Z is pop culture. On his latest album, Magna Carta Holy Grail, the God MC once again delivers a slew of memorable pop references that will be sure to catch on like wildfires.

The mere mention of Miley Cyrus on “Somewhereinamerica” sparked much debate on Twitter Thursday (July 4) when Hov spits, “Feds still lurking, They see I’m still putting work in/Cause somewhere in America, Miley Cyrus is still twerkin’.”

The outro, “Twerk, Miley, Miley, twerk/Twerk, Twerk, Miley, Miley, Miley, twerk/Twerk, yeah, ugh-huh/Twerk, Miley, Miley, Miley,” makes it clear Hov’s noticed that the “We Can’t Stop” singer’s twerking has gone viral.

Miley got wind of the song and took to Twitter to share her thoughts.

 

Then there’s the mention of Scott Boras, who was Robinson Cano’s agent before he was fired in favor of the Roc Nation Sports mastermind, on “Crown.”

“Scott Boras, you over baby,” Jay raps before continuing with “Robinson Cano, you coming with me.”

Not amused with the line, Boras shot back with, “My music taste, I love jazz. I’m a huge Bernie Williams fan.”

Jay might as well be an art curator for the numerous times he name drops Jean-Michel Basquiat on songs like “BBC,” “Oceans” and “Picasso Baby.” With all of the artists he references like Pablo Picasso, Mark Rothko, Jeff Koons, George Condo and Andy Warhol, expect to see more rap fans flood the hallowed halls of The MET, The Louvre, The Tate Modern and MOMA to further investigate their works of art.

Not surprisingly, Jay keeps it ostentatious with nods to Hermès, Hublot, Maybach and Lamborghini, but naming a song after one of fashion’s premier designers, “Tom Ford,” will have fans rushing to hop on the couture bandwagon.

On “Heaven,” Jay answers back at all those who conspire to put him in the secret society known as the Illuminati. “Conspiracy theorist screaming Illuminati/They can’t believe this much skill is in the human body/He’s 6’2, how the fuck he fit in a new Bugatti?” he raps, before also taking his rap disciples to “Marrakesh, Morocco smoking hashish with my fellowship.”

The opening track, “Holy Grail,” cites numerous luminaries, including Mike Tyson, Michael Jackson and Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain. Not to mention that it samples Nirvana’s classic “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

Even Jigga’s interludes scream with relevance, as he tips his hat to his beautiful wife, Beyoncé, on “Beach is Better” with the line, “I brought sand to the beach, Cause my beach is better/You can keep ya beach, Cause that beach whatever.”

Another huge reference comes on “F—kwithmeyouknowigotit,” where both Jay and Rick Ross reference the “money dance,” a dance trend that started in Chicago, and might now make its way to other major cities in the near future.