Jay-Z Has Already Sold 1 Million Copies of His New Album

Slate's Culture Blog
June 17 2013 11:28 AM

Jay-Z Has Already Sold 1 Million Copies of His New Album

jayz magna carta
Jay-Z announces his new album in a Samsung commercial

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Did you know that Jay-Z’s releasing a new album in less than a month? Apparently no one did—that is, until last night during Game 5 of the NBA Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat, when a 3-minute Samsung commercial featuring the rapper and a few of his songwriting buddies aired across the country. As a ringing piano chord hovers over the video, the rapper also known as Hov plays around with beats for his forthcoming album, Magna Carta Holy Grail (Shawn Carter = Magna Carta, get it?), with the likes of Rick Rubin, Timbaland, Pharrell Williams, and Swizz Beats.

He also drops a few details about writing “the new rules” for how music is presented today, and about the release date, July 4. But that’s not a normal release date: Only if you happen to own a Samsung Galaxy smartphone, and are one of the first 1 million users to download a customized app, will you receive Magna Carta Holy Grail on Independence Day. Everyone else in the world can legally purchase the album three days later. According to the Wall Street Journal, Samsung Galaxy users won’t be able to share the album before the official release date. The Journal says that Samsung purchased those copies of the album (for $5 each), so Magna Carta Holy Grail has arguably already gone platinum.

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Has Jay-Z shrewdly upstaged his pal Kanye West, whose new album leaked on Friday, and is officially set for release tomorrow? West has been much more prolific outside of their Watch the Throne collaboration over the last few years, producing 2012’s Cruel Summer and 2010’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. For Hov, on the other hand, this is his first solo album since 2009’s somewhat tepidly received The Blueprint 3. Anticipation will certainly be high, anyway. No other information has dropped regarding guests or track lists, on Samsung Galaxy phones or otherwise.

Aisha Harris is a Slate staff writer.

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