"Holy Grail (feat. Justin Timberlake)" (CD Single)

Common Sense Media says

Superstar team-up is explicit; clean version OK for teens.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The lyrics use metaphors and deep references to address the ups and downs of fame and fortune.

Positive role models

Jay-Z has always portrayed himself as the model of entrepreneurial success and the ultimate rags-to-riches story, but his credibility feels questionable in light of his embrace of materialism and greed, a contradiction which he addresses directly.


The pressures of fame are apparently "enough to make me wanna murder," while also recognizing "I did it to myself" like "Kurt Cobain."

Not applicable

While the edited version does a decent job of hiding the profanity, the explicit version contains repeated uses of the "N" word," "f--k," "s--t," and one use of "bitches."


While Hova seems to be conflicted about his consumption tendencies, he essentially concludes that he loves luxurious wealth and all that it entails. At the same time, he fears repeating the financial mismanagement of stars like Mike Tyson and MC Hammer, both of who are referenced.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Brags he's "getting high."

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that "Holy Grail" is a hip-hop song about dealing with the demons of celebrity, a subject both Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake are very familiar with. The two pop icons deliver slices of heartfelt introspection, but it's in the context of a bombastic and explicit (including the "N" word," "f--k," "s--t") arena-rap anthem designed to rattle speakers and make everyone involved look very cool. There is a clean version of the song that is slightly more appropriate for younger audiences.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Following the roaring success of their collaboration on "Suit & Tie" for Justin Timberlake's album, The 20/20 Experience, JT has once again teamed up with Jay-Z for HOLY GRAIL, the opening track from the rapper's studio effort, Magna Carta Holy Grail. The two superstars are also embarking on a massive tour together, further uniting the worlds of mainstream pop and hip-hop.

Is it any good?


Fans of Timberlake and Jay-Z are sure to be pleased by this track, which builds upon the sound of Hova's collaboration with Kanye West, Watch The Throne. While the rap style is nothing we haven't heard before, the production by the consistantly brilliant Timbaland is crisp, eerie, haunting, and thrilling. JT has really progressed as a singer, embracing his soulful side, while maintaining a hip-hop feel.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the partnership between these two artists. After several years of diminished commercial output, JT and Jay-Z have recently roared back into the spotlight with high-profile collaborations and a massive tour. Why would such titanic figures team up?

  • There is a clear contrast between the sappy love-story lyrics of Timberlake's choruses and the aggressive boasting in Jay-Z's verses. Do you find the mixture appropriate? Does it work?

  • How does extreme success and worldwide fame change the way people make and distribute their art?

Music details

Release date:July 4, 2013
Parental advisory:Yes
Edited version available:Yes

This review of "Holy Grail (feat. Justin Timberlake)" (CD Single) was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Written byAnonymous July 29, 2013

Not for kids, Not for Teens and Not for Anyone at all.

I don't think murdering someone is OK. Not for kids. Banned Rap Song by me. I don't bother with this song when this comes on.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 15 years old Written byArjunjbsriram August 5, 2013

Some violence, language and a drug referenceon very creative track

This track is extremely creative and I love the contrast between JT and Jay-Zs bit. However, it contains some swearing. The swearing is not too strong, just repeated uses of N****, some uses of f***, s*** and one use of b****. There is also some violent references like the one to Kurt Cobain. There is also one reference to getting high. Overall this track is slightly mature and best left to teens.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 11 years old November 3, 2013


This song sounds like everything else on the radio. I heard a blocked out f word on the radio. If you like Jay-Z, then try listening to Empire State of Mind. It is a way better song, though a little bit old.


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