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

Music review by
Kyle Jackson, Common Sense Media
"Holy Grail (feat. Justin Timberlake)" (CD Single) Music Poster Image
Superstar team-up is explicit; clean version OK for teens.

Parents say

age 2+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 5 reviews

A lot or a little?

Parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive messages

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

Positive role models & representations

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.

Violence

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

Sex
Language

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."

Consumerism

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."

What 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.

User Reviews

Educator and Parent Written byJared Galczynski May 9, 2014
Holy crap, you guys are wrong.
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 rep...
Kid, 11 years old November 3, 2013

Annoying.

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...

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.

Talk to your kids 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

  • Artist: Jay-Z
  • Release date: July 4, 2013
  • Type: Single
  • Label: Roc-A-Fella
  • Genre: Hip-hop
  • Parental advisory: Yes
  • Edited version available: Yes

For kids who love arena rap

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