March 18, 2015


Jay Z's 'Magna Carta Holy Grail' Gets Super Interactive Vinyl Box Set

Kyle Gustafson/The Washington Post/Getty Images
Kyle Gustafson/The Washington Post/Getty Images

It's been almost two full years since Jay Z's dozenth album dropped. But "better late than never" is exactly the case with the über-deluxe Magna Carta Holy Grail vinyl set coming from Jack White's Third Man Records.

The limited edition release will feature eight 7" vinyls housed in a slick, clothbound black book with the standard photos and lyrics—but they're hidden under lottery ticket–style scratchoff boxes. And the lyrics are printed backwards, decipherable with a built-in mirror page. Take a look:

The Magna Carta Holy Grail vinyl set was designed by Brian Roettinger, who also did the original album art. The official info says the idea was to play with "the theme of redacted government documents." Only 1,000 copies are being sold, starting this Thursday, March 20.

MCHG was far from Jay's best—even he knows it—but the large volume of LPs here means fans can just drop the needle straight on the hits ("Beach Is Better," "Part II (On the Run)," "F*ckwithmeyouknowigotit," maybe "Picasso Baby" or "Holy Grail" depending on where you are in your life journey).

As for new music, Jay's reportedly cooking up a joint album with his wife, up-and-coming singer/documentary-maker/kale sweatshirt mogul Beyoncé Knowles-Carter.

The last time we saw a vinyl release this crazy was from the Third Man boss himself, Mr. White, for 2014's Lazaretto, his sophomore solo album. The record had songs that could be played at three different speeds and "dual groove technology" that led to a choose-your-own-adventure electric OR acoustic intro to one song. Oh, and you drop the needle in the middle rather than edge.

Half the time the onetime White Stripes frontman in the news, it's vinyl-related. He bought Elvis Presley's first recording, a 1953 10" single, for $300,000. He used the medium to issue releases for some rare material from his days with Meg. He created a record live on The Tonight Show with Neil Young. Similarly, he performed and pressed a vinyl in a world-record-breaking three hours and 55 minutes. That one was for Record Store Day, a 24-hour fiesta Jack White dreams of every single night when he lays his head on his circular, millimeter-thick black wax pillow.