7 Things We Learned From Jay Z and Justin Timberlake’s “Holy Grail” Video


Magna Carta is Jay Z’s hyper-artistic opus (his Trapped in the Closet, if you will) with “Holy Grail” as its masterful centerpiece. The track covers a ton of musical genres–R&B, pop, rap, grunge, rock, electronica–and is by far the most ambitious one on the album. Needless to say the stakes for its music video were very high.

Well, the official video is out, and it might have you scratching your head and saying, “Huh?” With the verses out of order and dramatic slow-mo scenes, the video, like the song, will take a couple of plays before you really get it. (Or at least sort of get it.) We’ve been watching it all day, and are here to tell you the seven things we learned, so far. Watch the video above and tell us what you think in the comments. — STEFF YOTKA 

1. HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS ARE IN: A flooded room and a burning car serve as two of the backdrops to JT and Jay Z. Nothing is more dramatic or suspenseful than potentially drowning or setting yourself on fire.

2. USING THE ORIGINAL SONG FOR THE VIDEO IS OUT: Why use the album cut of a track when you could start it in the middle, and then speed up, slow down, and overlay the song on top of itself? We think that switching up the song for the video is about to become the cool thing to do after this.

3. JAY Z IS REALLY, REALLY INTO MIKE TYSON: A lot. Not only does he rap the lyric, “Bright lights enticing / but look what it did to Tyson,” but the video takes pause to show the clip of Mike Tyson getting knocked out for the first time in his career by Buster Douglas in 1990. I guess Jay Z sees Tyson as a cautionary tale of getting too famous too fast, but, um, we really don’t think the multi-millionaire rapper is in danger of either biting off someone’s ear or becoming any less famous any time soon.

4. JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE IS READY FOR HIS REVLON AD: Why should Jessica Biel have all the makeup fun? Fast forward to 1:20 and watch the singer walk down stairs slowly while peering sexily into the camera to understand that he is really, really ready for his close up, Mr. Deville.

5. BLACK AND GOLD WILL ALWAYS BE COOL: Rap videos have been using black and gold color palette since forever, but instead of shaking up a classic, Jay Z and JT continue with the colorways. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it, I guess.

6. WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND: So that’s what happened to Scarlett Johansson’s car from the end of the “What Goes Around Comes Around” video… It’s the flaming background of JT’s final verse. Mystery solved.

7. FACEBOOK IS THE NEW VEVO: Maybe. The “Holy Grail” video is the first to ever premiere on Facebook, which is interesting for a lot of reasons, one of which being that Timberlake owns a part of MySpace. We think Facebook has the potential to take the music video premiere mantle from YouTube, but let’s just wait and see before we place any bets.