A Cubicle Warrior Listening To Jay-Z’s New Album At Work

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Jay-Z’s new album, titled Magna Carta Holy Grail, dropped yesterday. Here’s a track-by-track breakdown written by a cubicle warrior as he listened, with details on how it effected his workday.

1. Holy Grail


Just sat down at my desk, pulled up Microsoft Excel so it looks like I’m working, slapped on my Beats by Dre headphones, and turned on Jay-Z’s latest. Yeah, I rock Beats by Dre at the office, and yeah, my boss makes fun of me. Fuck him. I went to a high school that was 32% minorities.

Hold on. Is that Justin Timberlake’s angelic voice I’m hearing? I used to hate JT, because every girl in middle school was flicking the bean to a poster of him on their bedroom wall, but ‘N Sync broke up and he made all those jams with The Lonely Island, so now he’s the man.

Pretty awesome that they used lyrics from “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on this track, but honestly, this beat is giving me that 2:30 feeling. If Hova doesn’t turn up the intensity, I’m gonna need another 5-hour ENERGY.

Best Lyric(s):

“Bright lights is enticing, but look what it did to Tyson. All that money in one night, thirty mill for one fight. But soon as all the money blows, all the pigeons take flight.”

2. Picasso Baby


Oh yeah, here we go. It’s time to “turn up.” That’s what kids these days call getting crunk. Was Picasso the one that cut his ear off and sent it to his girlfriend? I need to hit the art museum, get some culture in my life.

Maybe I’ll dip into my 401k and buy a miniature replica of one of his paintings. You know, really spice up the feng shui in my bathroom.

Half way through this song, and all of a sudden the beat completely changes, like my mood after I wash down twelve Chic-fil-A nuggets with a half bottle of Ciroc during my 30-minute lunch break. My cubicle just became the danger zone. I feel like I could fight a cop, or my boss. If he comes by and ruffles my hair like he does every fucking morning, the hooligan in me will be unleashed. I’ll throw the Westside gang sign with my left hand, and a haymaker with my right.

Best Lyric(s):

“Leonardo Da Vinci flows. Riccardo Tisci Givenchy clothes. See me thronin’ at the Met, vogueing on these n****s, champagne on my breath, yes.”

3. Tom Ford


No idea what this song is about. All I know is it’s making me wish I was at the strip club, two fists filled with one dollar bills as I prepare to make it rain like Nelly and Pacman Jones. It’s making me wish I was stupid enough to give up my iPhone and switch to Samsung so I could’ve been jamming this joint on the Fourth of July. It’s making me want to grab Sarah from accounting, bend her over my desk, and show her the fifty states.

Me personally? I don’t pop Molly, I rock Jos. A. Bank.

Best Lyric(s):

“Fuck hashtags and retweets, n***a. 140 characters in these streets, n***a.”

4. Fuckwithmeyouknowigotit


Anyone within twenty feet of my cube can feel the aura of swag radiating from it. I’m grunting like Rick Ross and typing totally random figures into this spreadsheet. Honestly, I don’t even know what I’m supposed to be doing.

Can’t wait to shine this weekend. I’m gonna jam this song while sipping a fine $8 bottle of wine from Randalls while I pre-game, swoop some unsuspecting mid-twenties ass from a dive bar, and give her a week’s worth of corporate angst straight to the baby maker.

Best Lyric(s):

“I just landed in Europe, n***a. Shopping bags, I’m a tourist, n***a. Money talk, I speak fluent, n***a.”

5. Oceans


One of the interns just asked me to take a look at some numbers for him. I threw up the Roc symbol in his face, and held it there until he walked away. Jiggaman wouldn’t take shit from some clown ass intern, and neither will I.

Frank Ocean knocks the chorus on this song into the cheap seats. I don’t care if he does dudes and chicks; the man has pipes made of gold.

Best Lyric(s):

“Democrat, nope, I sold dope. In troubled waters, I had to learn how to float.”

6. F.U.T.W


Fuck up the world? I’d be happy with just fucking up a few coworkers. My boss just emailed saying he needs me to travel to Columbus, Ohio for a conference in August. Ohio? What the fuck am I supposed to do in Ohio? Probably can’t even buy a bottle of Ace of Spades in Ohio. Thinking about responding with a simple, but effective: “Fuck you, pay me.”

Jay-Z makes a reference to Homeland in this jam, and as a member of white America, which is perpetually obsessed with that show, my day has been made. If he makes a Game of Thrones reference at some point on this album, my testicles will literally explode.

Best Lyric(s):

“Feelin’ like a stranger in my own land. Got me feelin’ like Brody in Homeland.”

7. Somewhereinamerica


This song has me bouncing back and forth in my computer chair like an antsy pre-teen in history class. Crappy chair is probably squeaking like crazy, annoying the hell out of all the other corporate slaves in this den of depression, and that makes this jam even more enjoyable.

Jay spends the last 45-seconds of this track beckoning Miley Cyrus to twerk. Talk about robbing the cradle. I respect that. What the hell is with that chick’s hair, anyway? I’d still let her sing a little tune into my microphone, if you catch my baller drift, but that hairdo is absurd.

Best Lyric(s):

“Feds still lurking. They see I’m still putting work in. Cause somewhere in America, Miley Cyrus is still twerkin’.”

8. Crown


I remember the sample on this track from a Ja Rule song back in the day. Did that guy ever end up killing himself? His career derailed faster than mine will if I keep ignoring my inbox as it lights up like a schizophrenic Christmas tree. I’ve gotta get out of this place. It reeks of middle class in here. How am I supposed to stunt making $50k a year?

Best Lyric(s):

“I ball so hard on ESPN, see my name come across on CNN. ‘Bout 6 minutes you gon’ see it again.”

9. Heaven


This track gets deep. I don’t know if he’s telling me to denounce religion, go to church, or buy a Bugatti. Just pulled up my bank account. What a fucking joke. Chipotle is like every other charge on here. Speaking of food, I totally forgot to take my lunch break. Whatever, I’ll just bounce early.

Best Lyric(s):

“Food, clothing, shelter, help a n***a find some peace. Happiness for a gangsta, ain’t no love in these streets.”

10. Versus


Why is this track only 52-seconds? Did something go wrong during the download? This computer is such a piece of shit. Maybe I should hit up the IT department. They’d probably just bitch me out for downloading music on company bandwidth.

I don’t even know the name of the doofus in the cube next to mine, but he just wheeled back and asked if I could “turn it down a notch.”

I responded, “Sure, guy.” Then turned it up a notch. It’s the hard knock life, for him.

Best Lyric(s):

“Your last shit ain’t better than my first shit. Your best shit ain’t better than my worst shit.”

11. Part II (On The Run)


Beyoncé is on this song. Drake says girls love Beyoncé, and he’s right. Chicks will get freaky on your meat stick if you throw on some Beyoncé. Speaking of meat sticks, my stomach is starting to growl. Time to hit the break room and steal one of these loser’s sack lunches.

Best Lyric(s):

“I’m an outlaw, got an outlaw chick. Bumping 2Pac, on my outlaw shit.”

12. Beach Is Better


56 seconds? This song should’ve been 56 minutes long. Has to be my favorite beat so far. I was knocking my hand on this wobbly ass desk so hard that my pencil cup fell off. Not picking it up. That’s how you stick it to the man.

Best Lyric(s):

“Girl, why you never ready? For as long as you took you better look like Halle Berry. Or Beyoncé. Shit, then we getting married.”

13. BBC


Nasty Nas on the track. I still don’t understand how Jay-Z and him are suddenly friends. That would be like if me and my neighbor, Jim Davidson, who refuses to cut his fucking lawn, suddenly started kickin’ it and drinking Patron together. That shit is never happening, Jim. If you’re reading this, cut your fucking lawn. You’re making the whole goddamn neighborhood look bad. You’re a disgrace.

Anyway, this song has “produced by Pharell” written all over it.

Best Lyric(s):

“Rope chains, Rakim and Eric B. Bought my sidekicks Suzuki Jeeps and Cherokees.”

14. Jay Z Blue


As if there wasn’t enough shit in this world to remind me how old I’m getting, this song is about Jay-Z’s daughter. But for a song about a baby that’s probably being raised in a crib made of diamonds, this is pretty awesome. If I have a kid, I’m pretty sure I’m gonna name it either a color or a direction, so I can be like Hov and ‘Ye.

My boss just came over and waved some paperwork in my face while his lips flapped like a fish on dry land. I just nodded, waved him off apathetically, and typed “boner” into one of the cells on my spreadsheet.

Best Lyric(s):

“I done seen my mom and pop drive each other motherfuckin’ crazy, and I got that n***a blood in me. I got his ego and his temper, all I’m missing is the drugs in me.”

15. La Familia


This song is all about being a boss, and the head of a family. Neither of which will ever happen for me if I keep grinding in this dump. I’ve been here for 5 years and gotten one raise. That’s why I started doing about 20 minutes of work a week in 2011.

Speaking of families, I really need to get back in the dating game. A few more nights of SportsCenter followed by internet porn, and I’m going to snap like a twig in a drought.

Best Lyric(s):

“N***as snitching, switching teams. Out here telling bitches things. Industry talk behind your back. Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

16. Nickels and Dimes


My boss just came back over and waved the same goddamn papers in my face, and then grabbed the headphones off my head when I ignored him. Motherfucker should’ve known, you don’t touch my Beats. I’m like that retard in Something About Mary. So what’d I do? Threw a swift uppercut into my boss’s chin. That’s what I did.

This chump dropped like a fly, and I haven’t even hit the gym this year. He rolled around on the ground, screaming “Security! Someone call security!” like a bitch. I defiantly threw up the Roc once more, grabbed the bobblehead off my desk, gave my boss a solid pump-fake, and walked the fuck out of there like a conquering hero. Surprisingly, I didn’t get a slow clap. Thought I earned one.

Best Lyric(s):

“Got a thing for nickel-plated nines and pretty dimes. Mac 11, I squeeze like lemon limes.”

17. Open Letter


Looks like I’ve got the rest of the week off. Gonna spend some quality time at the neighborhood pool, scoping out MILFs and taking in some rays. Some people just weren’t built to be cubicle monkeys. Hov and I have that in common.

Best Lyric(s):

“Obama said, ‘Chill, you gonna get me impeached.’ You don’t need this shit anyway, chill with me on the beach.”

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Ross Bolen

Ross Bolen is a New York Times Bestselling author, co-host of the Oysters, Clams & Cockles: Game of Thrones podcast, co-host of the Back Door Cover sports podcast, 2017 Masters attendee, bigger and more loyal Rockets, Astros and Texans fan than you, cheese enchilada aficionado, and nap god.

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