Viewers of last night's Spurs-Heat game got a surprise in the form of an announcement of a new Jay-Z album, Magna Carta Holy Grail—which itself came in the form of a three-minute-long glimpse into the making of the album that's due out July 4, couched in the form of a Samsung commercial. The spot grabs your attention, as it's not immediately apparent what you're watching: A piano chord repeats as Hova is seen listening intently. Eventually we see a studio, where Jay confers with Timbaland, Pharrell Williams, Swizz Beatz, and someone who's either a homeless man who wandered into the studio to sleep on the couch, one of the dwarves from The Hobbit, or Rick Rubin.
The short film plays out like Let It Be if Paul had just mused quietly about the tracks the band had laid down, while John, George, and Ringo nodded sagely and never spoke. "The idea is to finish the album, then drop it," Jay-Z tells Thorin, son of Thráin, demonstrating the business acumen that has made him CEO of hip-hop. He hasn’t let loose any actual lyrics so far, but the spot does preview a few tracks alongside a plug for the album's website—also sponsored by Samsung—and a release date that’s only 16 days away. "How do you navigate through this whole thing, through success, through failures, through this all, and remain yourself?" Jay-Z asks his mute collaborators. The question is rhetorical, but presumably the answer is “Samsung.”