The chorus to "Holy Grail" contains the line "And we all just, entertainers/And we're stupid, and contagious," cribbing Nirvana's 1991 grunge rock anthem, "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Kurt Cobain's widow Courtney Love, who runs the late singer's estate, gave permission. "I'm letting Jay-Z use lyrics," Love said. "Jay-Z's huge and we're friends. I mean we're not besties or anything." (Courtney covered Jay's "99 Problems" earlier this year.) Another song on the album, Heaven, borrows a line from R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion" ("That's me in the corner/That's me in the spotlight losing my religion"), which also came out in 1991. We're all for expanding one's musical pallete, but we're a little worried that if Jay gets in another rap beef someone's going to ask him, "How much of these mopey white boys' lines from 22 years ago is gonna come out your fat lips?"
The album is heavily influenced by early-'90s alternative rock.