Kanye West & Jay-Z – Watch The Throne: Album Review
August 15, 2011 § 3 Comments
When Kanye West and Jay-Z announced their collaboration on an LP, everyone went berserk. It didn’t matter if you were a fan of theirs or not, you knew that this collaboration would be deadly. In my eyes, Kanye West and Jay-Z serve as Hip-Hop legacies, royalties of the game who are awarded the audacity to flaunt their accomplishments. Plus, the duo is incredibly talented as well. So I, like many others, waited with frizzled anticipation when Watch The Throne was given to the world on August 8th, 2011.
The album begins with the killer No Church in the Wild, featuring up & coming R&B artist Frank Ocean. The rumbling bass line on the track gives off an old-school Action movie feel, making it a powerful album opener. Following the song is Lift Off, a space-age song that features the amazing Beyoncé. But her incredible voice couldn’t really hold up the track. You would think three music powerhouses coming together would create a hit; surprisingly Lift Off is one of the weaker tracks on the record.
Who Gon Stop Me, my favorite track off the album, just spits out fire. It wasn’t only the grimy FILTHY dub-step bass line that got me, but the way Kanye West growls on the track is menacing and enticing at the same time. This is definitely a Kanye track, Jay-Z’s bars can’t hold up to the experimental production.
Another highlight on the album is the Twitter favorite: Niggas in Paris. This track (produced by Hit-Boy, Kanye West, & more) has the most infectious electro-synth beat for Hip-Hop this year. It is otherworldly and fresh; a sound that needed to be brought back into Hip-Hop. The witty Blades of Glory movie dialogue is just the icing on the cake!
But Watch The Throne does not speak of flossing and 5-star lifestyles alone, the rap stars dig deeper into societal problems with this album. The beginning of Murder to Excellence touches on the sensitive subjects of black-on-black crime with Kanye being the narrator, while the latter part of the track finds Jay-Z praising “black excellence”. Made in America serves as a tribute to all the great African-Americans who paves the way for generations, noting Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., & even “Sweet Baby Jesus”.
While I feel the majority of the songs on Watch The Throne belong to Kanye due to the futuristic undertones and aggressive lyrics, Jay-Z does receive some shine on the album. New Day, produced by RZA, is a soulful and groovy track that features a cool-sounding Auto-Tuned Nina Simone. The listeners find Jay-Z in an uncommon state, where he painfully raps about his fatherless childhood, making the track all the more inviting.
The parts of Watch The Throne that struck me the most were the mini sample track changes that happened at the end of several songs. It was reminiscent of Frank Ocean’s rave mixtape Nostalgia/Ultra, where the ending of a song sounded like the change of a cassette tape. Minute details such as that makes the record even more special and classic.
Over the past few years, I’ve slowly backed away from Hip-Hop because I felt it wasn’t real anymore. I’m grateful for this album for bringing back the genre and twisting it to make it fresh and luxurious. Honestly, I can’t recall bopping my head so much to an album since Kanye West’s 2004 debut College Dropout. The production is out of this world, the rap bars are straight ridiculous, and the overall feeling of this album is rich. I mean, can you really get any better than Jay-Z and Kanye West? It doesn’t matter if you’re a Hip-Hop buff or a Pop fiend, Watch The Throne will have you in a trance that you’ll plead not to come out of.
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Songs on Repeat
Niggas in Paris
Otis (feat. Otis Redding)
Who Gon’ Stop Me
Why I Love You (feat. Mr. Hudson)
Songs to Skip
That’s My Bitch
Illest Motherfucker Alive (Deluxe Edition)
What Are Your Thoughts on Watch The Throne?