Jay-Z and Kanye West. Two of the most successful rappers to pick up a microphone. When rumors flew about a collaboration record between the two, anyone that still gave mainstream rap the time of day probably had no words to describe the expectations attached to this record. With Yeezy on the heels of his incredibly successful My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and Jay-Z nearly two years removed from The Blueprint 3, the time seemed right for the striking. Yet, in all the hype of what is sure to be a love or hate relationship with this record, Watch the Throne is nearly ceremonial in its delivery of hip-hop in epic proportions. Creating a nearly theatrical backdrop for the wordsmith of two of the game’s finest, Watch the Throne hits all the right strides to make this record a monster in all of it’s sample-laden, raw-worded perfection.
Even though The Throne’s initial single “H.A.M.” didn’t make it into the final collection of tracks, there’s no reason to feel shorted as there is more than enough to satisfy your taste for The Throne otherwise. From the thumping beat that opens “No Church in the Wild”, there is no doubt everyone attached to this project came with the intention of only contributing their very best. Frank Ocean’s sizzling chorus counters the pulsing beat as both Jay and Kanye’s words slice through the beat with ease. The success of this track reflects on the success of record as whole – powerful production that makes for playgrounds rather than fenced-in yards, as all vocal parts considered make the best of their moments in the spotlight. Throw in great structuring in terms of the record’s pacing, and it is difficult to point to any one part of this machine being faulty. Electro-pop drives “Lift Off” into dizzying heights, as Beyonce’s guest spot is both brilliant in placement and execution. It makes way for Kanye’s ego-flashing ways, something he is unapologetic and excessively brilliant at conveying. Jay-Z doesn’t come in shabby either, as any venom or inspiration he’s built up since BP3 makes its way into the smooth lines heard throughout the album. “N****s in Paris” comes in just as hard though, as the simple melody and thunderous bass hits make a perfectly mischievous backdrop for the hard-hitting lyrical attack this song brings.
Watch the Throne takes a noticeable shift with “Otis” ushering in a slew of soul and slower tempos, as the upbeat, yet choppy samples of Otis Redding’s “Try a Little Tenderness” harken comparisons to a slower, less hook-driven “Gold Digger”. It is also arguably one of the better examples of interplay between the two vocally, as the exchanges are much less sectioned off and flow much more naturally. “Gotta Have It” follows a similar feel in terms of lyrical delivery, as the two take turns taking jabs while staying true to their own styles. The album then comes somewhat full circle beat-wise, as “That’s My Bitch” returns to the percussive roots of “No Church in the Wild”, albeit with a buzzing synth line keeping this track on a constant simmer musically. From that point, the production side branches from what has already been heard. “Welcome to the Jungle” is the sluggish one of the bunch, falling flat to Swiss Beatz’ unenergetic melodies, while “Made in America” could be better if it didn’t fall prey to the bells and whistles that ruin the otherwise solid beat here. Still, the album doesn’t lose much steam by this point, as the epic closer “Why I Love You” clashes huge sounds against slower electronics to give a proper stage for the duo to make their seething closing remarks.
With a ying-and-yang chemistry and beats so good you can’t help but get into them, Watch the Throne is a well-constructed journey from front to back. Rarely out of form even in their own standards, Kanye West and Jay-Z prove their work together to be beyond what many would expect out of a collaboration, and in the process give us arguably one of the best records the genre will see this year.
2. Lift Off (feat. Beyonce)
3. N****s in Paris
4. Otis (feat. Otis Redding)
5. Gotta Have It
6. New Day
7. That's My Bitch
8. Welcome to the Jungle
9. Who's Gon Stop Me
10. Murder to Excellence
11. Made in America (feat. Frank Ocean)
12. Why I Love You (feat. Mr. Hudson)
There are two artists called The Throne:
1. The Throne is a hip-hop duo consisting of Jay-Z and Kanye West which formed in 2010. The group has released two singles, "H.A.M." and "Otis" and will release their debut album, Watch the Throne on 8 August 2011.
2. The Throne is a polish post-metal/sludge band formed in late 2009. Their music is a crossover between slow post-rock soundscapes and heavy sludge parts. They’e released an EP called Fig.2, which was acclaimed very well. For the fans of Neurosis, Rosetta, Cult of Luna, Isis, AmenRa etc.... read more