Jay-Z/Kanye West / Watch The Throne

Watch the Throne

Watch the Throne is a collaborative studio album by American rappers Jay-Z and Kanye West, released on August 8, 2011, by Roc-A-Fella Records, Roc Nation, and Def Jam Recordings. Recording sessions for the album took place at various recording locations and began in November 2010. It was produced by West, 88 Keys, RZA, Swizz Beatz, Jeff Bhasker, and Mike Dean, among others. Prior to the album, Jay-Z and West had collaborated on their respective singles and with West as a producer on Jay-Z’s work.

Expanding on the dense production style of West’s 2010 album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Watch the Throne incorporates orchestral and progressive rock influences, unconventional samples, and dramatic melodies in its sound. Jay-Z and West’s braggadocio lyrics on the album exhibit themes of opulence, fame, materialism, power, and the burdens of success, as well as political and socioeconomic context. Music writers interpreted the album’s subject matter to concern the rappers’ plight as African Americans struggling with financial success in America.

The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 436,000 copies its first week. It produced seven singles, including the international hits “Otis” and “Niggas in Paris” and Billboard hit “H•A•M“. Upon its release, Watch the Throne received generally positive reviews from music critics, who commended its production and the rappers’ performances, although some criticized its subject matter and cohesiveness. It was one of the top-ranked albums in year-end lists by critics and publications. Jay-Z and West promoted the album with a concert tour that spanned October to December 2011. The album has been certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America and, as of March 2012, has sold 1,421,000 copies in the United States.

The Analysis:

No Church In The Wild—-From the very first strains of this track, you know that you are in for an epic journey of two huge personalities coming together to make a possible masterpiece. When Jay opens his mouth and begins to rap over the dar beats of West’s production, you know this is a match made in heaven. there is no ego here…just the urge to make something magnificent……few can match the easy flow from Kanye….this is magnificent!

Lift Off—-When I first heard the opening strains to this track, I just knew….it was going to be EPIC!!!! When they included Beyoncé in the mix, that made it even more magnificent….there is an aggression to this track that Beyoncé herself is responsible for……her vocal combined with the music makes me feel really hyped! Kanye enters with some magnificent robot vocals that are fantastic…and delivers some lines in a higher tone that is so becoming…this is a magnificent track…..not sure why it did not get mass air-play….perhaps everyone feared nepotism…but it deserved to be heard everywhere!

Niggas In Paris—-With a sound that hearkens back to the earlier days of Jay’s solo music, this is not that different from the very first few singles he released. The piano in the backdrop is irritating…but it would be a different track without it. this is magnificent…these two work so well off of each other..it is like a marriage made in heaven. The interplay between the two vocals are as natural as spring and summer…..this is brilliant!

Otis—-The lead off single to this release and a fantastic video, the sample becomes annoying after a bit…but it never gets tired. The video and the premise is fun…and you can tell these guys have a relationship between the two of them that was begging to be expanded upon. The throwback soul vibe is freakin brilliant…..the vocal play between the two MC’s are incredible and leaves you breathless…..this is a match made in heaven…who knew!!!!

Gotta Have It—-Again searching back into the old school souls sound, Kanye delivers an opening vocal that is magnificent. The switch back and forth between the two is almost seamless…even over the heavy sample…this is practised and perfect…there are no errors…but pure perfection. Jay is laid back as always….Kanye still carries his anger…it drives this entire lp…..

New Day—-Returning to the Robo-Voice of his previous releases, Kanye begins this whole show with a nice vocal introduction……with just a tad bit of reverse racism thrown in for fun? Sometimes I get offended…but I try not to let it get in my soul…..I’m the most open-minded person in the world…sometimes the fact that people feel this way hurts my soul…..but that is what music is for…to discuss and reveal….

That’s My Bitch—-With a nice throwback hyped feel, this reminds me a lot of old school rap from the late 80’s!!! The sample that runs through the song is incredible and Kanye delivers a flow that is just incredible….words piled upon words….making me smile. This is fun, misogynistic and predictable…but needed in the flow of the CD….the backdrop singing makes the track even larger…this is fantastic…..Jay can go fast to…who knew!!!!

Welcome To The Jungle—-Another sample filled track that just adds to the hype-ability of the song….makes it even more incredible. So often through this release, Jay sounds almost breathless…like he caught the excitement that this whole thing was going to become. This is line after line of classic wordplay….lyrics that make you think and require time to digest…this is incredible…almost a year out and I still listen to this most everyday!!!

Who Gon Stop Me—-Again sample heavy, but with some really aggressive sounds in the backdrop, Kanye almost manages to outshine the master on this track. There is a real distortion that runs through the backdrop…as well as the vocal distortion that gives a hyped energy that is impossible to ignore…this is one of my favorite tracks on the CD.

Murder To Excellence—-This is rather run of the mill…..it appeals to me, but is not a stand out track to me…I know the content is important….Blacks are killing Blacks at an alarming rate…so perhaps we should pay attention…I understand the frustration…but what about the sympathetic White guys dudes? We do exist…..

Made In America—-A track full of empowerment and references to the greatest that stood for equality, you have to give the guys credit for including those things that make credence to the advancement of human beings! this is a poignant song…with many references to Kanye’s mom…while Jay sits in the back for most of the song. The interlude that runs through the back drop gives me shills…this is epic!!!!

Why I Love You—-Another brilliant track…..with fantastic manipulated samples and an energy that makes me want yo jump up and get rowdy from. The vocal from Jay is still almost breathless……wondering what that is all about. The energy of this song…even though it ebbs…never lets you alone…this is hyper active…built around an ADD nation!!!!

Illest Motherfucker—-Not a favorite of mine, but it is still a classic track…..I will leave most of my comments to myself…..sometimes Kanye and his words cause me hurt?

H*A*M*—-Stripped down and very raw, this is kind of surprise to be…I guess just because it is so graphic. This is raw and sexist…I guess that fits in the whole rap game…right? The ‘chorus’ opens up the song really nice…but you have to wonder whether Jay was really on board with this whole thing…especially since his verses are totally different from anything Kanye delivers…but, somehow it works…amazing!!!!

Primetime—-CLASSIC…..one of the few tracks that seems to allow Jay control from the very onset, this is like old school Jay….I love this. I like the stripped down NY style music…this is a first on this release thus far….even Kanye sounds a bit different on his delivery……I love this track……fantastic…and one of my favorites!!!!

The Joy—-Damn I love this sample…..wish I knew where it came from. Kanye enters the scene and delivers a rather dry vocal…full od nastiness and things that really do not fit on this release which has been full of empowerment and expression. I dont hate this, but to end it like this makes me wonder. I see more stuff from these two…and I can’t wait…..I love Jay and Kanye together…without the reverse racism please!!!!

***** out of 5 [!!!!!]



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