For all intensive purposes, let’s look at Watch the Throne as a gathering of the two biggest modern day hip-hop acts. And to increase the punch, let’s just assume that this album is a battle of the mc’s, each trying to one-up the other trading verses and rhythmic off-time style to win the listener over and beat their opponent. Jay-Z and Kanye West are dueling, competing, and vying to win the top position in the modern day hip-hop game. Without these preconceived concepts, Watch the Throne sort of loses its value, because the music here isn’t all that particularly amazing.
The super group is an odd thing to grasp in the music industry because it sounds like it should result in an amazing combination of the greatest assets of all artists involved. And yet the super group rarely results in something that is better than the artists in their original projects. So if we apply the definition of super group to West’s and Jay-Z’s new album, and their new group, called the Throne, they are absolutely a super group and absolutely do nothing groundbreaking to take down the stigma against the super group mediocrity trail.
Watch the Throne has a lot in common with West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and yet lacks a lot of the emotional punch that record had, likely due to the lack of West’s production for Watch the Throne. But this record is more suitable for Jay-Z to have a place, where he slays on tracks Who Gon Stop Me and Welcome to the Jungle. Who Gon Stop Me has an interesting beat, and openly adheres to the experimental sense of the album, without being awkward and ill-placed- it remains a top tier track.
No Church in the Wild is a slow romping piece featuring Frank Ocean and translates well with his voice, likely due to its similarities to Ocean’s lead single from his own album, Novacaine. That’s My Bitch is another fantastic little track, and with the chorus, reminds me of 90″Â²s rap hip hop titans, and its beat is reminiscent of old school hip-hop. And for anyone who finds Kanye’s producing skills better than his rapping skills, needs this track on spin.
Of course, there are duds. Made in America is drooling and boring, New Day is solid but recycled in lyrical content, and Lift Off features Beyonce who adds her loathsome flair to the track every 45 seconds, and hosts a silly electro-whimsical beat that makes me nauseous.
The best portions are when the two mc’s switch off quickly and trade lines over full verses, such as closing track Why I Love You that is an aggressive headbanger, and one of the most repeatable songs here- right next to Niggas in Paris featuring the best beat and the rappers at their angriest.
Watch the Throne is remarkable for a few reasons. For one, it IS a combination of two great rap minds coming together and releasing solid tracks and a few phenomenal tracks and a few bad tracks that wouldn’t make their way onto either of the artists album’s. It is remarkable because it will likely be a trend we see with the recent announcement of Lil Wayne and Drake’s album together, and knowing that when the top do it, the rest follow suit. And finally, this is the first mainstream album, in just about forever, that failed to leak pre-release and may act as an arbitrator for other artists to follow this similar release structure and protective measurements.
Watch the Throne, musically, is unremarkable. But the circumstances surrounding the record are quite appealing and may pave the way for future musical acts to follow. It’s early to fully get a grasp of what Watch the Throne actually did for the music industry, but at its core, we have two highly influential artists putting their heads together and collecting their strengths (Kan’s production, Jay-Z”s gangster aesthetic) and delivering an ego-centric and maniacal force of hip-hop duality. Now us fans get to watch the experiment sizzle.
Who Gon Stop Me
That’s My Bitch
N****s in Paris