Thursday Review: Watch The Throne

Watch The Throne big

I’m a Jay-Z fan, not much of a Kanye West fan as of late… I’m being honest not just with you but myself right now. When word hit about this album the rumors were flying everywhere about who would produce it since the production list for My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy really never was what it was supposed to be. This album does have a gang of producers like 88-Keys, Pharrell, Q-Tip, The Rza and Swizz Beatz. Swizz Beatz? I’m going to say it now, I think that Swizz saved Jay-z life at some point. Not like a beat to help keep him in the mix or helped in a beef, I mean like helped save his life or someone in his family. Maybe donated a kidney to a family member or something? I’m not getting how Jay and Swizz keep connecting, it would be nice if it was a good thing but it’s not.

Anyway there is something about this album that really doesn’t seem right. I know if this album had came say 6 years ago it would be more like Be The Common album or Late Registration titled Blueprint 3 if Jay had dropped it in 05 or 06 when Ye was still choppin samples because no one would really want to hear Kanye on every song with Hova but would have loved to hear those soulful samples backing Jay up. But it’s 2011 and both men are major Hip Hop stars in the booth and thus this is the album we are given. First thing you notice is Jay isn’t really spitting his A game shit a lot on Watch The Throne. Sure to those who’ve ran with Jay during his comeback it’s cool to dismiss this comment but if you’ve followed Jay from the beginning you know he should be killing every track with ease. Kanye holds his own and it’s not the bars all the time, most of the fucking time, but his charisma, most the shit he says is down right lame.

Listening to Watch The Throne is like experiencing Hip Hops version of Dean and Jerry. Jay is Dean very well respected and talented and Ye is Jerry the artists who on the surface is there to sell units but he is truly a mastermind. He presents comic relief in his verses even on the serious subject matter songs (which are like 3 on this album). Ok I’m being nice Jay is Dean Martin, the reason why any real Hip Hop fan will consider buying this album and Kanye is Jerry Lewis the fucking clown who appeals to the pop culture, there I said it, I will move on now

The album starts off good with the 88-Keys produced “No Church In The Wild” which even with the lackluster Frank Ocean on the hook and the I guess what is the bridge before Kanye spits with the odd ass opening line the song is still good. After what is by Watch The Throne standards a great way to start an album things get strange. The next two songs aren’t anything different than what’s the norm for Hip Hop right now so I’m not sure if it was a follow the crowd thing or both Hov and Ye were cocky as fuck and chose to be on some anything you can do I can do better shit? There are some Hip Hop boom bap nods on here (“Otis”, “That’s My Bitch”, “Primetime” and “The Joy”). “That’s My Bitch” the Q-Tip produced track fits in well with the over all sound of the album while “Otis seems to be trying to be that soul sample Hip Hop sound. Both men seem playful on “Otis” and “The Joy” which was the Pete Rock Produced track that was all over the place last year. “Primetime” and ”The Joy” are bonus tracks and just the sound of both songs let’s you know why even though both are good songs they couldn’t make the official album.

Where Watch The Throne excels is when the chances taken work. One great example is The Rza produced “New Day”. Seeing Rza name on the credit and then hearing his beat made sense and is another reason why fellow Wu Tang Clan members rarely deal with Mr. Robert Digital for a beat these days. The plus side is the way Nina Simone vocals sound on here with Auto tune, you know I’m far from a fan of that corny shit too. It blends in nice with the beat and Jay and Kanye show and prove with topic of speaking as soon to be fathers. The other concept song is “Murder To Excellence”. Two different topics, two different beats and Jay and Ye float over both beats making the transition from murders to being excellent   with ease. The not so subtle address to Beanie Segal which is oddly and maybe for the best for the Jay-z solo shot “Why I Love You” is a bonus track that could have made the official cut just by the music alone.

Two major missteps though are the Beyonce assisted “Lift Off” which has an actual sound clip of someone at NASA doin the countdown shit. Then there is “Niggas In Paris” is an example where you know Jay just figured he’d say anything and it would still be hot cause he’s Jay-Z. Kanye chose to sound like he’s on some Project Pat shit and the sound byte of some Will Ferrell makes perfect sense, trust me it makes all the sense in the world. “H.A.M” is another totally clusterfuck of a song where they seem to just be on parody shit. It’s like this should have been some SNL skit shit not a real song at all. I mean how can you not kinda laugh at the 300/Gladiator/Gothic ending?

Is Watch The Throne a classic, fuck no. If this album as it is right now was from a new comer or some one already in the game like Rick Ross, Weezy or even Gucci this could be a great album. If this was solo album from either Jay or Kanye this would be good. As a collaborative album with the two titans this album is mediocre at best. It’s kinda hard to explain, ok not really so here goes. Watch The Throne is supposed to be that new shit, it’s supposed to set the bar fucking high, break the glass ceiling type shit. This supposed to be Paul McCartney and John Lennon connecting again, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye or Michael Jackson at their peak joining together in any pairing. Most of the songs on Watch The Throne aren’t anything new at all, any artist out right now could have done 80% of the songs on this album. This album sounds like to close homies decided to work together and have fun, most of the songs are them bragging on how rich they are and how we are jealous. We’ve already have an offering of two old friends recording for the fuck of in Hell The Sequel, that EP is better than this album.

This album in my opinion  was supposed to be the talk of the street and net alike because it was so different from a regular Hip Hop album like The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill, The Love Below, any Kool Keith album and Prince Of Theives. I know I’m in the minority because the net is all over this album like it’s the greatest shit ever, and for no other reason then because it is Jay-Z and Kanye West. This album is good not great and like I said will not go down as a classic. If you’re a fan of their current work this will not disappoint, if you’re like me and was expecting so much more than two rich dudes bragging over the same backdrops everyone is using then this is just another Hip Hop album nothing major here really, move on with life.

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