It was no surprise that I was excited about this project. Not only for the fact that it was two of my favorite artists, but also because it was marking a glorious moment for Hip-Hop, one that we don’t see too often. Now after I made that post regarding the music itself and I finally managed to download Watch The Throne to my iTunes, I noticed a few immediate reactions of course, via my Twitter account. Some had already claimed it to be far from a classic, some called it legendary, and most were judging those who made immediate reactions without holding the album for at least a few days. If there was one thing I knew for myself, it was that I was not going to review one of the highest anticipated albums of the year without having for at least a week to get a good feel for what I was listening to. So I kept a lot of my own personal thoughts about the album scarce on Twitter, and just let them stir as I listened to the records.

The problem with many individuals (especially those who discuss music on Social Networks) is that some can be easily swayed by the opinions of those who are more popular, those people being far from perfect. So when I noticed certain individuals who sat on the album no more than a couple of days say what the album is and isn’t, I knew there would be many opinions to cookie cutter copy it not knowing or thinking that these popular people are just as flawed as those who follow them. They make the mistake of forgetting those opinions are, Indeed Opinions. These people can just as easily as anyone else forget what the point of all this is… the music.


Given that these artists are so epic in terms of how they deliver and create with their craft, and even the feeling they created around the project, it’s too easy to get lost in the hype and expect the greatest project you’ve ever heard in your life instead of remembering this is ONE project from two artists who just happen to be taste makers/game runners. Now with all that said, let’s really get into the actual product.

 

‘No Church in the Wild’ starts the album off on a powerful note, reminding me slightly of Ocean’s smash hit ‘Novacane’ only on steroids. Kanye comes in swinging, flowing well with nothing really too ridiculous to repeat except for the “Sunglasses and Advil” line which everyone will put on their Facebook/Twitter accounts to represent the previous night. No Church and Novacane are similar in terms of the drum pattern but not in a way where it becomes old quickly because you feel you’ve heard it before. Speaking of Ocean, he definitely brings his A-Game to the track, providing a hook that I almost prefer over the verses in terms of the content and sets a tone for the album that is definitely misleading by the light, horn heavy ‘Lift Off’. Beyonce’s singing isn’t even an issue here, but repeating the hook, with only an eight bar assist from the stars of the album? That shouldn’t even be tolerated. There’s almost a obvious sign here that they weren’t taking themselves too seriously. I would’ve preferred this as a bonus. 

Ball so hard mother f$%ers wanna find me…

The ridiculously cocky ‘Ni**as In Paris’ has Hov and Ye starting up the insanely annoying “That Sh*t Cray” trend and reminding y’all of how great Will Ferrell movies are while they’re at it. They enjoy talking that talk that only they could talk and they’re going to make sure you know it. Kanye shows up Jay on here as well as the track practically becomes Ye’s once the beat flips into the dramatic side. “Don’t Let Me Get Into My Zone” is chanted throughout the end in different variations, with Jay coming in to add little touches to Kanye’s groundwork.

Otis is one of my favorite tracks off of WTT because not only is it damn near impossible to get tired of, it’s one of those rare tracks that only get tiring depending on the lyrical strength behind it and got damn, do these two go in here (Pause). From Hov Putting supermodels in a cab, to Ye making niggas tuck their whole Summer in, the flows are 10/10 and the lyrics are on 20. They stripped the track of any fancy work and left the power of it with their words, and this proves they can definitely captivate with just that alone if there was ever any doubt. I can’t help but rap every single damn word when this comes on.

Turn my headphones up, louder…

The Neptunes laced Kanye and Jay with a easy track to vibe on, as the two go back and forth a bit here in a manner that I’m sure fans were looking for. Mr. Carter comes to life on this, showing out but Ye manages to make his line the easiest to stick around in your head. You won’t be thinking of YC’s hit when you hear “Racks on Racks on Racks” at all, you’ll probably be thinking “Maybachs on bachs on bachs on bachs on bachs, who in that? Oh sh*t- It’s just blacks on black on blacks”. They’ve got a possible radio friendly track here.

Sorry Junior, I already ruined ya…

New Day is one of my favorite tracks just because of the diversity in terms of it’s content. Not too often do you hear two artists this powerful make themselves vulnerable to this extent, while over a haunting but catchy RZA beat. Too many quotables to mention considering all the context around it.  It’s powerful, not because of the calm beat, but because of the heart the artists put into the work. I really appreciated this one.

Here the album gets reckless again, lyrics flying left and right over harder beats, starting with ‘Thats my B$%*h’ getting a remake, making it easier to understand, adding more Charlie Wilson and even a few new Jay lines to strengthen his verse. Overall, it does make it refreshing, and Jay-Z shows his ass once again, but that could be because while listening I know he’s speaking of his powerful wife that we all know is Beyonce. Who knows, but it’s still a damn good track and mannnn listen, if Q-Tip didn’t spazz on that beat…

Welcome to the Jungle…

This track here was somewhat simple in terms of beat which I didn’t really mind but the interesting point here was that it seemed like Swizz Beatz was trying to make his beat sound more complex than it was. Nonetheless, It didn’t matter as Jay reminded everyone who the fuck he was. The hunger was revived and Ye was nowhere to be found to defend himself on the track. It was Jay’s time to shine. Oh and Swizz Beatz speaking on the track was superfluous to say the least. Homie, you produced it, you can’t just collect the Producers check and stay off it otherwise? You just can’t stop?

I can’t stop…

Moving right along… Ye and Jay do a great job of creating a solid track that is both good in terms of lyrics and ALSO as a track itself on ‘Who Gon Stop Me’. I believe this sold really well individually as well when the album first dropped. The first two minutes is great but the last two!? MANNNN…  The beat picks up and gets radical as Jay puts Kanye in the casket again, riding the beat but with an aggressive flow, the hunger showing itself here as well. 

‘Murder to Excellence’ is solid with the lyrical ability as well with solid production between Swizz Beatz and Symbolic One, the man behind Ye’s ‘POWER’. The beat flips once again half way through and here Jay and Ye were both on point but with Ye given slightly less room to stretch his lyrical limbs.

Sweet Baby Jesus…

‘Made In America’ has Ocean showing his ability to sing more here than in his previous feature, with Ye lacing the track with a powerful first verse. Reflecting on past things such as South Park poking fun at him, his mother, and getting No I.D.’s number, I felt he slightly stepped ahead of Jay in the long run with this track.

I Love You So… but why I Love You, I’ll never know…

Jay comes in quick on ‘Why I Love You’ and drives home a swift style of flowing and with more of a story to tell in terms of his relationship with Hip-Hop, he definitely shines here. The G.O.O.D music artist Mr. Hudson provides the hook and definitely did his thing there as well. The back and forth flow at the very end is deep, between “Am I my brother’s keeper? Only if that ni**a don’t creep up” to “Cause the ni**a that said he’ll blast for ya, is now blastin for ya” It’s definitely a heartfelt record that is a great way to end the regular edition of Watch The Throne. If you’re a hardcore fan like me though, you bought the deluxe and came upon…

I need a slow motion video right now…

‘Illest Motherfucker Alive’ has Ye doing this thing in the first verse, showing why he deserves to do this album with Jay with lines like “Got staples on my d**k (Why?) F***ing centerfolds…” while the King himself provides a chill but still up to par verse mentioning how he’s already defeated Elvis in terms of his #1 albums in history.

H-A-M and The Joy are two tracks we’ve definitely heard before but for what it’s worth, listening to Illest alive and letting it lead into H-A-M for some reason makes it much more enjoyable for me.  While the Joy is the track to end the album, Primetime is the last fresh track so I’ll go over that last. With it’s classic beat, Hov puts the competition to rest (not only Ye, but all competition currently) with a number filled verse but the beginning in particular has him showing his a** for sure (pause). Ye provides a tough verse as well but in the end with lines like “Well Adam gave up a rib so mine better be prime” but Jay still managed to edge him out.

We’re all lovers of music in our own ways, and as I tried to put a focus on before the project even came out, it’s all about the music. It’s always difficult to look at a project and judge it because you begin to question whether or not it’s fair to compare it to the last. Something can be better because of the time it came out and the memories that surrounded it, and if the next isn’t as powerful and can create a feeling just as great with it’s context (which is unfair to expect) then does that automatically make it a failure? I don’t think so. If you strip it of it’s hype, all the talk, and the discographies of the two, do you look at this team effort by The Throne the same as you did before? I like Watch The Throne. A hell of a lot. Is it a classic? I wish I could go 5-10 years into the future and let you know, but not a person alive right now can tell you if it’s a classic in the eyes of everyone, because it’s not even a month after. So While Watching The Throne, don’t expect so much and just enjoy the tracks for what they are, and you’ll learn to Love it a lot more.

 

Timeless Tracks: ‘New Day’, ‘Otis’, ‘No Church In The Wild’

Overall: 9/10

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