I know. “Watch the Throne”, this collaborative album between some of male hip hop’s heavy weights is destined to be one of those rare classics. Destined to be that fat cash cow non of them really needs. Destined to result in that tour from October to December this fall/winter. But beyond the hype and the fact that Jay-Z is Jay-Z and KanYe West is KanYe West, how good is the album if you strip it down to what it really is, an album consisting of 12 songs (16 on the deluxe edition)?
The opening track ‘No Church in the Wild’ is I must say, absolutely awful. The only thing saving it is Odd Future’s Frank Ocean, KanYe on the other hand is a hot mess on autotune, sounding like a leftover from something when he was on the edge with life. He continues this bad streak on the RZA-produced ‘New Day’. They both feel very dated to me. ‘No Chruch in the Wild’ is followed by ”Lift Off’ which is a positive surprise after that horrible intro. However, Jay -Z and KanYe West can claim the throne to their left and right all they like, here they are both overpowered by the real king, Beyoncé and here I’m starting to wish that Jay-Z was replaced by Bey on the rest of the album, that’s sadly not the case.
No. Instead it’s supposed to be the two male giants ruling the hip hop-kingdom in symbiosis. The first single from the album, ‘H.A.M’, is strangely only featured on the deluxe version of the release, however the second single ‘Otis’ that dropped in July is on the standard edition and let’s just say I’m not the biggest cheerleader of that track, no. How come Otis Redding is named as an featured artist on that one and Joshua Steele’s Flux Pavillion not on ‘Who Gon Stop Me?’, even if both tracks just consists of samples (in Redding’s case ‘Try a Little Tenderness’, sprinkled with some James Brown and Flux Pavillion’s ‘I Can’t Stop’)? Things like that annoys the shit out of me. A real feature is when someone steps into the booth and record something original for the track, everything else is samples/remixes/mixes/refixes and so on. If you gonna write up your samples as features, please a little consistency is key.
Let’s get back to that ‘Who Gon Stop Me?’ for a while as it’s actually one of my favourite tracks off this album, and yes, thanks to Flux Pavilion, even if the trend of rinsing dubstep through every musical filter there is, starting to get bit tad. It’s just so transparent, it’s only made for hype, and that’s just cheap.
The best track off the whole album is easily ‘Niggas in Paris’, the production signed Hit-Boy is proper and it makes sense, it’s living up to the hype. This is how this album should sound all the way through.
Not like ‘Why I Love You’ ft. Mr. Hudson. How did that one pass? Why is it even on here? And that’s my biggest issue with this album, even the standard edition is too much. An EP would have been just fine as “Watch The Throne” only got 4 good songs as it’s best, all wrapped up in something that could cover Liberace’s walls. 4 good ones (the 4th is ‘Primetime’ produced by No I.D. from the deluxe edition, the only track where Jay-Z sounds like his good self), the rest is just unnecessary stuffing with a couple of half decent ones like the Swizz Beatz-produced ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ and ‘Gotta Have It’ thanks to the Neptunes.
Mostly I lack a red thread, this is too much of the old voices of glorious soul trying to blend with La Roux’ Elly Jackson and jumping on bandwagons like the dubstep-craze. I wish KanYe had done this album on his own, I think the end result could have been much better. Jay-Z sounds off his game on most tracks and KanYe is better on conceptual thinking.
But I know, there’s really no point if we journalists give this album bad reviews and so on, this shit will sell, no matter what. Just cause of the fact that Jay-Z is Jay-Z and KanYe West is KanYe West, no matter if the music is good or bad.
|Artist: KanYe West & Jay-Z Title: “Watch The Throne“||Label: Def Jam: 8/8-11|
|Grade: ❤ ❤ ½ X X||Buy: Listen:|