Jay-Z & Kanye West / Watch The Throne / Universal
Three words can characterize Watch The Throne: bold, innovative and fearless. That’s not to say Jay-Z and Kanye West’s latest project is a newgen rapper’s delight that will etch a permanent chapter in the scribe of rap’s history. Instead, Watch The Throne picks up where West’s Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy left off and embraces an eleven-year friendship, channeling a mass of influences, styles and radical methods. From a listener’s viewpoint, the duo’s first studio cut does play with creative production – from stirring ethnic Neptunes beats (“Gotta Have It”) to rhyming about fame around static drum and bass thumps and Blades Of Glory samples (“N***as In Paris”) – but it’s the similarities to West and Jay-Z’s beginnings and mid-2000s’ collaborations that blind.
“Who Gon Stop Me” runs off the rappers taking turns while “Murder To Excellence” stands tall at the podium with a youthful gang vocals beat to discuss small community warfare with lines like “No shop class but half the school got a tool”. “New Day” resonates the serious note even more with West and Jay-Z admitting their flaws, but it falls victim to the myriad of experimental rhythms that at times seem excessive and hyped. Which is rather startling compared to the better parts of Watch The Throne. Odd Future’s Frank Ocean is an almost irreplaceable handpicked guest on opener “No Church In The Wild”, exemplifying the two hip hop icons still have good taste (see the early 90s’ jazz rap flow on “That’s My Bitch”). When the duo – who’d rather adorn the title The Throne – are on, it really is too hard not to stop, listen and watch.
Download: “No Church In The Wild”, “That’s My Bitch”, “The Joy”
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