Album Review: Jay-Z & Kanye West: ‘Watch the Throne’

Will “Watch the Throne” live up to the hype or will Jay-Z and Kanye prove themselves unworthy to sit upon any throne?By A.J. Niles

Arguably the most anticipated rap album of 2011, Jay-Z and Kanye West released a 12-track collaborative project on August 8th that has much to live up to. They released their album in a revolutionary way; it is first released on ITunes and began selling this week via “pop-up” stores. The Throne duo then released a video for “Otis” directed by acclaimed director Spike Jonze, which featured a Maybach worth over $1 million being transformed into a spark-throwing, donut-spinning dragster.

With a tour beginning this fall, Jay-Z and Kanye are expecting to reach platinum-status asap. But many of their fans are wondering if the duo found their lyrical stride again in the making of this “epic” album?

Well, the opening track, “No Church in the Wild” feat. Frank Ocean, makes it seem that these two decided to throw their lyrical weight around, especially Jay-Z. This song may rub people the wrong way as they speak of religion as the wrong path in life but it does make you seem that they are going to blow your mind lyrically. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

Kanye in particular seems to depend on basic rhyme schemes and a lack of actual content beyond the usual braggadocio flow regarding being a very rich black man that can have any woman he wants. On tracks such as “Lift Off” Feat. Beyonce, “N—-s in Paris” and “Otis,” Jay-Z raps circles around ‘Ye which is not saying much because Jay-Z just seems like he is getting lazy in the studio. For those looking for deep, profound lyrical content, you are not going to find that on “Watch the Throne” except for a couple of stand out tracks such as “Welcome to the Jungle,” “Made in America” feat. Frank Ocean and “Why I Love You” feat. Mr. Hudson.

The highlight of “Watch the Throne” will be its production which is some of the best in 2011. Even the Swizz Beatz produced “Welcome to the Jungle” is just a “straight head-knocker.” As soon as the beat drops, you just can’t help but nod your head. The track is reminiscent of the late 90’s/ early 2000’s stuff that was coming out on Def Jam. Just straight pure unadulterated “dope”.

Overall, “Watch the Throne” will be one of the best albums to release in 2011, mostly due to the production which is amazing. But, as I said earlier, those who are looking for Jay-Z to return to his “Blueprint” glory and for Kanye to re-live his “College Dropout” days, you will be disappointed.

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