The phenomenon that is “Watch The Throne” started with a tweet from Kanye West last August announcing that he was working on a five-song album with Jay-Z. That concept expanded into a full-length project. Almost a year later, one of the most anticipated albums in hip-hop history was released exclusively through iTunes this past Monday, August 8.
When these two hip-hop legends came together to make this album, the expectations went through the roof, and they were able to deliver. “Watch The Throne” has only five features, including Jay-Z’s wife, Beyoncé. It also features production from Swizz Beatz, The RZA, Q-Tip and The Neptunes, in addition to West and many others.
With each album, West continues to progress hip-hop and take it to places many fans would never expect; undoubtedly, “Watch The Throne” continues this trend. He and Jay-Z rap over club, bass-heavy beats, samples of Nina Simone and Otis Redding and even a dub-step record on “Who Gon Stop Me.”
“Watch The Throne” is filled with witty lines including, “Prince Williams ain’t do it right if you ask me / Cause if I was him I would’ve married Kate and Ashley,” Kanye says on “Ni**as in Paris.” He follows it up on “Otis” when he says, “Luxury rap, the Hermes of verses / Sophisticated ignorance, write my curses in cursive.” Jay-Z brags on “Gotta Have It” when he says, “I wish I could give you this feelin” / I’m planking on a million.”
Kanye and Jay-Z delivered an album full of boastful yet honest raps. Although it may seem that they are only rapping about the finer things in life, there is much more to the album. For example, on “Murder to Excellence,” Kanye compares the murder rate in Chicago to Iraq, while Jay-Z talks about the violence issues within the community.
The most impressive track on “Watch The Throne” is “New Day,” produced by The RZA. On this song, Kanye and Jay talk to their unborn sons and reflect on their mistakes from the past. Kanye addresses the media’s criticism with lines like, “I mean I might even make ‘em be Republican / So everybody know he love white people,” West says. Jay-Z opens his verse with, “Sorry junior, I already ruined ya / Cause you ain’t even alive, paparazzi pursuin’ ya.” They both know that their fame will affect their children, but they illustrate the ways in which they would work to better their childrens’ lives.
On “Welcome to the Jungle,” Kanye and Jay-Z talk about the downside of fame. “Why I pray so hard / This is crazy God / Just when I thought I had everything / I lost it all,” West says. Jay-Z later adds, “Where the f**k is the press? / Where the f**k is the Pres? / Either they know or don’t care / I’m f**king depressed.” Both stars are able to shed light on the struggles they face as celebrities with the help of Swizz Beatz’s production.
The album comes to a close with “Why I Love You,” featuring Mr. Hudson, where Jay-Z opens up about the fall of his old record label, Roc-A-Fella Records. “Showed love to you ni**as / You ripped out my heart and you stepped on it / I picked up the pieces / Before you swept on it / God damn this shit leaves a mess don’t it?” Jay ends this powerful stanza with, “Wasn’t I a good king?”
“Watch The Throne” sends the message to the music world that these two are truly the best and nobody else can come close to the music they are creating right now. Despite all of the hype and buzz surrounding the album, Kanye and Jay-Z were able to live up to the expectations, if not exceed them, with “Watch The Throne.”