Notes on Jay Z’s & Kanye West’s Watch the Throne

 

 

Whether a hater or lover of these big heads of Hip Hop, today marks the release of this year’s most anticipated Hip Hop album. Below is a song-by-song, quick, no-frills review of Ye’s and Hova’s collaborative effort, Watch the Throne. Today, I listened to the album twice and simply sketched out how I felt about each song. Here we go…

1. No Church in the Wild (feat Frank Ocean)

– I can move my shoulder to this…

– It’s “religion” meets a drug dealer. I don’t think this will be making church debuts.

2. Lift Off (feat Beyonce)

– Why don’t I ever like songs with both with Jay Z & Beyonce? The song sounds like it’s struggling for momentum.

– And can someone please get Kanye off that synthesizer pipe? Please!

3. Ni**gas in Paris

– I call this Ghetto Bourgeoisie

 4. Otis (feat Otis Redding)

–  The album’s second release, this is the obligatory “I’m the King of Hip Hop; Kiss My Crys-tal.”

–       Love the intro and the build up of Otis Redding’s smooth old-school-Black-man-voice trailing through the entire song.

–       A nice chemistry of both voices & style.

5. Gotta Have It

– My body snakes when I first hear the beat… that’s a good sign.

– Kanye West welcomes his listeners with,“Hello, hello, hello, white America, assassinate my character / Money matrimony, yea they tryna break the marriage up.”

– Contains samples from James Brown’s “Don’t Tell A Lie About Me and I Won’t Tell The Truth About You.”

– Again, Jay Z & and Kanye successfully choreograph their flows nicely together.

6. New Day

– A lyric-letter to Rap Moguls’ hypothetical sons, full of promises of how they’ll do right by them in the hypothetical future. Jay Z promises, “So at 13 we’ll have our first drink together / Black bar mitzvahs, mazel tov, mogul talk.” I see a hypothetical “Father of the Year” award.

– Contains synthesized samples of Dr. Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good.” Seriously? I take this personally.

 7. That’s My Bitch

– Stupid title.

– Has a hyped “take-me-back-to-the-80s/90s” beat that was co-produced by Q-tip.

–  Kanye disappoints me. Jay Z’s flow is better. Favorite lyrics: “I mean Marilyn Monroe, she’s quite nice / But why all the pretty icons always all-white? / Put some colored girls in the MOMA / Half these broads ain’t got nothing on Wyldna / Don’t make me bring Thelma in it / Bring Halle, Bring Penelope and Selma in it.”

8. Welcome to the Jungle

–       Obviously a Swizz beat– the sound is good in theory, but I had a headache at the end.

–       A lyrical confession about all the woes in their lives.  I was touched for a minute, then I just got bored.

9. Who Gon Stop Me

–       (sigh)

10. Murder to Excellence

–      In regards to sound, well-orchestrated.

–       In regards to content, it’s a lyrical map of the unfortunate trend of Black genocide: “Heard about at least 3 killings this afternoon / Lookin’ at the news like damn I was just with him after school / No shop class but half the school got a tool / And I could die any day type attitude / Plus his little brother got shot reppin’ his avenue / It’s time for us to stop and re-define black power / 41 souls murdered in 50 hours / The paper read murder / Black on black murder.”

–       Overall, solid song.

11. We Made It In America

–       Throughout the chorus, Frank Ocean croons, “Sweet King Martin / Sweet Queen Coretta / Sweet Brother Malcolm / Sweet Queen Betty / Sweet Mother Mary / Sweet Father Joseph / Sweet Jesus / We made it in America / Sweet Baby Jesus / Oh sweet baby Jesus.” Kind of weird song to have after “Murder Excellence,” where it clearly states that ‘we’ all haven’t made it.

–       Not feelin’ it.

 12. Why I Love You feat. Mr. Hudson

–       No thanks.

13. Illest MotherF**ker Alive

Best part of the song, Hova announces: “Michael Jordan swag, yall think Michael Jordan bad / Ni**a I got a 5 more rings than Michael Jordan had / Elvis has left the building now I’m on the Beatles ass / Ni**as hear Watch The Throne, yeah it’s like the Beatles back / Bey Bey my Yoko Ono, Rih Rih complete the family / Imagine how that’s gon look front row at the Grammys.” Oh snap. It’s like that?

14. H*A*M

–   H*A*M stands for Hard As a Muthaf***er. But how am I supposed to take someone seriously when they rap, “I’m about to go H*A*M?”

15. Primetime

– I enjoy the production of the song—the sound is very cinematic, sound effects and all.

– Lyrically, it’s, just, well, fine.

16. The Joy (feat Curtis Mayfield)

–       Probably one of my favorites in regards to production. Verry Dilla-esque, but is produced by Pete Rock and Kanye West

–       Strong in regards to flow and lyrics– a good song to end the album.

 

Did the album meet the high expectations? Of course not, nor did I expect it to. I think it’s evident that towards the end of my private listening party, I was not inspired. As expected, the album was mostly two very successful men in Hip Hop rubbing their balls, and reminding us how much money they have… yes, boys, we get it– you’re rich. There are a few tracks that will make it to my playlist (“No Church in the Wild,” “Otis,” “Murder to Excellence,” and “The Joy,” to be specific), but I’m think I’m ready for Jay Z to (finally) retire, and for Kanye West to just chill for a bit.

 

 

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