ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Album Review: 'Watch The Throne'
After years of working with one another, it should come as no surprise that the two biggest names in hip-hop in the past decade (whom also worked with one another on certain songs) would join forces in creating a hip-hop super duo: Jay-Z and Kanye West.
Their latest project, "Watch The Throne," is a strange mix of quality production and some great lyrics with some content seemingly overblown and sort of follows trends Axl Rose used to destroy Guns N' Roses with "Chinese Democracy."
The album kicks of with "No Church In The Wild." This is a confused track of rappers applying f-bombs in a modern day gospel song. It starts off with a cool bass line, but West uses Auto-Tune in the production to give an almost organic sound a cheap science fiction vibe. Jay-Z soon saves the song by jumping and doing what he does best, rap. West's Auto-Tune touches actually ruins what could have been an excellent tune.
This is followed up with "Lift Off," featuring the vocal talent of Beyonce. Yet, despite her incredible vocals, the song is overloaded with sound effects and classical music samples that would have fit in perfectly with "Use Your Illusion" almost 20 years ago. It's not bad, but it is not what one would expect from this ensemble.
The track that stands out is "Otis," a song which features the late, great soul singer Otis Redding. Here, Jay-Z and West are giving a great performance, and the music is an old Redding song spliced in beat to the rhymes thrown down by the duo.
"Made In America" is an interesting ballad about West's experience growing up in America and his rise to fame. It's a self aggrandizing ego trip, and once again West goes on the attack at the cartoon "South Park," which mocked him in an episode for being an megalo-maniac.
Jay-Z once again saves the track, his sincerity intact. Jay-Z seems to have grown out of bringing up beefs from years ago and decides to not to throw out how rich and great he is, unlike West.
The final track, "Why I Love You," is great. The beats and production is top notch and Jay-Z throws down his ideas like he's on fire. Perhaps this is the best track because West is scarce and not using Auto-Tune to kill the track.
Overall, this is an ego trip album; two guys telling the world how great they are. They have never pretended to be humble, but after sitting through 12 songs (less than an hour worth of music) it seems like this dy-namic duo are not breaking any new ground. Which is sad in a way because both of their last albums were hands down in-credible. So it is a bit disap-pointing to listen to songs which almost sound like outtakes from "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" and "The Blue Print 3."