Watch the Throne is an album of 13 lyrical projectiles maneuvered around themes of religion, politics and the ups and down of success. 8 months in the making, it combines Kanye’s punch lines with Jay-Z’s knack for anecdotal rap yarns.
Opening with “No Church in the Wild,” a theistic dissertation, one would automatically assume that West and Carter are aiming their verses at God, but having absorbed the cut; it is more of a spiritual quiz that they are asking to the listener to take. “Lift-Off,” which features Beyonce, moves with its soulful blend of style packed rap. The schematics are built on unyielding metaphors that are steeped in lofty arrogance. “Niggas in Paris,” has an uncanny beat that makes you take notice of what West and Jay are speaking on. “Otis,” retraces the steps soul singer, Otis Redding, did in the song “Try a Little Tenderness,” where both rappers trade off and seemingly try to outdo each other with their performances. The only issue with the song is that you feel as though the beat could have been taken to another level as it comes across as extremely static.
The Neptunes produced “Gotta Have It,” is an introspective reflective with James Brown samples distributed over a Middle Eastern sound. On “New Day,” both rappers take a look at fatherhood through the what if crystal ball with a sample of Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good,” flowing in the background of a RZA concocted beat. “That’s My Bitch,” which leaked late last year makes its crescendo here with a stronger vibe. “Welcome to the Jungle” is a painstaking view of existence using the jungle as an allegory.
Both “Murder to Excellence” and “Made in America” are Watch the Throne ‘s apropos sermons. The former proffering a meaningful and serious look at Black on Black violence in all forms and the latter brandishing itself as a musing on the price of living in the lap of luxury. The last act of Watch the Throne is “Why I Love You,” an onslaught directed at critics of both Jay-Z and Kanye West with both delivering some of their best lines on the overall project.
Watch the Throne is a darker display of discourse than what we’ve heard from Jay-Z and Kanye West in the past. There are many points on the album where it feels as though Jay-Z is relinquishing his rap bravado to West, who one could argue steals the show. The picture Watch the Throne paints is one of captivating and distinctive execution of two great rappers’ flair for poetry.
Prime Cuts: “No Church in the Wild,” “Niggas In Paris,” “Gotta Have It,””Murder To Excellence,” & “Made In America”
Watch The Throne receives a PARL
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