Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Jay-Z & Kanye West – Watch the Throne (2011) – Review

Jay-Z & Kanye Wes – Watch the Throne
Watch the Throne dropped with huge expectations – the best verses, the best beats, and the best album. Kanye West and Jay-Z are probably the most prolific artists in hip hop, so how can they reconcile their own creative aspirations and egos to work together? Well, it helps that they have worked together extensively in the past. The album sonically seems like the next step from West’s My Dark Twisted Fantasy, as it further redefines what hip hop is capable of further pushing the envelope musically. You have not heard anything like this before – some tracks blend genres with an expert artistic ear (No Church in the Wild or Who Gon Stop Me). There are still some more classic hip hop moments too (Otis, The Joy). Watch the Throne sounds like a West album (and he was involved in the production of twelve tracks), but Jay-Z is given the greater of the lyrical work (Why I Love You and Welcome to the Jungle are essential Jay-Z tracks). Almost without any misogynist lyrics, the album celebrates success while also addressing issues at the heart of both artists, both personal and external. Much like the great Otis video (directed by Spike Jonze), there is a joy that comes through the music as well, which is refreshing when mean-mugging seems to be the order of the day in a lot of hip hop. Of the sixteen tracks on the deluxe edition, I think fifteen are very good and ten are excellent. So does this have the best verses and best beats? Yes, many of these tracks are among the best of the year. Is this the best album? Yes, this is the best album of the year so far. It transcends its genre further changing the game, and while that is hard for classic hip hop fans it is wonderful for music fans. 5/5   

Editor’s Song Picks:
1)      Murder to Excellence – Produced by Swizz Beatz and S1
2)      Niggas in Paris – Produced by Hit-Boy, Kanye West and Mike Dean
3)      Illest Motherfucker Alive – Produced by Southside, Kanye West and Mike Dean

Available on CD and Digital Download

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