on 18 August 2011
'Watch The Throne' is a dark, sinister album consisting of two of the biggest rap stars in the industry today, Kanye West and Jay-Z. The album starts off with 'Church In The Wild', a moody, bouncy track featuring a chilling chorus from upcoming r'n'b singer Frank Ocean. Already you can tell the production is luscious, expansive and larger-than-life. The next song, 'Lift Off' features Beyonce, mixing synth-heavy production with horns and trumpets, following with a chilled ending that leaves you wanting more. Thankfully track 3, 'Ni**as in Paris', brings back the fiery nature of the two rappers, with large beats and a brilliant breakdown. Kanye tells us that there is much more to come, "You are now watching the throne, don't let me into my zone...". Lead single 'Otis' is a fun throwback to Otis Redding, with a catchy piano melody and both rappers playing off each other. 'Gotta Have It' has excellent production with the Neptunes, and the beat is great. 'New Day' is a track I dislike but many people may like it. It has Aretha Franklin heavily autotuned in the background but IMO it's a bit too slow and dull. 'That's My B**ch' brings the momentum back up again, with Ely Jackson singing a very catchy chorus while you can feel heavy tribal drums pulsating. It's a highlight from the album. 'Welcome To The Jungle' has a great irregular beat that works well. 'Who Gon Stop Me' is a hard-hitting semi-dubstep rap track that definitely sounds great when you turn the bass up. 'Murder To Excellence' is another highlight from the album, and consists really of two songs, both outstanding. The background children chants in the first part sound great, with a dark subject matter and suitably added piano melody towards the middle of the first part of the song. The second part has a different production that sounds just as awesome. 'Made In America' features once again Frank Ocean, a bit soft on the chorus but it's a nice downtempo song. Doesn't really fit in with the album much though. 'Why I Love You' has a catchy chorus thanks to Mr Hudson, although the song doesn't feel that much like a rap song - more like a dance/club song when the chorus kicks in.
All in all an EXCELLENT rap album that anyone who enjoys hip-hop should add to their collection!!!
on 26 August 2011
Right now Kanye West is in a similar place to where Dr Dre was in the late 80s and early 90s, when Dre was churning out great albums by NWA, Above the Law and the D.O.C. In the time that Dre has been seeking elusive perfection in forever polishing Detox (will it ever see the light of day?), Kanye has built a whole career, from his early moments of genius on Jay's Blueprint to their current Watch the Throne project. I don't know if the two have ever met, but master-producer Dre could learn something from Kanye's easier, more collaborative approach. Kanye's production fingerprints are all over Watch the Throne, but he happily works with a whole host of other producers, including the unsung hero Mike Dean, who did so much of the underlying work on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
As Chuck D said many years ago: 'All the critics you can hang 'em, I'll hold the rope'. And the critics have been out in their hordes for this one, waiting for the masters of the game to slip. Well, much of what has been written about this is nonsense. This is by no means a perfect record, but which is? (Nothing is perfect in this world Dre, so just drop that Detox and be done with it bro.) Whether it will survive as a hip-hop classic remains to be seen, but for now let's just enjoy some of the great moments on Watch the Throne. Of the 12 tracks on the album proper, most are very good, and a handful brilliant. The weaker moments come with the stabs at commerciality (the Beyonce featuring Life Off and the silly That's My Bitch, and even Otis wears on repeated listening). Some of the strongest tracks are bunched together in the album's great climax, beginning with the astonishing Who Gon Stop Me, where Jay chases the crazy heavy-synth beats; the brilliant 'nah, nah, nah' Swizz Beats hook of Murder to Excellence and its segue into an equally intriguing beat by No ID; the Frank Ocean beautifully crooned Made in America, and the full-blooded roar of Why I Love You. Elsewhere, the Neptunes produced Gotta Have It is a standout, as is the moving RZA-handled New Day, and the enigmatic No Church in the Wild, with its great performance from Frank Ocean.
Kanye's talents have always been in the production department and - although he raised his lyrical game in his last solo album - his rapping here is often disappointing, sounding over-confident and sometimes lazy (success can have its downsides, as 'Ye well knows). Jay, though, kllls it throughout. Kanye is at the top of the production game, and Jay is at the top of his lyrical game, with keen and urgent delivery on every track.
So, forget the haters, the cheap commerciality (dull r'n'b choruses etc.) of much of today's rap output, and enjoy a pioneering real hip hop album, 'cos these boys ain't vacating the throne for some time to come...
on 14 September 2011
Its not often that i listen to an album start to finish repeatedly....this album is amazing...from the production to the lyrical content, Kanye and Jay bounce off each other well...each song is completely different from the last, so many styles to keep you hooked, you will not get bored of this album, trust me!
on 28 June 2012
After seeing Jay Z and Kanye perform at the Hackney weekend on TV i decided to order the CD. I received it today and cannot stop listening to it. I expected it to be good as I already liked the songs they have released from the album, but I am extremely pleased the album is even better than I expected! They are such talented artists and together they make amazing music. I strongly recommend purchasing this album!
on 6 March 2012
I am not a hardcore hip/hop fan but having enjoyed the work of both of these artists in the past I thought this was worth listening to, and I certainly wasn't disappointed. It really does live up to the hype - every track on the album is very good, the lyrics are clever and inventive and the samples used throughout the album are some of the best I've heard. It's worth mentioning that this isn't the "hard" hip/hop or rap that can alienate people who don't love the genre, the tracks all have a very good "back beat" or tune which make for easy listening despite the harsher rapping elements.
I admittedly had to listen to the album twice before I fully appreciated some of the tracks but after this it became part of my core CD collection and I've listened to it many times since. I have now decided to go and see the Watch the Throne tour on the back of listening to the album and thinking it one of the best I've purchased in several years.
Overall, this CD lives up to the hype surrounding it and even for the part time hip hop fan like myself this is a great investment.