Sunday, August 14, 2011

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

Favorite tracks:
. That's My Bitch - Great sample, great beat, excellent hook by Elly Jackson. Justin Vernon's cameo is disturbingly cool.
"How can somethin’ so gangsta be so pretty in pictures? With jeans and a blazer and some Louboutin slippers"

. Otis - Exactly what I expect from Kanye & Jay. The two of them riding a soul sample trying to one-up each other, while complimenting each other in the process. Jay's opening verse and Kanye's second verse in particular are quite captivating.
"Luxury rap, the Hermes of verses,sophisticated ignorance, write my curses in cursive; I get it custom, you a customer, you ain’t ‘customed to going through Customs, you ain’t been nowhere, huh?"

. Murder to Excellence - Not sure what to say about this one, it's just a really solid track with a nice beat change in the middle. More of Kanye & Jay complimenting each other's style.
"Black excellence, opulence, decadence; Tuxes next to the president, I'm present"

. Why I Love You - The grandiose production really works on this one. Mr Hudson's hook is arguably the most memorable of the year. Kanye plays second fiddle quite nicely.
"Fuck you squares, The circle got smaller; The castle got bigger, The walls got taller"

. Illest Motherfucker Alive - Not really one of my favorites, but there are some killer one-liners on this one.
"Fuck your awards like Eddie Murphy’s couch; The Roc is in the building we should have stayed in the house"
"Know when to leave when the heat is coming, I learned that; This is where DiNero would be if he ain’t turn back"

. Primetime - No I.D continues his amazing year with another terrific beat.
"Well, Adam gave up a rib so mine better be prime; Niggas gon kill me, I swear they better be lying; I never live in fear, I’m too out of my mind"

The Joy - Originally a G.O.O.D. Friday track, it works nicely as a bonus track. Pete Rock really brings out the soul with the Curtis Mayfield sample in this one. And Jay's flow is great, one of the best he'd had in a while.
"Give all glory to Gloria; They said you raised that boy too fast, but you was raising a warrior"

Though lacking consistency and initially a bit underwhelming, Watch the Throne has some great high points and lasting replay value. As with any Kanye project, the production is the highlight of the album. Though both Jay and Kanye had some great moments and chemistry, they failed to meet the standards that their past collaborations have set. Most of the guest features fit into their retrospective tracks well, with Elly Jackson and Mr Hudson being the standouts. It probably won't get my pick for album of the year, but I certainly won't have forgotten about it by December.