Review: Jay-Z and Kanye West — Watch The Throne

The famous book Outliers: The Story Of Success states that to be an expert at anything you must’ve spent at least 10,000 hours of doing the specific activity. Which leaves, me, Kevin Ross, an expert at only three things: drinking excess amounts of alcohol, listening to tons of rap music and last, but not least, sleeping.

I’ve been a fan of hip hop since I can remember my sister schooling me on 2pac. There’s special moments that you treasure as a genuine fan. My own personal special moment, which I will forever remember, was Jay-Z’s 10th Anniversary Reasonable Doubt concert.

With that being said, Watch The Throne was pegged and marketed as one of those “special moments” in hip-hop. The greatest rapper of our lifetime, Jay-Z, and arguably this decade’s most influential producer teaming up to produce a cohesive work of art… I mean how could it not be greatness?

I ask myself that question repeatedly while listening to this album and still don’t have an answer for you, or for myself.

Upon listening to the first few seconds of the first track “No Church”, you find yourself nodding your head immediately and grooving to the slick chorus provided by newcomer Frank Ocean. With solid verses from both Kanye & Jigga this is a great start to the album. However the next song “Take Off” just flat out sucks, while the beat and chorus provided by Jigga man’s wife Beyonce is phenomenal. However, it sucks simply because it feels forced by both Kanye and Jay-Z in this track. With Jay-z trying to harmonize a melody on this song, his efforts just equate to one huge epic failure.

So now we’re 1-1 and this Kingdom isn’t as great as they proclaim. Thankfully, the next track “Niggas In Paris” is probably the most listenable track and will probably be the next single, as it’s the only song I can see people listening to in their cars proudly. “Niggas in Paris” has the vibe of a typical hip hop song, with the initial braggadocio being spit by both Jay-Z with lines like “what is 50k to a nigga like me?” — until the entire song changes to a more introspective feel towards the end. The end result of this track is greatness and ranks in at 4 stars.

This is where the Throne starts to stumble, on the deluxe version every other song is greatness with the rest of it simply being garbage. So I’ll save you (and myself) by not continuing this depressing review any longer than it needs to be. The only songs worth your $1.29 on iTunes are as follows: “No Church,” “Niggas In Paris,” “New Day,” “Murder To Excellence,” “Why I Love You,” “Illest Motherfucker Alive” and “Made In America.”

With 7 out of 14 tracks being memorable and the rest of the album as fillers, I am sad to say without the insane amount of marketing dollars behind this album, it would be instantly forgettable. If we were still in the 90s, the Source would’ve said this album was filled with a bunch of bullshit album fillers and they wouldn’t be lying. The best way to sum up Watch The Throne would be to say that it is the rap version of Beyonce’s new album 4 and we all know that album sucks as well, so it’s not rocket science to figure out Watch The Throne sucks as well.

Sadly for hip hop fans across the globe, this Throne isn’t as polished as the album cover would like you to believe.

2 out 5 stars.

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