Thursday, December 22, 2011

Watch the Throne - The Cool Black Review

Watch the Throne album cover

Let me say that it took me a while to even check out this album by rap superstars Jay-Z & Kanye West I WAS NOT crazy (cray?) about the first two released tracks.

Watch the Throne was originally envisioned as a five track ep and then Kanye announced in October 2010 that this was going to be a full album. After I heard those first two singles I thought this album may be a “cash grab” to capitalize on their superstar status and or some sort of vanity project.

Following Kanye's announcement via his Twitter account, "H•A•M" was officially released as a digital download on January 11, 2011. On July 20, 2011 "OTIS" was premiered on Funkmaster Flex's Hot 97 radio show and subsequently leaked to the Internet.

As I stated, I wasn’t feeling EITHER of those tracks."H•A•M" was just "W•A•M" and the “W” stands for “Wack”. The only good thing about the song was the hook.

I thought their next single “OTIS” was gotdamn ridiculous when I first heard it. I could not hear what the heck Jay-Z & Kanye were saying over the overpowering Otis Redding vocals. The Otis Redding vocals are still overpowering, but I've gotten used to them & can now decipher what they are rapping about.

Ok that was the first tracks released, but when I finally listened to the album my first impressions were to quote a friend of mine, "not to be funny" this is more of a Kanye West album featuring Jay-Z. Whether by intent or design, Kanye seems to outshine Jay on every song.  Maybe Jay-Z is at the point in his career where he CAN just step back. Let’s also be clear that Kanye’s rap skills have finally arrived. I think what made My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy such a masterpiece (yeah I thought it was masterpiece) was that his rap skills have vastly improved. Dude is like a real MC now.

There are great songs like "No Church in the Wild" (featuring Frank Ocean), That's My Bitch and Made it in America (again featuring Frank Ocean), but my favorite tracks on the album are the back to back tracks "Lift Off" (featuring Beyoncé) produced by Kanye West, Jeff Bhasker, Mike Dean, with additional production by Q-Tip, Pharrell and Don Jazzy and the track "Niggas in Paris" produced by Hit-Boy, Kanye West, Mike Dean and Anthony Kilhoffer.

Those two songs work seamless together and alone. Perfect for an album. The Deluxe Edition Bonus Tracks while may be Deluxe...were no Bonus, including the aforementioned "H•A•M" which still didn't grow on me, but has become tolerable. As for the rest of the album even the tracks that don’t work by themselves work in the complete album.

Having said that, this whole album is HOT! Even though I deplore it, I can admit when I’m wrong. I mean it happens so rarely that it takes me by surprise. LOL.

Below is which of the individual tracks I thought were HOT

1. "No Church in the Wild" (featuring Frank Ocean) HOT
2. "Lift Off" (featuring Beyoncé) HOT
3. "Niggas in Paris" HOT
4. "Otis" (featuring Otis Redding)  HOT
5. "Gotta Have It" warm
6. "New Day"
7. "That’s My Bitch" HOT
8. "Welcome to the Jungle"
9. "Who Gon Stop Me"
10. "Murder to Excellence" HOT
11. "Made in America" (featuring Frank Ocean) HOT
12. "Why I Love You" (featuring Mr Hudson) warm

Deluxe Edition Bonus tracks

13. "Illest Motherfucker Alive"
14. "H•A•M"
15. "Primetime"
16. "The Joy" (featuring Curtis Mayfield)


Below is a look at some of the inner workings captured during the Watch the Throne recording sessions of Jay-Z and Kanye West.

Watch the Throne Session Photos

Check out the first video from Watch the Throne, OTIS , a video that more than likely got me to like the song more and video that looks like a whole bunch of fun

Check out an excellent short film based on "No Church in the Wild" (featuring Frank Ocean) at our parent blog ‘Nother Brother Entertainment blog here

Read about the video for Niggas in Paris on the ‘Nother Brother Entertainment Facebook page here

Related posts-

For ALL of our posts about Watch the Throne click here

Read Jay-Z and Kanye-A Timeline of Partnership here

For ALL blog posts about Jay-Z click here

For ALL blog posts about Kanye West click here

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