Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Album Review | Watch The Throne - Jay Z + Kanye West

Artist: Jay Z, Kanye WestAlbum: Watch the Throne (2011)
Original review: August 8, 2012 on The CA Blog

One year removed from the release of arguably the best hip-hop collaborative albums of the past decade, Jay Z and Kanye West blessed summer 2011 with Watch the Throne, an almost obnoxious celebration of their successes, the empire they've built, collectively and individually, and the entities they've become. It was the beginning of an era where musical powerhouses could come together to create full LP's. The popularity of Watch the Throne was inevitable, yet it was a hit or miss for most people-either they loved it or hated it-but to me, was and still is a piece of work that stands out. If I'm being honest here, if we had to judge a book by the cover, the stunning artwork/design of Riccardo Tisci, I was pretty much sold at first sight. 

What I loved most about project was the lack of competition, where they not only made collaborating without outshining one another look easy, but possible as well. Only naturally, people expected it to be a rap battle of sorts, but that wasn't the case at all; just two mega-artist with roaring pride in who they are and what they do. It makes for a great story line. Also, I think it's pretty cool that the recording sessions were all over the globe in places such as Honolulu, Hawaii, Sydney, Australia, and of course, Paris, France; literally living the dream.

Musically, the production is what made this such a note-worthy album. Imagine names like Q-tip, The Neptunes, 88-Keys, RZA, all in astudio working to achieve one common goal: excellence in music. The samples, the use of beats and live instrumentation, the lyricism were all great attributes of this record as well. I was just entirely pleased with the way this album turned out. Although it was nominated for a few awards like Best Rap Album and made a few year-end list in 2011, I still felt like it was underrated. 

Favorite tracks: 

  • Murder to Excellence
  • Gotta Have it (ft. Frank Ocean)
  • Made in America

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