Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Watch the Throne
There has been a ridiculous amount of hype surrounding this album, and most music critics have given it relatively good reviews. Upon early release, “H-A-M” hit 23 on the Billboard Hot 100 and “Otis” hit 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. As a whole, however, I don’t think the album can live up to the preset standards everyone made for it. This collaboration should theoretically produce one of the greatest rap albums ever created, but it is nowhere near that level.
Jay-Z and Kanye sound great on the album, but they don’t seem to mesh with each other very well. They are too big to be able to handle this kind of teamwork-based album, and their lyrics tend to focus on themselves, as the album’s title suggests. The only problem is, which one of them is sitting in the throne? It seems almost as if this album displays that very battle, to take over the throne, but their disguising it be “collaborating”. It’s not that their work is bad, and like I said, they sound great as two individuals performing on the same album. But they don’t ever impress me as being a team. The whole album feels more like a money-making scheme based on the hype they knew would be generated by to rap superstars working on the same album. Unlike the ‘90’s collaborations between Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, this is a “Super Album” where both stars are featured in every song. It sounds great in theory, but I really don’t think it works out that well in reality.
I will give both Jay-Z and Kanye West credit for recording the entire album in person as opposed to recording at separate locations. That was definitely a step in the right direction towards a true collaborative project, although there are rumors that the two argued about the musical direction of the album, and most of the music they originally recorded doesn’t appear on Watch the Throne. I would be very interested to hear that material; did somebody say second album? We’ll see, but I have a feeling that they’ll work together again in the future, depending on the success of Watch the Throne.
From a musical aspect, I really don’t enjoy the album that much. The beats are a kind of strange combination of oldschool and new rap that doesn’t really fit the combination of Jay-Z and Kanye. I will admit that I’m partial to the older stuff, and the beats on Doggystyle are probably some of my favorite of all time. I’m not really a fan of newer styles and beats, but I think the combination can be very effective at reaching a wide audience. I just don’t think they did a great job mixing them on this album. I’ve heard music from both Kanye and Jay-Z that completely outshines Watch the Throne, and it’s honestly disappointing. I do really like “Otis” and “Murder to Excellence”, but “H-A-M” is terrible and the rest of the album draws the “meh” response from me.
I’m sure a lot of people will disagree with me, and I know that many people love the album, but I really feel like they didn’t nail it like they could have. I don’t see this being an extremely memorable album 10 or 20 years from now, but all we can do is wait and see what happens.
Image Courtesy of:
Carlin with Music