Jay-Z and Kanye West
Watch the Throne


2.5
average

Review

by GeorgeNelson USER (21 Reviews)
February 23rd, 2013 | 15 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: 'Watch the Throne' isn't as colossal as it should be.

‘Watch the Throne’ isn’t as colossal as it should be.

It’s vast, cohesive and oddly complicated – it’s an ambitious effort, and it almost pays off. Really though, it strays from charming, playful boastfulness into distasteful arrogance. They’re great and they know it, and that’s fine; but the duo mess up the formula. Sleazy elitism doesn’t give ‘Watch the Throne’ magnitude; rather, it restricts it.

That isn’t to say it’s a bad album. It exhibits remarkable range while remaining organized – it’s diverse without being messy. ‘Watch the Throne’ is never a boring listen; Kanye and Jigga juggle tones wonderfully, confidently swapping the might of ‘Otis’ for murky, hypnotic grooves – I’m talking ‘New Day’ and ‘That’s My Bitch’. Stirring, eerie overtones permeate the record, and to be fair to ‘the Throne’ it’s not a simple album; when I recount their triumphs I feel a bit unforgiving. The production’s on an epic scale – Ye’ enlists veteran producers for gloriously orchestral backings. They only ruin it when they open their mouths.

The two shoot for a classic album, but misunderstand what’s needed. Frankly, insisting you’re magnificent isn’t enough. It’s an unsophisticated record, lacking the poised professionalism of ‘Reasonable Doubt’. It might sound pretentious, but great albums should spark cultural movement. ‘Watch the Throne’ does the opposite; it embodies the ruthless capitalism hip hop’s attacked since Flava Flav got his first pocket watch. (Actually, Chuck D responded to ‘Otis’ – check it out.) For Kanye, it marks a descent from charming jauntiness; remember “Ralph Lauren was borin’ before I wore him”? Confidence is cool; snobbery isn’t.

There are some real lowlights. RZA’s enlisted on ‘New Day’, and the guy’s a genius, but they sure murder Nina Simone. Having said this, there are redemptive moments: Hov gets contemplative every now and again

“I’m trying to lead a nation, to leave to my little man’s,
Or my daughter, so I’m boiling this water,
The scales was lopsided, I’m just restoring order.”

‘Watch the Throne’ is a ridiculous title, but Kanye and Jay-Z can do ridiculous; OTT vanity is what they do, and in ways the record’s cocksure and majestic. Strange thing is, it’s their strive for magnificence that strips them of their chance.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
stickchop
February 23rd 2013


4 Comments


Kanye is fantastic, Jay-Z on the other hand is an overrated, money ridden gloat.

chickasawcaleb
February 23rd 2013


126 Comments


ok cool

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
February 23rd 2013


50872 Comments


jay-z is awful

Digging: Bobby Barnett - Little Wounds

Storm In A Teacup
February 23rd 2013


13193 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Jay-Z is one of the worst rappers ever but I love Kanye.

Tell a bad bitch do whatever I say or they could get killed by just a look from Beyonce.

Funeralopolis
February 23rd 2013


11776 Comments


can't stand jay-z's voice

Digging: Waxahatchee - Cerulean Salt

iambandersnatch
February 23rd 2013


1494 Comments


going to chime in and say that I also never understood the appeal of jay-z

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
February 23rd 2013


15070 Comments


he's never been particularly interesting but he's good

reasonable doubt is a great album

oltnabrick
February 23rd 2013


31303 Comments


his lips are his appeal

Digging: Lil Debbie - Young Bitch

Vespiion
February 23rd 2013


1222 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I really dig Jay-Z's voice, actually.

Pretty good album.

Digging: Azealia Banks - Broke With Expensive Taste

Gwyn.
February 23rd 2013


15275 Comments


reasonable doubt is pretty cool, but the rest of what i've heard from jay-z(mind you that's the only
jay album ive heard completely) is awful

Kanye is an average rapper but his beats are fantastic, and for them it works so its ok

Vespiion
February 23rd 2013


1222 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Reasonable Doubt is his magnum opus, The Blueprint and The Black Album are pretty cool, too.

Storm In A Teacup
February 24th 2013


13193 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Otis Redding is a part of what went wrong in mainstream rap?

Stfu

You're just gonna have to get over the fact that there are many sub-genres of rap and hip-hop nowadays.

Cadda
February 24th 2013


162 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I feel like the review doesn't really justify the low rating.

RosaParks
February 25th 2013


14972 Comments


here we go....

Keyblade
February 25th 2013


15234 Comments


kinda agree with hillary here...really dislike this type of hip hop

Digging: Insides - Euphoria



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