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IMHO: Jay-Z and Kanye’s Watch The Throne Reviewed by Jon Goode

Kanye is widely regarded as a premier music producer that is a fair to midland rapper with flashes of being a very good MC from time to time. Jay-Z is considered by most to be a great MC; his consistency, relevancy and longevity alone push him into rarefied air as far as MC’s are concerned. It is not often that artists, especially hip hop artists at the status of Kanye and Jay Z, can come together to make an album. Even if you put Ego’s aside just working out the time and scheduling must be a Herculean feat. So the announcement of Watch The Throne, the Kanye and Jay-Z album sparked instant buzz. The blending of the two musical juggernauts promised something epic, something people probably hadn’t seen since Built for Cuban Linx or Liquid Sword or MadVillainy and it delivered… a pretty good album but not a classic by any stretch of the imagination. The production on the album is very good top to bottom but like a leopard it has a few spots that you could live without. It is not the production, however, but the rapping that proves to be the Achilles heel of this album if you ask me. It’s not that the flow is bad or the punch lines don’t land, the issue is that the album is mostly Sunshine Anderson … you’ve heard it all before. There are certainly glimpses of something more on songs like Gotta Have It, New Day, That’s My B!t&h, Welcome to the Jungle and Murder of Excellence (see song break downs below for specific details about the songs) but those flashes are against a sky filled with a million star tales of excess. I totally understand that the excesses of life are probably a large part of their day to day these days but then that being the case this could have been an 8 song album/EP of all original thought and not a 16 song long full length project of takes on the same theme. Don’t get me wrong it’s not bad, and it’s going to sell like hookers on payday but there is a fallacy of composition here in so much as the sum of the parts (two great artists) do not equal the sum of the whole (an average album). I’ve watched the throne but I can’t say that this album showed me a real glimpse of the once and future king.

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