Don’t Watch The Throne, Continue To Watch For Shooting Stars By: Eric Blair
So…How about Watch the Throne? Truly, I am speaking as a connoisseur and a fan of music not as a critic. The album was overly hyped; it didn’t meet the expectations of “greatness” that everyone spoke of, including “The Throne.” I know there will be a few people preparing to call me a “hater.” I am just speaking my honest opinion. I’ve been listening to Kanye since I was sixteen and Jay-Z since I was eleven; I have been here since the beginning. This isn’t Jay-Z’s best work and Kanye’s production is always sublime, but this album reminds me of Warhol and Basquiat’s art collaborations. Jay-Z is a trend jumper; Kanye is hot now and Jay-Z albums haven’t been doing so well, get my drift so far?
I give Watch the Throne a solid B-. The production is very good, however a few of the instrumentals sound rushed or just put together at the last minute. Overall the production is solid enough to hold the album up on its own two. Jay-Z in my opinion needs to retire, not because he’s bad, no! What Jay-Z has frequently rapped about throughout his career is selling drugs, guns, women, and being a tough guy. Jay-Z, you haven’t sold drugs in over a decade; you’re a billionaire! You’re having dinners with Oprah, writing books, and doing concerts for President Obama. The things he often speaks of are irrelevant to his character now. He’s a married billionaire, I would like for Jay-Z to get over that early part of his life and rap about the present. Some of the songs seem as if Jay-Z is featuring Kanye West, instead of Jay-Z and Kanye West. Furthermore, I’m disappointed about the hype leading up to the album’s release. Comments such as “This is going to be the greatest album since…” had my expectations very high. Reading about Kanye’s direction for this album, Kanye wanted more of a Hip Hop duo album, like OutKast or EMPD. That feeling wasn’t conveyed, sorry Kanye. I thought there would have been more of a classic Hip Hop feel or just something different from both artists. Nope, just Jay-Z rapping like Jay-Z and Kanye is sounding more arrogant than ever. Some of the features were okay; Beyonce didn’t add much to Lift Off. In my opinion, Beyonce brings no dynamic to any Hip Hop songs; she just makes them sound poppy. Who wrote Frank Ocean’s lyrics on Made in America? “Sweet baby Jesus, Made in America.” Really? I am guessing Jay-Z and Kanye have so much money that they built a DeLorean and went back in time to make Jesus’ birth in America…. Solid! Last time I checked Jesus was born in Jerusalem? Sometimes people just talk out their a$$ when they’re on tracks.
Don’t get me wrong, there are a few songs I like: “Why I Love You So,” “That’s My Bitch,” “Otis,” “No Church In Wild,” “Joy,” maybe “N**gas In Paris,” “Primetime,” and “Welcome To The Jungle.” Do not misconstrue my words and opinion, Jay-Z is a legend. He had his limelight, bow out and let the next best rapper have his light. I feel as if Jay-Z just doesn’t know when to say, “Game over.” You’re a winner but will you continue to be a winner if you stay in the game? Watch the Throne was a great idea for five tracks but in actuality well…*shoulder shrug*. As far as I’m concerned My Dark Twisted Fantasy was a masterpiece; this is just another album to add to Jay-Z billions of dollars.
Don’t let me discourage you, I know I won’t, just give the album a thorough listen. I am not a critic, just a fan and musical connoisseur.