Jay-Z and Kanye West – Watch The Throne (Deluxe Edition) (2011/2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 01:04:42 minutes | 743 MB | Genre: Rap
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Booklet, Front Cover | © Universal Music
Watch the Throne is a collaborative studio album by American rappers Jay-Z and Kanye West, released on August 8, 2011, by Roc-A-Fella Records, Roc Nation and Def Jam Recordings. Before the album, Jay-Z and West had collaborated on their respective singles and with West as a producer on Jay-Z’s work. As longtime friends, they originally sought out to record a five-song EP together, but the project eventually evolved into a full-length album. Recording sessions took place at various locations and began in November 2010. Production on the album was led by West himself, alongside a variety of high-profile record producers including Mike Dean, Swizz Beatz, Tyler Pase, Jeff Bhasker, The Neptunes and Q-Tip.
Expanding on the dense production style of West’s 2010 album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Watch the Throne incorporates orchestral and progressive rock influences, unconventional samples, and dramatic melodies in its sound. Jay-Z and West’s braggadocio lyrics exhibit themes of opulence, fame, materialism, power, and the burdens of success, as well as political and socioeconomic context. The album expresses other topics such as Jay-Z’s thoughts on fatherhood, West’s reflection on being deemed a social villain, and their success as performers. Music writers interpreted the subject matter to concern the rappers’ plight as African Americans struggling with financial success in America.
The album produced seven singles, including “H•A•M”, “Otis”, “Lift Off”, “No Church in the Wild”, and the Billboard Hot 100 top five “Niggas in Paris”, which all received music videos. Jay-Z and West promoted the album with the Watch the Throne Tour that spanned October 2011 to June 2012 and became the second highest grossing hip-hop concert tour in history, after Drake’s and Future’s Summer Sixteen Tour. Watch the Throne debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 436,000 copies its first week. While some critics found the album’s lyrical content uninspiring, its production and the rappers’ performances were highly praised. Many critics and publications placed the album in their year-end best-of lists. It also earned Jay-Z and West seven Grammy Award nominations. The album is certified platinum in the US.
An audacious spectacle of vacuous pomposity as well as one of tremendous lyrical depth, Watch the Throne is a densely packed amalgamation of what Jay-Z has termed “ignorant shit” and “thought-provoking shit,” with creative productions that are both top of the line and supremely baffling. Its best moments are among the most vital rap music released in 2011. Its worst moments sound like resuscitated discards from Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. The lowest point is “Lift Off,” a bombastic mess; West’s stillborn, sung vocal clashes against a triumphant hook from Beyoncé, while the behind-the-scenes cast, including West, Jeff Bhasker, Mike Dean, Q-Tip, Pharrell, Don Jazzy, and the duo LMFAO, overcook a regal and rugged, yet ultimately muddled, production — one that also features the voices of Seal and Mr. Hudson. All of the highlight tracks come with caveats. On “New Day,” West and Jay-Z address their unborn sons in equally somber and pointed ways, yet there’s a distracting vocal flutter throughout — to be specific, Nina Simone’s version of “Feeling Good” chucked through Auto-Tune. (So much for “D.O.A.”) The anthemic “That’s My Bitch” rides on rampaging drums, using two of the most common breaks to fresh effect, and effectively incorporates the wildly dissimilar voices of La Roux’s Elly Jackson and Bon Iver/Justin Vernon (the latter of which is made to sound like that of the Gap Band’s Charlie Wilson), but the b-word from the mouth of a 41 year-old is as awkward as a throwback on someone of the same age. Kanye’s autobiographical, rise-to-fame verses in the solemn “Made in America” are among his most riveting to date, yet the effect is nearly squashed when he stoops to reference a cartoon that mocked him in 2009. The album contains piles of quotables and some of the fieriest pro-black content in decades. The latter, particularly concentrated during the album’s back half — where the word “black” is used almost as often as it is in Euripides Smalls’ “I’m Black, Y’all” — should not be lost amid the album’s ruthless flaunting of material wealth and carte blanche industry resources.
01. No Church In The Wild (ft. Frank Ocean)
02. Lift Off (ft. Beyoncé)
03. Niggas In Paris
04. Otis (ft. Otis Redding)
05. Gotta Have It
06. New Day
07. That’s My Bitch
08. Welcome To The Jungle
09. Who Gon Stop Me
10. Murder To Excellence
11. Made In America (ft. Frank Ocean)
12. Why I Love You (ft. Mr Hudson)
13. Illest Motherfucker Alive
16. The Joy (ft. Curtis Mayfield)