Pop Culture

Are You Watching The Throne? Probably Not For Long

We used to care...now we're just rich and bored so we made a rich and bored album.

This past Monday, Jay-Z and Kanye West’s joint venture, Watch The Throne, hit iTunes, much to the chagrin of independent outlets and retailers everywhere. I can’t really say that I was anticipating it since I hated the song, “H.A.M.” since it, well, sucked and “Otis” sounds like a song that’s supposed to be dope but the beat blows. I will say that nobody does “swag rap” better than Jay or Kayne. Well except Biggie. And Big Daddy kane.

But last I checked they were both dead.

Let’s just put this out front. Jay is my favorite rapper of all time. Kanye, right now, is probably right behind him as my favorite rapper of the right now. I feel like Kanye is way more important to pop-culture than Jay is and ultimately more relevant but that’s neither here nor there. I’m also a huge fan of Kanye’s artisticness. You can’t convince me that My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (MBDTF) isn’t one of the best albums to come out in the past ten years. Point is, I’m a big fan of both of these to. So I don’t say this lightly…but…

…Watch The Throne kind of isn’t dope.

It’s not to say that it’s not a solid album. It is. It’s just that there’s very little on this album that I’ll ever really want to listen to again. In fact, the ONLY songs I’ve listened to on repeat are “Nigg*s In Paris” and “Gotta Have It” which might bet the least Neptune’s sounding Neptune’s beat in a long long while. Everything else can go. I wish somebody would make those songs into birds so that they could fly, fly far far away. Like “Made In America” featuring everybody’s favorite singer du jour Frank Ocean. My god is this song gay. You know, I honestly didn’t think that Jay could make worse songs than that terrible song with Usher and Beyonce from Kingdom Come but apparently he wanted to assure us that he could. It just sounds so…so…gay. I’m fairly sure they’re going to have to release “Lift Off” featuring Beyonce as a single for that very reason and it is also on some ducksauce.

You know what…forget the track by track sh*t. Here’s the problem with this album. Actually there are two. 1) This isn’t a Jay and Kanye album…it’s a Kanye album featuring Jay. It’s too musical to be a Jay album. Period. It’s got the Kanye imprint all over it. Kanye is an artist at this point, hate him or love him. Jay on the other hand is and will always be a rapper. No matter how emo a beat he tries to rap over or how “different” sounding the beat, ultimately he’s a rapper. And that comes thru as Jay seems, in my opinion, to be more or less of an afterthought a lot of times. It’s not that he’s not delivering Jay verses (lazy as they may be), its just that he’s too cool to be on some music sh*t. Kanye sounds like he cares WAY more than Jay does to be rapping on this album. Which leads to the second problem… 2) I kind of feel like Kanye didn’t care that much or was bored but finished it anyway.

For all of his faults, one thing you’d never fault Kanye for is not having a dope ear for cohesion and putting together an outstanding product. He always seems to want to make a classic album even though 808s and Heartbreaks was far from that. But at least he swung for the fences by changing up his whole sound and innovating. This album really to me sounds like a lazy version of both Blueprint 3 and uber leftover beats from MBDTF that weren’t good enough to make that album in any way shape or form.

[Sidenote: There is something to be said though that the only comparison's that hold water with these two are their own bodies of work. That can't be stated enough.]

I mean, it doesn’t even sound as good sonically as MBDTF…an album that came out almost a year ago. That album sounded beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. You’d think that if anything, sonically it would be on the same level but it’s not. Which is the rub, its not that the album isn’t decent. It is. It’s just that nobody’s going to be talking about this album once they run out of songs to release.

You know what, here’s how I can sum up this album…Rick Ross wouldn’t rap on any of this sh*t except maybe ONLY “N*ggas In Paris”. I can hear Rick Ross murdering that beat. I honestly feel at this point Rick Ross knows how to pick music and sounds that compliment exactly what he’s trying to do. He knows how to make epic sh*t. If Rick Ross is getting on your sh*t, it’s because it’s a motherf*cking monster. Pun intended. He would have gotten on ANYTHING on MBDTF. I feel like he probably was cool on everything on this album.

In fact, my favorite parts of the album are the beat change-ups similar to MBDTF which feature, surprisingly very little rapping and I’m not upset about it.

Not to mention this being the least relatable album I’ve ever listened to or the fact that Jay and ‘Ye both sound a little…off….trying to rap about social issues, an area Jay has proven to struggle in the past, though I like “New Day”, but again, Kanye’s verse seems more…better. Real talk, I’d be lying if I recited any of these lyrics as my personal mantra. I can’t even fake 90 percent of this sh*t.

I know a lot of people love it, and that’s good. Hell, I paid for it already and want a physical copy. I’m a fan but I probably won’t be listening this too much longer and I think that goes for most people. For two individuals who seem to care about their legacy, I’m just surprised that they’d release an album that neither adds nor detracts from it. This joint just exists until we forget about it. It’s like a David Guetta song. Or Lady Gaga music. Or LMFAO. It’s pop music with hard drums. And soft songs. Because it’s Jay and ‘Ye I want to love this, but I’m over it already.

D’oh well. On to the next one.

Oh, and one more question…how the f*ck does Swizz Beatz go so much production work and so many random features? Who does he have naked pictures of? Inquiring minds would like to know.

What’s your take? Are you watching the throne?

Talk to me.

-VSB P aka THE ARSONIST aka PANYE EAST aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL HE A 3

admission essay writing service

Damon Young

Panama Jackson is a co-founder of VSB and co-author of Your Degrees Won't Keep You Warm At Night: The Very Smart Brothas Guide to Dating, Mating, and Fighting Crime. He believes the children are our future and is waiting to find out if he is the 2nd most interesting man in the world.

  • Girl Kanyeshrug

    Love the OTIS video and song!!!!

    • http://DamonLThomas.com Monk

      I fux with the video. Love all the slow motion performances and the fun-filled vibe and theme (Y’all remember when Hip Hop was fun?) The chicks in the back of the car looked like they were P.A.’s that they just threw in there, but overall, it’s dope. I think it’s cool also that they’re auctioning off the car and giving the proceeds to help the starving in east Africa.

      • miss t-lee

        Just watched it…did look like they were having a good time…LOL

      • wnchlsw

        the whole album is about how much money they have. if 30 million can’t hurt Jay, why not just give money to East Africa directly instead of auctioning off the car to make himself/themselves look good?

      • Todd

        Agreed. I do remember when hip-hop was fun. And I’ve never seen the Jigga man smile so much in my life. :)

    • http://pinchmycheekie.wordpress.com Cheekie

      I really enjoyed the video. Those ninjas looked like they were having so much fun.

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5FR1LGsT7E TheAnti-Cool

      I like the video. The song…meh.

    • http://www.clothingoptionalshoesrequired.com Toni Childs

      This video reminded me why they are 2 of the top 3 moneymakers in the industry…they ain’t spendin’ money on a bunch of ish for a video. The production costed about a total of $20 which probably was the cost of the oversized american flag. It’s like they said let’s grab a car out of the garage and hit this parking lots and do some donuts in the street.

      …and I loved every minute of it. Looked like fun!

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      the video is hilarious b/c its the most expensive low budget video of all time. the damn car in the video probably cost most rappers annual budget for life.

  • http://www.twitter.com/kammakali Kali

    i couldnt possibly disagree more. with pretty much every word. and i might have to just stop f’n with yall behind this fu*ckery. “pop/mainstream” & “artistically significant/genius” arent mutually exclusive. sometimes high quality creations can end up falling into both categories. its well documented in music history, across all genres.

  • http://iamyourpeople.com I Am Your People

    I just watched the “Otis” video. So instead of rappers showing off money by dumping $1500 bottles of champagne on the floor, now they cut up $300000 cars? Nice to see them enjoying the recession

    • Francis J

      u mad that they cut it up or that the car itself was marked up to 300K?

      note: not mad as in mad but mad as in “tell em why you mad son”

    • Jordan

      Did you NOT see the end of the video clearly stating that the car was to be auctioned off and the proceeds would go to charity???

  • http://lizburr.com Liz

    only listened to it twice. nothing stood out. it felt like a bad joke. i like them separately but together it’s just too much ego and swag. not on every track, son.

    • http://itsmyurls.com/drmarctagon Marc A.

      I agree with Liz!

    • Nell

      I totally agree.

    • Nore

      I also totally agree

  • Yonnie 3000

    You ain’t shut for what you said about Big Daddy Kane.

    • Yonnie 3000

      Damn auto correct.

    • Mo-VSS

      Right. I was like, “he is NOT dead.”

      Ridiculousness

    • DQ

      He ain’t dead, but damn if that ninja didn’t pick a B.C. date, cause he’s history.

      • http://DamonLThomas.com Monk

        Hahahahahahahaha!!

      • KneeCee

        Well played…

        • DQ

          *Tips hat*

          I do what I can.

    • http://twitter.com/#!/legitimate_soul legitimate_soul

      Agreed, Yonnie! That hurt my feelings because I love BDK and he can STILL rip it!

      *throws chair*

      LOL

  • Mo-VSS

    I cannot intelligently comment on this issue because I’ve never heard Kanye’s last album or this newest venture with Jay. Actually, I have heard Otis and for all the hype, I wasn’t impressed in the least. I wanted to like it because I should (why, I don’t know, but I should) and I just don’t. Kinda like Kelly Rowland’s Motivation. We all want her to win so bad, but to me, she just doesn’t have it. Like at all.

    I guess that’s what my post can be about. Artists/songs you wanna like, you try hard to like, but ultimately you don’t like them. I can name a few.

    Keri Hilson–beautiful girl, no talent at all
    Kelly Rowland–great voice but no “wow” factor
    Alicia Keys–Everything after Songs in A Minor was just recycled Songs in A Minor
    Miguel/Jeremiah or any of the other Trey Songz lite-type R&B singers, as a matter of fact…
    Trey Songz–I just don’t buy is brand of sexy. He needs to eat a biscuit and do some squats in order for me to take him seriously

    I’m sure there are more but I’m tired and nothing else is coming to mind.

    • xLadyTx

      Add to this, Ciara. She clearly has talent – more dance than anything – but she has no staying power. She’ll put out a single and disappear for who knows how long! I agree with the rest of your list too.

      • Mo-VSS

        Jennifer Hudson. I saw her at the Essence Festival and while her voice is a gift from God, her stage performance and overall collection of song is just underwhelming. And there’s nothing she can do to change my mind. She needs to either do a Vegas act or stick to acting…performing songs is not her thing.

        • http://twitter.com/fixedwater fixedwater

          I was with you until you got to J Hud but then I have never seen her perform so IDK. But def on Trey Songz, he annoys me.
          As for WTT it isn’t horrible, but I have only given it one listen and can’t even name the tracks I might like. But maybe 2 or 3 could grow on me. Who knows. I agree that this was a Ye album more than anything. I can’t really what made Jay do it it at all.

        • LA2Tally

          I co-sign ALL of what you said. . . including J-Hud!

        • peaches&dreams

          JHud + Kelly Rowland in a word: lackluster

        • Chanelle

          I co-sign with all of this- kelly has never had much stage presence or good song selection to me and neither does j-hud and the rest of those ppl u mentioned are just blah as well. For me, it personally comes down to song selection and picking the right beats/music for the right songs and none of these people seem to do that very well.

    • DQ

      ****Miguel/Jeremiah or any of the other Trey Songz lite-type R&B singers, as a matter of fact…
      Trey Songz–I just don’t buy is brand of sexy. He needs to eat a biscuit and do some squats in order for me to take him seriously****

      That is like, the most random combination of prerequisites I have ever read. Like you could have just as easily have said, “he needs to crack corn with Jimmy, and follow the yellow brick road for 2 miles” and it still wouldn’t be more random. However it all made me laugh so I guess you’re still winning

      • Loving Me

        I agree on all of these except Alicia, her last 2 were good to me… and I love Jhud’s voice but her albums don’t do it for me at all. I tried listening to Miguel today because everybody told me he was good and I can’t explain how happy I am I listened to it before buying

        • Around the Way Girl

          Yeah, I agree on all of them except Alicia too. The only album I didn’t like was As I Am, which sucked monkey nuts…but I absolutely loved the last one she put out. It was beautiful.

          Trey Songz makes me want to punch things. He’s such a diva.

    • Taylormay

      Alicia’s voice has gotten quite… whiny over the years. Maybe it always sounded like that but I was distracted by her braids and piano playing.

      Goapelle, Esperanza Spaulding, Ledisi- I can’t get into Goapelle at all but I can listen to Esperanza cover songs and Ledisi… I like her- she can SANG but kind of like Esperanza I’m not really checking for her actual songs. I loved when she did Chaka Khan and Nina Simone and I like her new song a little but I have no plans to ever buy an album.

      Solange- ’nuff said although I think she’s coming into her own in that weird way that singers who no one wants to listen to them sing have been doing lately (fashion, hair, everything but sing ). *See Ciara*

  • si_seaniorita

    wait…Big Daddy Kane is not dead…unless you were speaking metaphorically there.

    I don’t care one way or another about this album honestly. What kind of rap will you get from rappers who have everything? This uninspired collection of tunes here. I will give them kudos for making me feel utterly rich and poor at the same time.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      obviously he aint dead. lol. its all metaphor. c’mon now. deez iz jokez

      • peaches&dreams

        It was not a good one…needed a facial expression or something-possibly could have worked for a stand-up comic. Possibly.

    • Kidsister

      “uninspired collection of tunes”

      These are the words that I just couldn’t seem to find when describing the album. I definitely expected more.

  • http://panamaenrique.wordpress.com Malik

    To quote the homette Shamira “WTT is The Gatsby of albums. Opulence at the detriment of content. (referring to Gatsby the character, not the book itself)”. And the fact that the album is Kanye ft. Jay-Z basically doesn’t help in the slightest because they don’t have the chemistry of that other duo EP that was pretty decent.

    The best hip hop releases of the year are Fear of God, Oneirology, J E S U S (even if Blu refuses to master his sh!t), and Hot Sauce Committee Part Two.

    • http://www.twitter.com/kammakali Kali

      its basically kanye feat jay (which is how i prefer it anyway) because the project was originally meant to be a free bonus with MBDTF.. and it grew into its own, stand alone album…

      • http://panamaenrique.wordpress.com Malik

        I know love, I was jumping off from what Panama was saying. I probably wasn’t going to like it anyway because Kanye has yet to convince me of anything (and before anyone asks, I do not consider him a ‘genius’ or anything close behind the mic or producing) outside of the fact that he can deliver blotted albums. I’m still a Jay fan, he ain’t exactly cracking my top 25 though.

        • http://jouromeo.blogspot.com Sagey Bear

          New Avi, huh? Aight.

          can’t hear Kanye as a genius?

          • http://panamaenrique.wordpress.com Malik

            I have yet to hear a compelling argument or song from him to even suggest that. He’s 85% personality and 15% talent. Albeit, it’s a very strong 15%.

            • DQ

              Am I the only one that felt that 808s and Heartbreak was the demonstration of Kanye’s genius? To me, what he did musically on that album will be talked about decades from now. WTT? I probably won’t be talking about that album one month from now.

              • xLadyTx

                I thought 808s was genius too! I STILL get the side eye whenever I play songs from that album…smh.

              • http://www.shay-d-lady.com shay-d-lady

                @DQ Am I the only one that felt that 808s and Heartbreak was the demonstration of Kanye’s genius? To me, what he did musically on that album will be talked about decades from now. WTT? I probably won’t be talking about that album one month from now.

                Nope, when I first heard it I hated it. however i listen to it on a regular basis, Amazing is my theme song.

                • Around the Way Girl

                  “Amazing.” YES.

                  808′s was his weakest album to me, but I get it and appreciate the effort.

                • DQ

                  My track was “Welcome To Heartbreak” maybe because it had sort of a Phil Collins 80′s feel to it… and for the ideas he expressed in it, juxtaposing what is substanative and meaningful vs. what we pursue and long for, and demonstrating how they’re often different things.

          • thelonius

            You like is new avi ?

        • http://www.twitter.com/kammakali Kali

          to each his own *yeezy shrug* lol

    • http://insidethemindofadeviant.wordpress.com Deviant

      A friend called it the “Ocean’s 12 of albums”. It exists purely for the enjoyment of its creators and our audience is merely an afterthought.

      • Mo-VSS

        That’s a really good comparison. Cuz Ocean’s 12 was another one that had all the flavor and not of the substance. Wanted to like it, but didn’t.

      • http://twitter.com/fixedwater fixedwater

        Perfectly put.

      • Negrodamus

        Was that friend pitchfork.com??

        • http://insidethemindofadeviant.wordpress.com Deviant

          Nah. An actual breather.

      • Nell

        Hmmm. I like that.

    • http://twitter.com/thenaimacyde Naima

      I don’t have a hip hop release of the year because everything pretty much has bored me. I liked Kendrick Lamar’s cd. I don’t know what else I have been playing that is strictly hip hop.

      I liked WTT, but it isn’t my favorite album or a game changer. I like the references and the sound of a lot of songs. Especially N*ggas in Paris. I think that song is funny.

      I want new faces in hip hop, but A LOT of new faces are just sooo dull nowadays. J.Cole is boring. Big Sean is boring. Drake makes emo/slit your wrist/complain about dumb sh*t/worry about women you don’t think you’re hot/lame music.

      OFWGKTA makes rap music that tries to be shocking like punk rock.

      Ace Hood is still putting out albums.

      Lil Wayne is singing.

      WTT compared to everything out now sounds great to me. I don’t even want to hear the new Drake CD. Who names their rap album Take Care? GTFOH

      • Mo-VSS

        Is Drake’s new album really named “Take Care?” LOL, I’m a fan but that is not the business at all. LOL literally

      • http://panamaenrique.wordpress.com Malik
        • Around the Way Girl

          His delivery puts me to sleep. I’d smoke and listen to it though.

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

          not sure i agree there. ive been told Blu is the greatest thing smoking but i just cant get into dude. i feel the same way about j. cole. they bore me.

          • http://panamaenrique.wordpress.com Malik

            His diction, the way he constructs his bars, the way he phrases everything, the beats he produces, actually self-aware etc. he’s the most talented dude of his generation. Below the Heavens is his most accessible album and everyone likes to call it a classic, however it’s only above C.R.A.C. Knuckles are far as I’m concerned.

            Kanye will never write any bars close to anything off of HerFavoriteColo(u)r.

      • Leonie UK

        Like Chris Rock I’m tired of defending Hip-Hop, I’m also very bored. Last Hip-Hop albums brought and taken back to the shop
        Talib Kweli Gutter Rainbows
        The Roots How I got over
        Pharoah Monach War
        Ahhhhhhhhhh I can’t go on. I’ve got more Country and Dance tracks on the faithfull ipod then evey before right now. Even Ludacris is on a number one country track, that speaks volumes to me *waving Brad Paisley ticket in the air*

        • Leonie UK

          Lasers by Lupe…now that’s a good album, I’m still rocking ‘Black everything’.

          • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

            wait what? laser was a good album? even lupe don’t like it.

        • http://uphereoncloud9.wordpress.com Wu Young, Agent of M.E.

          Pharoah Monach’s “War” disappointed me. It’s good but I was waiting for him to outdo his performance on Desire. “How I Got Over” is still getting play but Black Thought is my favorite mc.

        • http://www.theleftsidepoets.wordpress.com MicTheMessenger

          @Leonie:

          I’m STILL mad HIGO got slighted at the Grammy’s. You def check out Kendrick Lamar’s Seciton.80. Dude might be the future. And have no fear. In September, Phonte’s dropping an album, 9th Wonder’s droppin one, and J. Cole (all on the same day, all from the same state). Im just scared they commercialized J. Cole. That might mess me up. Skyzoo dropped The Great Debater, which was decent.

          At any rate, i went back into by hip-hop soul time capsule this summer. Outside of the ones i mentioned + Jilly from Philly, I been blasting D’Angelo and other music with instruments.

          • xLadyTx

            I have a feeling J Cole will get commercialized too. Jay Z’s trying to make money, so I highly doubt he’d let J Cole continue with too many of the same kinda songs that’s on Friday Night Lights, etc. Add to your list, XV. He’s the best lyricist I’ve heard in AWHILE.

            • http://www.theleftsidepoets.wordpress.com MicTheMessenger

              Ima check out XV.

              What i really wanna know is, when is JAY ELECTRONICA dropping?

              • Leonie UK

                N.E.V.E.R he is the talented one in the closet, he will forever be put on ice :-(

          • Leonie UK

            I have a very crazy cousin -n -aw is making me hate/dispise Kendrick. If he miss quotes one more word, in his fake ass accent I will wring his neck. I’ve not even bothered to place his stuff on my ipod, due to the constant hammering from said male. i will try and be nice and play him this weekend,just for you.

            Phonte…Dude can do no wrong in my eyes, saw him in concert a few months back, was very happy. Plus I happen to love Foreign Exchange

            J Cole…maybe it’s the European freedom, but when he came over he killed it. I never went to the concert, I hit an after show set, and he was really humble and nice. Fed up of the mixtapes he needs an album like soon ( Not WTT soon thou lame assssssssssss)

      • Nell

        I loved “Section .80,” too. GREAT stuff.

        And I’m probably the only Childish Gambino fan in this group, so I’ll leave that alone. But I’m a huge fan of what’s come out this year from him, too, and looking forward to his fall release.

        OFWGKTA…I can’t get into. Except for Frank Ocean. I love him. Everyone else can have a seat.

        • International Extraordinaire

          i STAN for Childish Gambino! I really hope he blows up soon, he’s truly talented

        • http://insidethemindofadeviant.wordpress.com Deviant

          “And I’m probably the only Childish Gambino fan in this group…”

          Lofty presumption.

          • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

            extremely lofty presumption.

            • Leonie UK

              I brought the album as my ” I got paid today” celebration ( It’s Tyler’s real voice that has me hungover ;-)

      • jimmythegoon

        Spot on.

    • http://DamonLThomas.com Monk

      Although others (Rae and Ghost, Dre and Snoop, Run and DMC, Erick and Parrish, etc.) have great chemistry on records, Eminem and Royce Da 5 Nine is the greatest rap duo of all time. Yeah, I said it.

      • jimmythegoon

        Really…Run DMC, OutKast, Whodini, EPMD… That’s like Scottie sayin Lebron is better than Michael. His actual quote”he has the potential to be better” sounds about right…. C’mon Son…

    • http://www.theleftsidepoets.wordpress.com MicTheMessenger

      @Malik:

      No Kendrick Lamar- Section.80?
      No Elzhi- Elmatic?
      No Big K.R.I.T.- Return of 4Eva?

      I know they weren’t actual albums, but them joints got more play than ANY other album made this year so far.

      • xLadyTx

        +1 on Returnof4Eva!

        • @EdBLive

          +2

          Return of 4Eva has that Outkast-UGK feel which I needed back in my life

          • xLadyTx

            Exactly!

      • http://panamaenrique.wordpress.com Malik

        I skipped on all of these actually.

        • http://www.theleftsidepoets.wordpress.com MicTheMessenger

          You mean like listened and then kept it moving? Or didn’t listen at all?

          • http://panamaenrique.wordpress.com Malik

            Didn’t listen to them at all. Haven’t gotten around to it. I’ve been going through Sun Ra’s career recently.

            • http://www.theleftsidepoets.wordpress.com MicTheMessenger

              When you get time bruh, check those out. I don’t know your specific hip-hop taste, but i’ll stand by those all day. If youre a Nas fan, you’l like Kendrick and Elzhi, and if you like Outkast, you’ll like Krit.

  • Swin

    Very underwhelming album. “Featuring” Otis Redding on a song? How do you feature someone who’s dead. Speaking of dead people, did you mean to sat that Big Daddy Kane was dead? Lol

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      it was a joke. i know big daddy kane ain’t dead.

  • Jai

    Big Daddy Kane is not dead…unless ur talking about his career o_O

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_czgCH507Df4/THT9WhoQxcI/AAAAAAAAAMg/u4DiigbuBt8/s1600/kane+underpants.jpg

    • Leonie UK

      I’m still stunned by your last avi (still can’t get my going)

    • http://www.theleftsidepoets.wordpress.com MicTheMessenger

      @Jai
      your avi made me spit out a brand new cup of ice coffee. I expect a replacement.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      lol…y’all are killing me. im well aware that he’s not dead. it was a joke.