Today: Apr 14, 2024

Music Review: JAY-Z & Kanye West- Watch The Throne

JON MORENO — Arts & Entertainment Editor

1. “No Church In The Wild” – For an album with much hype and with the huge statement it’s supposed to make by claiming Jay-Z and Kanye West to be the kings of hip-hop, to hear Frank Ocean kick off the album is a bit unexpected but by no means a bad thing. In his two features on the record, he almost steals the show from both heavyweights. The album starts off with one the strongest tracks it has. 4/5 Owls.

2. “Lift Off” (featuring Beyoncé) – Confirmed as the next single, Beyoncé sings a chorus that is ready for radio. However, when Jay-Z and Kanye spit their verses, we get just a bunch of mumbling. It’s a bit of the Kanye we got with “Runaway.” Not my favorite track but may end up doing well on the charts strictly because of the names on the song. 1/5 Owls.

3. “Ni**as in Paris” – Known to brag, both rappers hold back nothing as they remind you how much money they have and how good they are when it comes to the art of rap. With a drum heavy beat and a Will Ferrell sample, this track is golden despite the “been there, done that” lyrics. 3/5 Owls.

4. “Otis” (featuring Otis Redding) – “Maybach bumper sticker saying, ‘What would Hova do?’” says a cocky (what else is new?) Kanye West. The track is the first official single of the album and it is an odd choice as there is no hook with Jay-Z and Kanye trading verses throughout. However, with almost all of hip-hop jumping on this track to remix it, it is safe to say they made the right choice by picking this as the single. 4/5 Owls.

5. “Gotta Have It” – The Neptunes are the guys behind the boards on this track as the two MCs recite bravado verses but still make it sound fresh behind a James Brown sample. Dope. 3/5 Owls.

6. “New Day” – The more introspective sides of Kanye and Jay-Z take over here as they rap about their unborn children. Ironically, Beyoncé announced her pregnancy during last weekend’s VMAs. Kanye speaks on his failed relationship with his college girlfriend, his mother’s death and the fame that has blessed and cursed him. Jay-Z promises to never repeat his own father’s mistakes. He also says he hopes to be in love the night he and his partner conceive. That probably won’t be too much of an issue when Beyoncé is the one carrying your child. 4/5 Owls.

7. “ That’s My Bitch” – A track that sounds more of a leftover from Kanye’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” the two trade bars about taking home their female of choice with a hook by Elly Jackson of La Roux. Solid track. 3/5 Owls.

8. “Welcome To The Jungle” – Swizz Beatz is the man responsible for this generic beat but Jay-Z does his best to overcompensate for it. He barely manages to do so. 2/5 Owls.

9. “Who Gon Stop Me” – Kanye West and Jay-Z on a dub step track? Jay-Z decides to rap over a part of the song where it would’ve been best had it been left alone. Despite that, their effort to do something different must be applauded. 2/5 Owls.

10. “Murder To Excellence” – This song was inspired by Danroy Henry, who was a student at Pace University. An incident occurred in which Henry reportedly ran down two officers in his car during a night of celebration after a Pace football win. The officers then opened fire, killed him and injured two passengers. The officer who killed him was acquitted and later awarded with an officer of the year award. Track with a great message. 4/5 Owls.

11. “Made In America” (featuring Frank Ocean) – Once again, Frank Ocean outshines both Kanye and Jay-Z here. Frank Ocean is slowly emerging as a star in the music industry and the rappers were smart to have him on their project. It’s a matter of time before he catapults and becomes a household name. The song is mellow which comes at the perfect time in the album after a few tracks that were intense to listen to. 3/5 Owls.

12. “Why I Love You” (featuring Mr. Hudson) – As the album closes, the song is perfect. The last few bars feature Jay-Z and Kanye going back and forth to fill-in each other’s words. They at times go word for word or line for line as they both rap the last word together to finish the album. It’s pretty cool to listen to. And very reminiscent of Run DMC. 3/5 Owls.

Overall: 4 out of 5 Owls.

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