The Year was 2011, and we were just coming off one of Kanye West’s greatest masterpieces. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was deemed a classic from the beginning. One of the best rap album roll outs we’ve ever seen. From the album’s first single, Power (which is still one of the top 10 best cover arts for a single) & Kanye’s SNL Performance, to the Complex Mag spread, where they followed him, Amber Rose, & the G.O.O.D Music family around Hawaii; his Rosewood suit wearing performances on tables at our favorite social media offices, to completely taking over Viacom with his Runaway movie, this album was destined for greatness. With its release it was just that; GREATNESS. This album gave just a high end feel that no one could understand. Amazing feature after amazing feature made you forget that we heard half of the album during his G.O.O.D Friday series.
With MBDTF being all of the buzz, there were 2 songs that stuck out from that album. Two songs that would change our minds long before we knew. Those 2 songs would be “Monster” & an old song that was found and saved entitled “So Appalled.” While Monster was getting the commercial appeal thanks to a one of a kind verse from none other than Nicki Minaj,
The record featured a lackluster verse from one of our favorites, and no I’m not talking about the 2 bars from Rick Ross in the beginning
Jay-z’s verse was simple, a laughing matter with him rapping about goblins and goons. It was not hard to see that Nicki easily had the best verse, but the thought that Hov gave us that started to worry me. Then I heard “So Appalled,” “My God” I said I just knew He was back. The flow was in pocket, he was talking that money talk that only a god MC could, and I felt that the goat had redeemed himself.
As the year was coming to an end, Kanye and team continued feeding the streets with G.O.O.D Fridays. Everyone, including myself, stayed up into the wee hours of the morning to catch these records, but there were two that particularly stood out:
- “Power” had been remixed. A solid Jay-Z verse over the original beat but a god-like demon had possessed Kanye as he destroyed Swizz Beatz flip of “I Got the Power”.
- Then there was “The Joy”; a record featuring Kanye and Jay spitting over one of the coldest Pete rock productions.
These two joints felt great and left us thinking “What a moment this was!!”
It felt good to see two of my favorite rappers united and making incredible records. It was even amazing to see them spend New Year’s Eve together partying the night away. But Kanye wasn’t done, he was only getting started. A Series of tweets sent the world in a frenzy. Kanye and Jay-z were to going to do an album TOGETHER. Rap Royalty at its finest was preparing to take over the world.
There was a moment that seemed like an eternity, that I wasn’t sure this was going to happen. Nothing else was said after the tweets, just silence. Good ole twitter started with their rumors, a Lex Luger produced song, that they were calling themselves but nothing was set in stone yet. Until that glorious day was upon us. A Kanye and Jay-z song appeared entitled H*A*M that caused chaos all through the E–streets. Kayne spitting his high end raps over this luxurious trap beat. Jay back talking with his flashy raps and addressing the haters (Birdman) with captivating lines like “…Baby money/keep it real with niggas/niggas ain’t got my lady money.” The Throne was born and we were all watching.
As the spring passed, summer was here and we still didn’t know whether this was going to happen. The rumors were high and even a questionable leak was out but who knew if they were part of this album. Then one day the rumblings began on twitter that a song was coming out. Twitter was popping that entire day. Funkmaster Flex tweeted for the people to tune in at 7 for his show, he had something special and boy did he. Flex premiered “Otis” from The Throne on Hot 97 and made a movie out of it.
Running it back a million times, growling and grunting dropping the best promo I have ever heard which included a line like “… Go into the local corner store and just stick your hand in the register.” One of Flex’s last greatest moments was truly special.
The hype from this amazing record had us sold that this was going to be a classic and the music would be iconic. Weeks passed. The anticipation of their duo album leaking, after the dope video for Otis, and still nothing had come into fruition. The VMA’s were scheduled for the Sunday before album’s leak free release.
That Sunday 3 memorable moments happened. 1) We got to see The Throne perform live for the first time. (And a preview of what the tour, one of the best I’ve ever seen, would look like) 2) Beyoncé announced that she was pregnant. 3) That the album would be available on iTunes after the awards.
Now I know you’ve read this and are thinking “Ok Meezy, you gave us the history of the album, but what does this have to do with anything?” Here I’ll tell you: Just like all the hype that was built as you read, this album’s performance is just as equivalent. Some may read this and say “I didn’t know Meezy could write like this.” Or “Damn he does do more than just argue on Facebook.” Some might agree with the following and think I’m right but point is: the hype was better than the actual product.
So here’s why I think “Watch The Throne” doesn’t live up to the hype:
- I only like 8 of the 16 (the deluxe version). Of course that’s half the album, but we’re talking about Jay-z and Kanye West. Half shouldn’t be acceptable.
- The music sounds amazing but at the same time it has this experimental vibe to it; as if Kanye’s musical genius was trying to come out but Hov wasn’t buying it.
- Lift Off SUCKS. Seeing a track list that reads Jay-Z, Kanye West, & Beyoncé is supposed to be a day in heaven, not Beyoncé singing lovely as two of the supreme rappers mumble rap their way thru verses.
- What’s the deal with that eerie ass transition music??? It was just out of fucking place. Just extra filler for nothing, could’ve at least told a story or something Kanye.
- There isn’t a song on here where Jay-z out rapped Kanye. With Hov having a lot more time between albums than Kanye (and being the better RAPPER) I figured he’d have a lot to talk about, but on tracks where they went back and forth it was a pretty even matchup with him even losing a few.
- There wasn’t enough KANYE. Yes Kanye is on every song, but Jay-z clearly has more verses than Ye including (one of my favorite) the lone track “Why I Love You” feat Mr. Hudson. Which leads me to my next point:
- It seemed forced. It felt like a Jay-z album produced by Kanye. This was clearly Kanye’s vision for what an all Yeezy Jigga album would sound like. They even let Swizz and Pharrell in on it to make it feel even more Hov-ish.
This album is a classic but not for the musical aspect, but for what it represents. This is one time where two of the biggest rappers said they were going to do a joint album & ACTUALLY DELIVERED!!!! We all hold Jay & Ye at an extremely high level based off their previous individual bodies of work. So when we heard there was a collab album coming, the bar was set extremely high. The fact that the album came out meant the expectations were reached. So as you read this and prepare to go listen to “Watch The Throne” remember, IT’S NOT 2011 anymore. The hype has worn off and it’s ok to hear this album differently now. The songs you thought you loved, you may not love as much but that’s ok. The nostalgia that comes with that project is forever in our hearts and if we never get a Part 2, (which is fine with me.) we can live to tell our children “I got to see 2 of my favorites half ass an album and I loved it.”