The other day I gave a review of Watch The Throne (If you haven’t read it yet, you can do so by going here). Now while I personally think your boy B-Easy gave a pretty detailed examination of “rich nigga rap” by Jay-Z & Kanye, it’s always a good idea to get some thoughts from the nappyafro crew. – B-Easy
To avoid beating around the bush, a lot of people might be turned off by this album. Beyond the ridiculously high expectations, even the cover, the production, the illustrations of grandeur all harken back to MBDTF; in a lot of ways, this album seems like a spiritual successor to that album. However, I believe once you actually give this album a couple spins, you’ll come to appreciate this as a lot more than just “over-produced filler Hip-Hop”. This is by no-means a perfect album, and I still have mixed feelings about a lot of these tracks and even whether or not these two have any kind of chemistry. With that said, these two men are doing things in Hip-Hop no one else is even attempting right now, and whether that is appreciated now or later, this album is both a statement in favor of music progression and a benchmark for albums of this type in the future.
We consistently hear about folks being upset about rappers not rapping about the life they live, not being real, not progressing, etc. Jigga said it best, you want my old shit buy my old albums. Sure they BOTH rap different than they did when they first came in the game, but that’s what should happen. The production on this album is king, yet again, much like MBDTF. Lyrically, these cats cover a litany of subjects, but my personal favorite song is the socially conscious “Murder To Excellence”. I feel like, as part of the generation that Hip-Hop forgot, this is the type of album that resonates to me and my age real time. It’s “grown man rap” in my opinion, no matter how flossy and glossy it is. Sure, they rap about money, but it’s about how they do it and that’s what stands out for me. I don’t think every song is a homerun and there is a song or two that I don’t like, but I think it’s a great album and worth the hype it’s getting.
I really don’t feel right giving an opinion on an artist that many say I don’t like, but what many don’t get is that I am a Jay-Z fan like the rest of you guys. This album was hyped just as much the Miami Heat were this past season. Did I think that this album would be a CLASSIC? No. Did it live up to expectations? It really depends on what you were expecting. I was expecting the album to be the way it was, two huge egos rapping over suspect production. I say suspect because I’m not that worldly with my music, I would have preferred them recording in the states with more of their “real niggas” around to tell them NOT to do a track like “Lift Off” and to rap more like they did on “Murder To Excellence”. All in all I would say that this album was a good album, nothing great, but it will suffice.
While I wouldn’t go as far as giving the album 4.5 stars like B did, I do agree with the individual track analysis. Watch The Throne had very few missteps, it did not have the one song that captured the essence that every classic needs. Blueprint had “Takeover”, Illmatic had “NY State Of Mind”, and Marshall Mathers LP had “The Way I Am” just to name a few. This may be the one thing that was missing from this album. I actually feel that was the only thing keeping this from a 5 star album.