Monday, August 8, 2011

***SAU Official Report Card*** Jay-Z Kanye West "Watch The Throne"

Samples galore, + Socially conscious content,and just a tad bit of "asshole-ism",equals this highly anticipated album "Watch The Throne" by Jay-Z and Kanye West. Surprising alone that an album of this massive magnitude DID NOT leak. (insert clap/thought) Revealed about ten months ago that this started from a thought aiming for reality,the album is officially here.

Starting off, this album in my personal opinion isn't one you can grasp in its entirety with one listen being that it's basically 2 of the biggest rap artists of our generation. First thought would be to give it a "WOW" because of just that. About 3 listens later, we have many highs, yet a couple of lows, but we start with "No Church In The Wild". A radical beat hits us with a vague sense of softness. The first feature of the album being Frank Ocean, gives you the "If a tree falls in the forest scenario" relaying the question "what's a God to a non believer". How this beat was structured, along with many on the album, give you the option to hear them many different ways. A disappointment at times coming in the form of both artists who proceed to take the "easy way out", or basic train of ear going into this song, and many songs on this album flowing right above the beat and not letting the beats weave in and out through their vocals, showing the different ways you can hear them. Although that could come with a negative punch, "No church In the Wild" is a very good way to set up the rest of the album, almost as a heads up to what's next.

We "Lift Off" to the next song featuring Beyonce'. Now, this might be my personal "problem" when it comes to Beyonce'/Kanye West collaborations, but whenever they do decide to collab it underwhelms. You have vocals that can do just about everything, but West corners Beyonce's vocals yet again. On "Lift Off" we stick to the same "we made it" lyrics just as "My beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy"'s "See Me now". But pretty OK song,and very nice tempo.

The *Tunnel Tracks and samples continue with "Ni**as In Paris" which could be seen as just a filler until the transition happens, and brings light to the song. "Otis", a soulful dinner within itself, shows Jay-Z and Kanye's skills tip the meter,with the "past the ball" technique that simplify features on an album for everyone after.

The Arabian inspired "Gotta have It" lets James Brown's "People,Get Up and Drive your funky soul (remix)" sample lead the way. Showing samples in a very positive light this one does, Mixing an Arabian beat, along with the soulful sample, turning it into a hip hop track could be considered genius in some aspect.

No"*Tunneling" to get to the "RZA" connect "New Day" where a deep in thought Kanye West gets his point across of the "New Day" being changing some things in his past, but all together comes off as mediocre at best.

Through the next 3 songs our musical high coasts, sometimes hitting below average, that is until "Murder To Excellence" hits. When "Murder To Excellence" hits...It Hits. A double sample beat that shows the *tunnel track idea come fully to life. We get a 1/2 and 1/2 beat, with the second half sizzling into and sampling the "Shaving scene" from the Quincy Jones musically arranged "Color Purple". Socially inclined rappers taking the beat to the next level, with topics ranging from Wars, success, religion and Black on Black Murder. very Nice by all parties involved.

"Made In America" continues the religion topic with a soothing Frank Ocean singing "Sweet baby Jesus/We made it in America". A wonderful topic that could've been relayed just a tad bit better.

Ending this album with the screaming, synthesizing beat of "Why I love You" ft Mr. Hudson. The beat gets a negative, but in actuality Mr.Carter showed up, and showed out on this track, Ending the album with showing that his skills are still in tact made the song start low, but end high in every way.

All in all the anticipation of "Watch The Throne" lived up to the expectation 85% of the way. Many highs, and a few bumps, but most definitey, the challenge that the two put themselves right in the middle of deserves a grade A. To make a basic album with basic hardcore rap beats would be expected, but the line they attacked makes us all question where can Jay-Z and Kanye West go from here?

*SAU Definition: "Tunnel track"- A track within a beat that usually enters towards the end of the initial song tunneling you into an entirely different beat/song.

Growth: S (satisfactory)

Production: B-

Lyrical Ability: B-

WWA (World Wide Appeal): C

Official Grade: B+

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