Watch The Throne Lives Up To The Hype

A couple of days ago, Billboard reported that “Watch The Throne” was on pace to break the half million sales mark in the first week. Everyone has their predictions regarding what the threshold is for the album’s sales.

To put that 500k number into context; the biggest overall digital sales week ever for an album is held by Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way”. In it’s first week, Gaga moved 662,000 downloads (and a total of 1.1M albums) earlier this year.

In an age when people can sample the music before they buy it, and word of mouth travels faster than ever before, Jay and Kayne are moving units. I guess there was no question whether or not that would be the case. Personally, the question that I had when I first listened to “Watch The Throne” was whether or not it would live up to the hype.

Maybe this post should be titled, “Watch The Throne Lives Up Yo MY Hype”. In a sentence, that’s my review of the album. It’s good. That said, it’s definitely different.

I’ve been sent reviews of the album by people. Usually the negative ones, as is often the case when it comes to reviews. That’s why people like to write negative reviews after all — they get publicized much more than a glowing, positive review.

MetaCritic has 10 professional critic’s reviews compiled. Thus far, 9 out of the 10 have been positive. I guess a lot of people are feeling the way I do about the record.

“Watch The Throne” doesn’t have radio singles. I’m not even sure how the duo thought “H.A.M.” was going to do well on the radio. It isn’t that type of song. And neither is the rest of the album.

When I first heard about this collaborative album, I did think that we would get some big time radio hits. Why wouldn’t I? The best producer of a generation, combined with the best rapper of a generation, should combine to make some magic.

It’s tough to swallow that “The Black Album” and “College Dropout” are a thing of the past. Just like most artists, these two don’t want to stay stagnant. “808s & Heartbreak”, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” and even the “Blueprint 3” are far different from Jay Z and Kanye West’s earlier releases. Following that trend, “Watch The Throne” is even more different than anything we have heard from these two previously.

I’ve read many people rave about “No Church in the Wild”, the first track on the album. Even people that did not like the album overall have raved about that song. I don’t understand that one. Once I heard that intro, I knew the type of record I was about to listen to.

I’m very into production at this point in my hip hop life. I find it hard to find a ton of imperfections in an album that has such a heavy influence from Kanye West, Swizz Beatz, RZA, Q-Tip, Pharrell and The Neptunes. “Watch The Throne” didn’t end up being the end all be all of hip hop. Still, I can’t complain.

I think the first 4 songs build perfectly to a climax in the 5th track “Gotta Have It”. That might be my favorite, at least at the moment. It comes complete with that back and forth, verse for verse compilation that I wanted to hear so badly in WTT. Oh, and, of course there is a nice Miami Heat, Dwayne Wade and LeBron James reference. So very OWS approved.

People will complain just to be noticed, or even just for the sake of complaining. That’s why the album is called “Watch The Throne” after all. An album full of club bangers or radio hits wasn’t the goal here. This was another victory lap, because they can. These two are on top — like it or not.

As we closeout the week, we sometimes stray from commenting on breaking sports news. There are, of course, other things in the world. Duh. These, often masterful thoughts, can be found in theĀ Free For All section of OWS.