Jay-Z and Kanye West – Watch The Throne

written by: August 16, 2011
Release Date: August 12, 2011


Marie Antoinette’s entire life can be summed up by one single phrase: “Let them eat cake.” This quote is considered to be the match that ignited the French Revolution. Antoinette had completely lost sight of how to connect with the people she was supposed to be serving and let her opulence get the best of her. Historians have since discovered that Antoinette never actually said this, but her arrogance and ignorance proved a point: that she had let her riches get the best of her.

In a similar way, Jay-Z and Kanye West are offering up Watch The Throne. An album that similarly displays the duos affluence, as well as their reign over the rap game, it is hip-hop’s ultimate “let them eat cake” gesture. Unfortunately, what Watch The Throne proves to be is a subpar offering that never rises above mediocre.

Both Jay-Z and West have built themselves from humble beginnings to create some genre defying albums, so to deny them the right to celebrate would be unfair. Watch The Throne should be the album that sees them bask in their success while pushing the genre forward. In reality, it only highlights how weak both artists can be.

Opening with “No Church in the Wild,” the record starts with a bang. A strong hook courtesy of Odd Future’s Frank Ocean serves the track well before introducing Jay-Z’s hefty verse. Unfortunately, West’s signature use of auto-tune diminishes Ocean’s hook midway through and never fully recovers.

The album boasts a handful of great tracks—“New Day,” “Who Gon Stop Me,” “Made In America”—but there’s little cohesion across the album. It is not because the group is being adventurous and missing the mark, but because Jay-Z and West don’t connect and are content with this being a mixtape. Both Jay-Z and West turn in some top notch verses, but overall Watch The Throne is disjointed and mildly schizophrenic.

As previously mentioned, most of Watch The Throne sees the duo boast about their good fortune, but it does nothing more than highlight a disconnect with the audience. It’s respectable that neither Jay-Z nor West pretend as if they are still from that streets—an act that would be utterly disingenuous—but nonstop talk of their lavish lifestyles wears thin almost immediately.

Much like Antoinette, Jay-Z and West are at the top of their field at least from a monetary standpoint. Due to their stature, rap’s leading men seem oblivious to those chopping at the bit to take their spot. All across the country—and surely over the world—young rappers, crews and collectives are making music that is infinitely more interesting and progressive than Watch The Throne. Taking away the album’s hype, all that is left is a spotty mixtape from two artists that could do so much better. Perhaps Jay-Z and West are the ones that should be watching their throne, because it’s not built upon a solid foundation. If they aren’t careful, they’ll end up only remembering what it was like to be on top—just like some old French lady with an affinity for pastries.

Jay-Z and Kanye West – Watch The Throne Tracklist:

  1. “No Church in The Wild (Feat. Frank Ocean)”
  2. “Lift Off (Feat. Beyoncé)”
  3. “Niggas in Paris”
  4. “Otis (Feat. Otis Redding)”
  5. “Gotta Have It”
  6. “New Day”
  7. “That’s My Bitch”
  8. “Welcome to The Jungle”
  9. “Who Gon Stop Me”
  10. “Murder to Excellence”
  11. “Made In America”
  12. “Why I Love You”