8 years ago, today, Hip hop heavyweights, Jay-Z and Kanye West, released their famous, monumental project, Watch The Throne. A trendsetter that sparked inclinations of other collaborations. It became all the rage to pursue joint albums. Even if many of them never came into fruition. This one did, and honestly, this one had to ferment and grow on me. A long fan of both Jay and YE, my first few listens didn’t wow me. It had amazing highlights and past his prime Jay. I got to thinking, maybe this should have been made 5 years ago.
Turns out, I was wrong. I began discovering the nuances in tracks I hadn’t noticed before. A simple track like “Gotta have it” drew me in because of the sample. A melodic hook that was contagious. The back and forth rhymes about luxury life simply worked. The production as a whole on WTT is just mesmerizing. The horns on ‘Lift off” The haunting children voices on “Murder To Excellence”. The guitar on “No Church In The Wild. I can keep going.
That production was mostly Kanye and Swizz. Sprinkling in Hit Boy, Mike Dean and even Rza. Hell, Pharell made a cameo. I love the samples on this album. Especially in my favorite song, “New day”, where Kanye and others incorporated the classic Nina Simone song, “Feeling Good” into the hook. The song hits home, as both mc’s touch on having kids, one day, and the pitfalls and sentimentality that goes with it. The content on this album is lavish, reflective and fun. Darkness and depth, politically speaking also make an appearance.
I could break down each and every track, but the bigger story is the impact and the sense of nostalgia I get from it. So yes, I warmed up to Jay-Z not being stuck in 2001. I used to listen to this album nonstop on my way to work. I just took a new job, and this piece of art would get me through the day. The 2010s have been transitional in hip hop. It has seen a bevy of new talent. A whole lot of trash, plus new sounds/waves. Kid Cudi anyone? This project will always be memorable. It proved two veterans weren’t ready to give up their kingdom. Can we get a part two?