Y'all already know what it's about, but just in case you've been sleeping all week, here's a quick round-up of the best Watch the Throne>"/>
Y'all already know what it's about, but just in case you've been sleeping all week, here's a quick round-up of the best Watch the Throne reviews to hit since Monday, from ALL_CAPS satire to socio-economic analysis. Enjoy.
Sean "Jay-Z" Carter: I remember it was like four o'clock in the morning. I was in Hawaii like a year ago and I get this wild text from Kanye, I still have it in my phone, hold up: "YO JAY, I WANT TO MAKE AN ALBUM ABOUT EXORBITANT WEALTH AND THE FALSE PROMISE THAT IS THE AMERICAN DREAM, COMBINING WORLD WEARY NAVEL GAZING WITH ATMOSPHERIC SHIT TALK, THE LIKES OF WHICH RAP MUSIC HAS NEVER SEEN BEFORE."
Quick litmus test: Does the phrase "I'm planking on a million," which spills joyously from the lips of one Shawn Carter, fill you with revulsion? (And is it Aw Geez Dad Please Shut Up revulsion or Fuck You Scrooge McDuck revulsion?)
This isn't excess for excess's sake. It's the state of being so rich you forgot where you put all your nice things, being so rich you lost sight of which stuff is actually nice and which stuff you bought just because you're used to buying things. Meaningful references -- the abundant James Brown samples, the use of Redding and Mayfield -- are all jumbled with irrelevant ones.
I KNOW EVERY "MUSIC JOURNALIST" WAS JERKING ILLZ TO THIS SHIT BEFORE THEY EVEN HEARD IT...AND BY MUSIC JOURNALISTS I MEAN NIGGAS ON THE INTERNET WITH BEARDS AND GLASSES WHO LISTEN TO MUSIC AS A "JOB" AND CAN'T WAIT TO EITHER CALL SOME SHIT AMAZING OR GARBAGE. "PROFESSIONAL" MUSIC WRITERS ARE DESCRIBING THIS SHIT THE WAY WHITE PEOPLE DESCRIBE GOURMET FOOD B. USING WORDS LIKE "AIRY" AND "TRANSCENDENTAL" AND "ETHEREAL"...REALLY NIGGA? ITS A FUCKIN RAP RECORD.
It captures two artists who no longer need dreams; art cannot possibly prophesy a better future for either of them. All of this -- the luxury goods, the art collection, private compounds, the Oprah-level American Dream -- is their reality. This isn't to discount all the personal travails or the fantastic demons unimaginable to the nonfamous. But to speak passionately about contradiction offers narrative cover for the truth that one simply knows better, and the album's anxieties feel like an hour-long quest for the authority to rule from above, a justification to luxuriate.