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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ‘Throne’ doesn’t meet promise

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    A miracle of modern day rap has happened right before our collective ears: the collaborative efforts of Kanye West and Jay-Z resulting in Aug. 8’s Watch the Throne.

    The 12-track CD continues to garner favorable reviews. Metacritic gave the album a 74 out of 100, the mean of 37 mainstream critiques.

    Considering some of the hype made Throne sound like the second coming of Jesus, a solid 74 is a much clearer reflection of the album’s actual rank. It’s an achievement for both artists no question, but for the fans that were expecting another My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy with a bit of Jay-Z’s personal flair, that’s far from what they got.

    With two talented — approaching genius — producers, the music in every track represents an expected, and fantastic, breadth of diversity. “N**gas in Paris” and “Who Gon Stop Me” even borrow bits from “Blades of Glory” and the Flux Pavilion dubstep song “I Can’t Stop,” proving the pair’s skill in pulling off these otherwise out-there musical samplings.

    The real interest in Watch the Throne lies in what the duo does lyrically.

    “No Church in the Wild” and “Murder to Excellence” deal in drugs, sex and death, dashed with a little bit of general cynicism in a grandiose scale befitting the high-rolling, fast paced world in which Kanye and Jay-Z live. These somber songs are refreshing when compared with those more typical of modern rap, boasting massive egos and big bank rolls, like “Otis,” which can serve as a blueprint for future rappers on how to make even a tired concept like ego sound fresh. Sure, Jay-Z, I guess you got your swagger back on this one.

    “Lift-off” holds little in the way of lyricism but is too upbeat and powerful to fall in with the rest of the lesser tracks, thanks to Beyoncé. High-hats balance out the orchestral brass mixed with deep, resounding bass as both Kanye and Jay-Z deliver energizing verses with verve.

    Other tracks hold some potential, but tend to fall in with the rest of the rap world’s musical dregs. “New Day” and “Why I Love You” are the best among these, offering a glimpse into the private thoughts of Kanye and Jay-Z, much like “Runaway” on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, only with a bit more sincerity.

    Hov’s years of experience and smooth, cool flow keep him hanging with Ye, but the over-the-hill rapper is easily outshined by Kanye’s raw emotional delivery, which lets him rouse a listener’s spirit even on low-key songs. It’s not a matter of good and bad though, but great and better.

    Through everything, Watch The Throne is still worth it, if only to give you another fix of some of rap’s heaviest hitters, since it might be a while before either makes new music after touring with this CD.

    Grade: 78/100

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