Jay-Z + Kanye West = Watch the Throne Deluxe Album Version Track by Track Review and Rating

Soulhead Track by Track Review:

(Ratings 1 lo – 5 high.  Comments from staff listening session)


01 No Church in the Wild (ft. Frank Ocean)4

“love the intro. wikid beat, solid lyrics. love Frank Ocean from Odd Future”

02 Lift Off (ft. Beyoncé) – 3.5

“Beyonce tried really hard to make this interesting.  kanye’s auto-tune mumbling became annoying in the second verse. jay entertained but sounded like he phoned it in. lift off effects novel”

03 Niggas in Paris4

“loved the beat and Jay’s first verse.  Kanye’s verses were pretty funny and the hook is pretty entertaining and memorable. nice effects.”

04 Otis (ft. Otis Redding)3.5

“not a fan of the content but hearing Otis singing with this beat compels regardless”

05 Gotta Have It3.5

“love the sample.  sounds South Asian. lyrics so so but flow on point.”

06 New Day4

“nice boom bap backdrop. love the nina symone nod but could have done without the auto-tune effect. like the message and performance.not sure what the Me and the Rza connect references were all about.”

07 That’s My Bitch – 4.5

“debates about ‘bitch’ aside, we just love the sound of this.  sounds really 80’s but flows so nicely. funny, entertaining and clever. tight beat. hot verses from both MCs”

08 Welcome to the Jungle4

“tight old school feel.  just feel, loop, spit.  Nice.”

09 Who Gon Stop Me3.5

“lyrically, just ok to us.  sample became a bit annoying after a while. i guess this is what happens when ‘Ye stops talking about cars and money. Jay does rip it though and carried this one lyrically.”

10 Murder to Excellence – 4

“love the instrumentation and the vocal sample, although it is a bit derivative of previous work.  lyrically strong for both. solid message.”

11 Made in America (featuring Frank Ocean) – 4

“love the melody and the message of this one.  Frank does a very soulful job on the hook. Unfortunately, this may not get much radio play but we dig it.”

12 Why I Love You (featuring Mr. Hudson) – 3.5

“interesting message and creative aggressive hook, albeit a bit techy.  Jay flows hard here. Kanye seems inspired in his verses by Jay.”

Bonus tracks:

13 Illest Motherfucker Alive4

“love the title and the sentiment in the song.  sounds eerily like a Rick Ross flow on “Ye’s verse, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  We like the grind of this one.”

14 H*A*M4

“classic braggadocio.  love the simplicity.  the title is a little corny but I get it. not a huge fan of hearing Jay-z singing even a little bit.”

15 Primetime – 4

“to the point hip hop.  strong beat and instrumental progressions.  coming of age tale in many respects.”

16 The Joy (ft. Curtis Mayfield) –  3

“makings of you sample was appreciated but not well used. lyrics are a little deep on this one.  didn’t need all of those “uggh” effects either.  would have expected more from a Pete Rock/Kanye collaboration”

Overall Rating:  3.8/5.0 

Our Favorite Tracks:  That’s My Bitch, Illest Motherfucker Alive, Niggas In Paris, No Church in the Wild

Our Recommendation:  BUY.  Despite our previous ruminations about Otis and its misplaced context, we actually liked the album. Not loved, but liked a lot.  The album felt long but had some serious moments.  Perhaps we expected a little more from these two titans of hip-hop, but the reality is they did deliver.  I wonder what the “Watch the Throne” reference is for?  Are we to believe that Jay-Z is trying to transition said throne to Kanye?  Maybe as a producer and sometimes deft lyricist, but the KING?  We love both of these guys and are happy that they have completed and released this project.  We would recommend you listen to it here and make your own decision.  In the meantime, watch the ‘Watch The Throne’ documentary.



Digital Booklet Photos from StraightFromTheA.com:

Kanye West Jay-Z Watch the Throne Digital Booklet Photo 1Kanye West Jay-Z Watch the Throne Digital Booklet Photo 2Kanye West Jay-Z Watch the Throne Digital Booklet Photo 3Kanye West Jay-Z Watch the Throne Digital Booklet Photo 4Kanye West Jay-Z Watch the Throne Digital Booklet Photo 5

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