Various artists—Catch the throne

a/Arts & Entertainment/Music by

In the weeks leading up to the anticipated Season Four premiere of Game of Thrones, some HBO executives apparently thought it was a good idea to spend a chunk of their marketing budget on commissioning a mixtape project called Catch the Throne.  The somewhat bizarre rationale for the project was given by Lucinda Martinez, HBO’s Multicultural Marketing VP, in Rolling Stone: “Our multicultural audiences are a very important part of our subscribers, and we don’t want to take them for granted.”

The tape, which references Jay-Z/Kanye West’s Watch the Throne, features choice, foreboding dialogue samples from the show to introduce each song, in the style of Wu-Tang Clan’s kung fu flick intros. It also features a roster of artists ranging from obscure to illustrious, some of the latter being Common, Wale, and Big Boi.

The stars on this album don’t necessarily shine the brightest though. Big Boi’s album opener “Mother of Dragons” includes the corny hook “Dungeons, dragons, kings and queens,” and other weak, innacurate lyrics. Meanwhile, more under-the-radar rappers, like dancehall artist Magazeen and female emcee Snow tha Product, perform well on their respective songs, bringing some energy to the tape that counters Big Boi’s deadpan intonation. Amateur rapper Dominik Omega’s lyrics in “Arya’s Prayer,” pay the most attention to the plot, and his original “Game of Thrones Hip Hop Remix” on YouTube seems to be the likely inspiration for the tape.

Game of Thrones fans who are counting down the days to the show’s premiere will be satisfied by the mixtape, if only to hear a chopped version of the show’s theme on Wale’s “King Slayer,” as well as the general novelty of fantasy hip-hop. While it achieves some limited musical success, this album doesn’t really emerge as anything more than an expensive promotional experiment.