Released exclusively online on Aug. 8, Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch The Throne embraces a growing trend in the music industry that prioritizes digital music over the aging CD. With this release comes an album that, according to the duo, will bring commercial and critical legitimacy to another game-changing movement they call “luxury rap.”
A typical gripe with rap music is its obsession with all things super rich, but these two know how to make this sort of arrogance sound endearing. Jay-Z and Yeezy will tell you how many foreign watch, car, and clothing companies they throw money at, but you can’t hate them for it. However, maybe if these two weren’t so concerned with their critical reputations, they would have released an album filled entirely with instantly gratifying songs like “Otis,” “Who Gon Stop Me,” and “Illest Motherfucker Alive.” The heavier stuff (“Murder to Excellence,” “Made in America”) makes the album drag at times, and the tracks sound as if they were conceived with only halfhearted seriousness.
Watch The Throne has a few quirks, including dialogue snippets from Blades of Glory, a sample from the Chariots of Fire soundtrack, and a cartoony-sounding coda that infrequently creeps its way between a few tracks. Though not all the beats may be radio-friendly or loaded with catchy hooks, Jay-Z and Kanye made an album that continues to demonstrate the duo’s irresistible stylishness.