‘Watch the Throne’ by Kanye West & Jay-Z

Kanye West and Jay-Z have just released a high profile album, which hit the shelves on Aug. 8. From the opening hook on Watch the Throne, it is clear that this album isn’t going to be built solely on Auto-tuning and rap clichés. Guest vocalist Frank Ocean sings “Human beings in a mob/What’s a mob to a king/What’s a king to a god?” on the album’s opening track, “No Church in the Wild.” Indeed, Jay-Z and Kanye West prove at many moments on the album that they can potentially contribute something different from today’s generic hip-hop. Lyrics and vocals aside, the music is generally well-crafted. The production is air-tight, as should be expected from the army of producers employed for the album, and the music contains a number of samples. For example, the song “Otis” heavily relies on the use of legendary soul singer Otis Redding’s “Try A Little Tenderness”. Unfortunately, some rap clichés do show up on the album, including common overuse of Auto tune. These unfortunate clichés seem to pop up more frequently as the later songs seem to become ever more generic, losing some of the charisma of the album’s earlier tracks. While Watch the Throne shows promise to be more than a mainstream hip-hop album, its flaws prove that Kanye West and Jay-Z really don’t have anything special on their hands here. Overall rating: 6/10