Review Roundup: Jay-Z & Kanye West – ‘Watch the Throne’

Watch the Throne

Like a kid on Christmas morning, hip-hop fans rushed to iTunes to download Jay-Z and Kanye West’s blockbuster album Watch the Throne as soon as it went on sale Sunday night. The hip-hop kings assembled a royal lineup of collaborators including Beyoncé, Frank Ocean, The RZA, Swizz Beatz, The Neptunes, Q-Tip, and more to create the year’s biggest rap release. But was it able to live up to all the hype? The reviews are in.

USA Today: Star collaborations don’t always work out as well in practice as they do on paper (see: Jay-Z and R. Kelly). But in this case, they’ve created an artistic Throne that other rappers can aspire to. 4/4

Los Angeles Times: The album’s highlight, and an instant classic, is “Made in America,” a solid, slow-paced Frank Ocean-teamed jam about the American dream that reveals the main difference between West and Jay-Z: humility. … On Watch the Throne, the two kings prove much more nimble and disciplined, displaying a confidence that suggests they’re not going anywhere. 3/4

The Washington Post: Jay’s most diamond-encrusted verses might give us the guts to fantasize beyond our means, but most of us will never actually touch that kind of wealth. Meantime, West continues to invest in the power of ego—something a recession can never take away. Because of that, Watch the Throne is his album.

Boston Herald: Watch the Throne has been hailed as a second coming. Instead, it’s a great hip-hop album with the flaws we’ve come to expect from Hova and Yeezy—both giants have delivered revolutionary rhymes and mainstream mediocrity. B+

New York Post: Watch the Throne is neither West’s nor Jay-Z’s best, but count it as a success, especially getting two performers as dynamic and egomaniacal as this duo to mesh into a cohesive team.

Chicago Tribune: The production is often stellar, favoring West’s soul-dusties sensibility, with snippets of James Brown, Otis Redding, and Nina Simone. But it rarely takes the kind of chances West routinely takes on his solo albums. Instead, the idea is to create an album that lives up to its royal billing, a gilded collection of potential hits with lots of hooks and plenty of branding opportunities. 2/4

Rap-Up’s Favorite Tracks: “No Church in the Wild,” “Ni**as in Paris,” “New Day,” “Made in America”

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69 Comments

  1. @YaserLad

    2/4? KMT!

    [Reply]

    m.i.k.e. Reply:

    @@YaserLad, the album is barely 0.5/4… it truly sucks

    [Reply]

    bfbf Reply:

    @m.i.k.e.,you must not know anything about music then

    [Reply]

    Gabe Reply:

    @bfbf, The album sucks. If you actually think this is good ypu don’t anything about music.

    [Reply]

    jump Reply:

    @Gabe, yea you could jump a cliff listening to ur kesha lady baba, and all that other shxt

    [Reply]

    My name is nt Needed Reply:

    @Gabe, Wait Gabe what do you listen to before we keep judging OJ Tha Juiceman

    [Reply]

    mB Reply:

    @bfbf, i know enough about music to know its trash 2/4

    [Reply]

    brisporta Reply:

    @m.i.k.e., you might be racist

    [Reply]

    m.i.k.e. Reply:

    @brisporta
    ROFL racist?? yeah, it must be that, do u even know anything about my friends!? how they look like or anything?! then STFU

    [Reply]

    illtelldatruth Reply:

    @m.i.k.e.,
    half yall probably waitin on the carter 4 when wayne gon rap about something dats has nothing to do with anything yall dont know real music or how as u involve u rap about wats real to u not wat use to be real. Jay Z and K. West go hard

    [Reply]

  2. Nicki4ever

    Average album, nothing to remember of it, and please shut up about lift off it’s bad

    [Reply]

  3. AmbeRussell

    it is hard to make an collab album and stay true to yourself and both artist be so different. kwest is too animated, while jay is laid back. they are good at feat on one anothers songs, but it is hard to “do u” when it is a 2 person thing that is normally a solo artist. but it looks like the critics are loking it and the sales seem to be doing hot too, 500k in week, just through downloads and not even thr physical album so it looks like they be doin just fine.

    [Reply]

  4. biggy

    album of the year. all u haterz dont even try. carter 4 got no chance against watch the throne

    [Reply]

    @emari_king Reply:

    @biggy, tell them

    [Reply]

  5. uhuh

    STILL WAITING ON THAT NEXT KANYE SOLO ALBUM….
    and yes im still bumping MBDTF. a bit WTT too.

    [Reply]

    YUNG Reezy Reply:

    @uhuh, same, waiting on Ye’s solo album after MBDTF and WTT

    [Reply]

  6. @illerbrown

    I say its 5/5 cause if you look at all the other albums “rappers” are putting out there all shity dancey songs.. Like Kanye said People are going through real shit, and no work “That’s why another damn dance track gotta hurt.. That’s why I rather spit something that gotta perch

    (obviously its not word for word before people start spilling there feelings in the air)

    [Reply]

    James Reply:

    @@illerbrown, Youre a idiot! Its ironic you quoto Kanye about ?we need more real music,and less dance tracks. When Wtt was just a boasting lp with two egos haha youre a stupid cunt. Wtt is trash 2.2/5

    [Reply]

    YUNG Reezy Reply:

    @James, rather have ego boasting then lame dance songs. as a wise man once said; one man’s trash is another millions teasure WTT 5/5 james 0.1/5

    [Reply]

    James Reply:

    @YUNG Reezy, Change your name to Yung Dickrider you fucking stan! Lp was trash and only thing you bought was hype and I feel sorry for you hahaha!

    [Reply]

    uhuh Reply:

    @James, come on, man. i know its the internet and all so you can say all the stuff u want. saying a collabo between ye and jay is compeletly trash. thit shit could get your ass beat in real life. and it isnt a treat its a fact.

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  7. Ice

    WTT is growing on me fast, but it still has several tracks I’m not crazy about, like “Why I Love You”, “Primetime” and “Murder to Excellence” (I don’t like the production on the excellence part of the song.) My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was one of the rare albums where I rated every song 5 stars, so like @uhuh said, next Kanye album will be worth buying. This is not worth my money.

    [Reply]

  8. uhuh

    i feel bad for weezy

    [Reply]

    Corbama Reply:

    @uhuh, Hah me too. I’d be thinking about pushing it back again

    [Reply]

    BenP Reply:

    @uhuh, Carter IV is going to be the best album of the yearr! Just watch and you haters going to eat your words. Why should you feel sorry for Wayne when he dropping a classic AUG 29 aka best album of the yr!

    [Reply]

    YUNG Reezy Reply:

    @BenP, they ain’t hating, stop sucking lil wayne thang and open your eyes rather than your mouth. I think both will do good, people who like wayne more than hov will pick up TC4. the guy I really feel bad for is the Game. the R.E.D. album is definitely going to be put in the dark.

    [Reply]

    uhuh Reply:

    @YUNG Reezy, i dont feel bad for game. he dug his own grave. just like 50. and yes im not hating weezy i was a die hard fan back in ’06 to ’09,, i even bought C3 the first week. but sh*ts not looking too good for weezy right now i aint even gonna front.

    [Reply]

  9. King Dro

    10/10

    [Reply]

    PrinceSmooth Reply:

    @King Dro, Smartest Comment I’ve seen so far :)

    [Reply]

  10. Cheers

    Bad Meet Evil >>>> WTT

    [Reply]

    uhuh Reply:

    @Cheers, MBDTF>>>> everything u ever listened to last year/this year

    [Reply]

    DEADDDDDD Reply:

    @Cheers, That’s thee worst collab album ever . You didn’t even know Royce before hand .

    [Reply]

  11. DJ

    The album is okay but…

    MBDTF > WTT

    Waiting on that solo Kanye album (continuation to “The College Dropout”, “Late Registration”, & “Graduation”) Good Ass Job!

    And I would be more excited for a CRS (Kanye, Lupe, Pharrell) album than WTT (Kanye and Jay)!

    [Reply]

    uhuh Reply:

    @DJ, he’s never gonna use the good ass job album title.. at least not right now. he doesnt think he have a good ass job. judging by the recent rant about white america hating him etc.

    oh.. and kanye makes the best music in pain/loss/suffering. soo… i hope more drama happens to him so i can get the best music possible from ‘Ye. i know im a selfish fan.

    [Reply]

  12. Brian

    Why is no one mentioning Hell: The Sequel as album of the year. From what we’ve heard Carter 4 is going to suck so that shouldn’t be in the conversation yet, and maybe I need a few more listens, but so far I think Hell: The Sequel is definitely better than this and it’s not even close.

    [Reply]

    UCHE THA KOKOMASTER Reply:

    @Brian, true

    [Reply]

  13. Convese

    Haha what a crappy album?! Only blogsites are dick riding it. Below avg beats too go with weak lyrics. Don’t buy into the hype, it’s not even worth buying better yet a dl.

    [Reply]

  14. UCHE THA KOKOMASTER

    HELL: THE SEQUEL > WATCH THE THRONE
    ANYDAY ANYTIME

    [Reply]

    Meezy Reply:

    @UCHE THA KOKOMASTER,
    If u like listening to the same song 10 times, and think Bruno mars is cool. Otherwise u can’t compare the two

    [Reply]

  15. Cortez

    Yeah boring album it might me the worst album of the year! Mbdtf>jayz career *shrug*

    [Reply]

  16. Lisa

    I wanted to pick up my copy Friday… I haven’t listened to any of the new material, ’cause I wanted to wait till I it was available in stores, but from reading these comments I might have to listen to some iTunes previews afterall. I’m not gonna spend my money on something that’s not worth it.

    [Reply]

    PrinceSmooth Reply:

    @Lisa, lol listen to the previews and tell us what you think … this is a great album!

    [Reply]

  17. DJ

    “Cole World” is going to be album of the year!

    [Reply]

  18. Hova

    Wayne drops all the good songs as singles then the album drops an u get a very sub-par album drake the marvins rooms shit shity as hell that we the best album dam we on 1 was it nothing else w.t.t producation could have been a little better but over all 90/100

    [Reply]

  19. Cassive

    I personally don’t like Jay-Z.

    [Reply]

    uhuh Reply:

    @Cassive, haha thats a first. usually folks hate kanye. i personally love kanye. no homo.
    and i was a jay fan in Roc-A-Fella days

    [Reply]

    avi Reply:

    @Cassive, ditto.

    [Reply]

    Cassive Reply:

    Quhuh, @avi For real. I don’t really like either of them really, I know they’re both good and this album isn’t bad but I don’t like it.

    [Reply]

  20. Natasha

    Bad Meet Evil >>>> WTT

    [Reply]

    Ian Reply:

    @Natasha, bad meets evil was inconsistent.
    and “lighters” was the most popular song! that song sucked. it should have been on recovery

    [Reply]

  21. BallzNYaJawz

    Your hating won’t stop WTT from blowing
    past 500,000 copies being sold in the first
    week,because it is on track to do just that
    Dummies! #WTT #9 is the bomb Who Gon Stop
    Me is a certified banger

    [Reply]

  22. Slice

    Kanye is still a DOUCHE and a half. Seriously. Go the F$%^@ away already.
    *already ignoring the stans*

    [Reply]

    Meezy Reply:

    @Slice, just because he’s a douche doesn’t mean he doesn’t make good music.

    [Reply]

  23. MR. FRANKIE

    this isnt a commercial album likes the ones we r used 2, but if u dont know about music production then this is wack, these r artist tha have reach a level of maturity that they decided this time 2 put out deeper meaning songs, this is 4 grown ppl, this isnt 4 willow smith fans

    [Reply]

    dreincharacter Reply:

    @MR. FRANKIE, couldn’t have said it better my self.

    Great album. If you don’t like it that’s cool, good rap is meant to be understood my the masses.

    [Reply]

  24. Ian

    NiGGAS IN PARIS! Love the blades a of glory bit
    8/10 overall for this album

    [Reply]

  25. Abdullah

    Watch The Throne > err thing

    they beated 2pac tho :)

    [Reply]

  26. PrinceSmooth

    LOL … this is easily the best album of the year, and will be remember as a “classic” quote me; and for all you ppl who say all they talk about is “money, cars, etc …” that may be true for some songs but you obviously didn’t hear “Murder to Excellence” which gives awareness to senseless black on black crime. “New day” which talks about their regrets .. the list goes on and on .. but what can i say haters gon hate :)

    [Reply]

  27. GmaN

    A good album overall but definitely not Beautiful, not Dark , not Twisted and no Fantasy. /// (3 out of 5 lines)

    [Reply]

  28. Queen Beyonce

    WATCH THE THRONE BALLS SO HARD THIS SHIT CRAY – best hip hop album so far this year… but i’ll be checking for carter 4 & take care

    [Reply]

  29. tiva

    WTT album of the year so far… Can see it winning a bunch of grammys. From production to lyricism it is flawless, a true masterpiece that most hiphop heads will vibe to. Jay absolutes steals the show tho.

    [Reply]

  30. Wow

    I like WTT. Flawless production and I love the beats. I do however think the two are better on their solo projects. I honestly prefer Kanye over Jay but I enjoy them both. This is easily the best Hip Hop album of the year for two reasons. 1) it’s actually Hip Hop! We don’t get true Hip Hop anymore 2) Nas hasn’t released his album yet. I’m in no way saying that Nas is better than them but he does give Hip Hop and great Hip Hop at that. I think the two will be neck and neck. The Carter 4 shouldn’t even be in this discussion. Wayne is trash. Utter garbage. He hasnt been hot since Gillie was writing for him. From what I’ve heard so far, I won’t be buying. Drake sings more than he raps so his competition is more so T-Pain.

    [Reply]

  31. mr. tell all

    dumb idiots on here:/ such a shame..this album is great, liked every track.wat else can u rap about 20+ yrs?o yea, same topics that r still relevant.they get richer off of us.hate it all u want but who can create buzz on a sunday nite jus to listen to it.everyone on here who gave their opinion, well they got u.

    [Reply]

  32. Ray

    It’s definitely a strong 8/10. I love this.

    [Reply]

  33. frydaddy

    There are some haters on this bitch. Listen to it a few times cus the production is incredible and while they may not be going insanely hard on every verse this is still an incredible CD. 4.37/5

    [Reply]

  34. Teddy Allen Aguilar

    at the end of the day, it’s about the MUSIC.

    Modern Classic . 5/5

    [Reply]

  35. co-sign3

    Clearly if you actually listen to this album you’ll see that it is an outstanding hip hop album.

    I used to visit rap-up but I’ve switched I can’t stand the ignorant comments that people post on here.

    [Reply]

  36. Dope. You HAVE TO ADMIT

    It’s a classic. you can’t say that’s not

    [Reply]

  37. Chris

    I’ll admit the first time I listened to the previews I didn’t like the album. But you CAN’T just listen to the previews. This album isn’t about chart topping singles, but rather a whole incredibly put together album of excellent hip hop. The production is absolutely crazy, and, in my opinion, leaps and bounds above other mainstream pop/rap albums (Bad Meets Evil, etc.) Of course there ARE better rappers than these two, but there’s really no denying that they’ve crafted a masterpiece here overall. I think it’s funny that people judge the album without even listening to the whole thing first. That’s not the point of this CD.

    [Reply]

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