Nov 21 2011, 1h07
I've been listening to Jay-Z and Kanye West's Watch the Throne for over a month now. I haven't been taken in by a rap album like this since I was a teenager (over a decade). This album is a gigantic celebration of being experts at their craft. I can easily call it one of the best albums I've heard this year. I think it really raises the bar as far as collaborations. It is not chocked full of popular artists, it is just great rappers rapping. I was disappointed in the reviews though. They have been mostly so-so, talking about the lack of talk on social issues or saying that they "used to be better." I think both stances miss the point. When you create an album like this, with a name like this, you are clearly showing you dominance in rap music. Songs like Otis and Gotta Have It talk about how the rewards of having business acumen and the skills to back it up. The album touches on social issues in songs like Murder to Excellence, but this album was never intended to tell any story but their own. They discuss their own struggles to achieve what they have and even discuss their own mistakes and the ghosts that still haunt them. The second class of criticism follows in a similar path of expecting something that was never intended. Watch the Throne is amazing because it has two talented artists trying to make amazing music based on their own experiences. It is great because it is real. It is stupid to criticize them for telling the truth.