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This album was released on August 8th in the year of our Lord 2011. Apparently whenever Kanye & Jay rap together they’re “The Throne.” I never actually hear anyone call them that tho, so I don’t know how seriously they take that name. Anyway, I don’t think I’m gonna like this shit. I’m hoping it’s more like My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy than The Blueprint 3. I’ve enjoyed most of the singles I’ve heard, but… I don’t know. I feel like it’s not gonna be very consistent. I kinda have a feeling that it’s gonna be a less shitty version of The Blueprint 3. The production’s gonna sound really expensive, and they’re gonna spend about an hour talking about being rich and famous. I’m excited to hear some shit from Kanye, but… I don’t know. I’m gonna be cautious going into this project. Every song is produced by Kanye West, except where noted.
Track 1: No Church in the Wild Feat. Frank Ocean & The Dream (Co-Prod. 88 Keys, Mike Dean & Om’Mas Keith)
This song is fucking incredible. I’m just gonna tell y’all now; this is probably gonna end up being my favorite song on this album. It’s been so long since I heard this shit. The beat is amazing, and Frank Ocean killed that hook. I never actually thought about how weird this song is in comparison to the rest of the singles. It actually has a very serious, dark tone. They don’t brag about their wealth or talk about getting their dicks sucked at all. Well, they ARE rapping about having power, but it’s executed in a really unique way. It’s actually well written. It’s hard to not like this song. The first verse from Jay was dope. I love the fucking bridge from The Dream too. He sounds amazing when he comes in. His voice provides a really nice contrast from that of Frank Ocean. Kanye’s verse was dope. Hmm… Now that I’m hearing this again… Honestly… I kinda wish there was another verse from a more capable MC. I was hoping that there would be a verse that really stood out, like Kanye’s verse on Run This Town. The two verses were sufficient, but they could’ve really pushed this song to the next level, and changed it from a great song to an amazing song. Anyway, I really love this track. It’s dope af.
Track 2: Lift Off Feat. Beyoncé (Co-Prod. Jeff Bhasker, Mike Dean, Q-Tip, Pharrell Williams & Don Jazzy)
This song is fucking terrible. I’m just gonna tell y’all now; this is probably gonna end up being my least favorite song on this album. It’s been so long since I heard this shit. The beat is amazing, but that hook from Beyoncé is atrocious. I know what they were trying to do with this song, and I think it was a good idea, but the execution is just so weak. Just look at this hook from Beyoncé…
We gonna take it to the moon, take it to the stars / How many people you know can take it this far? / I’m supercharged; we about to take this whole thing to Mars.
Yuuuck… Who the fuck wrote that shit for Beyoncé? There are writing credits from Bruno Mars & Seal. Are they responsible for the preposterous level of cringe? Smh… The melody she’s singing doesn’t even sound that good. You can tell they wanted this shit to be played in stadiums. This was made specifically for people who don’t listen to Hip Hop. They were obviously targeting a Pop audience with this song; there’s no way they actually thought this was good. The first verse—if you can even call it that—is fucking terrible. It starts out bad enough with Kanye saying THIS shit…
Lift off, lift off, takin’ my coat off / Showing my tattoos; I’m such a show off / I feel the pain, and then roll off / I got the whole city, they about to go off.
Like what the fuck is this dude talking about? It just gets worse in the next 4 bars tho. He starts singing the next four bars, and it’s basically Mumble Rap before Mumble Rap was a thing. I was so confused the first time I heard this song. His verse is only 8 bars. He couldn’t think of 8 decent lines for this shit? Jay’s verse is even more insulting tho…
Lift off: rappers hear Watch the Throne, they gon’ be pissed off / Earth is boring to ’em; shit is making my dick soft / When you Earnhardt as me, eventually you hit a big wall / 5-4-3-2 we need fuel; lift off.
That’s his verse. That’s his ENTIRE verse. 4 bars. All trash. Why the fuck does this song even exist? The production is phenomenal, but… Why are Jay & Kanye on this? It doesn’t even seem like they wanted any part in it. Everything about the vocal contributions to this song is just so shitty. It lacks substance. It just feels so empty. The only reason I’m not calling this song complete dogshit is the production. They fucked this beat. Everything else about this shit is terrible tho. It’s wack af.
Track 3: Niggas in Paris (Co-Prod. Hit-Boy, Mike Dean & Anthony Kilhoffer)
This song is actually pretty cool. The beat is dope af. I don’t like the Blades of Glory sample tho. A lot of people seemed to think it was funny when this song was more popular, but I just thought it was kinda corny. Lemme talk about the actual music tho; the first verse from Jay was dope. It wasn’t super impressive, but I enjoyed it. I don’t usually care for songs with this kinda content—they’re pretty much just rapping about partying in Paris—but it’s kinda hard not to like this song. The beat’s great, the hook’s catchy, and the verses are cool. Nothing about it really makes it super amazing, but I enjoyed it a lot. It got played out really quickly back when it was first released, but it’s been a while since I’ve heard it, so I can enjoy it again. This is dope to me.
Track 4: Otis Feat. Otis Redding
I really didn’t like this song the first time I heard it. Well, I didn’t like Niggas in Paris the first time I heard it either, but this one took even longer to grow on me. I’m not completely sure what my initial gripe with it was. Maybe it was the production. It is kinda weird. It’s a very unique beat. I love it now tho. I think the fact that they credited Otis Redding as a feature is pretty goddamn corny. The song is already called Otis. It would make a little more sense if they somehow incorporated his vocals in a way that made it sound like he was actually recording an original song with them. It doesn’t sound like that at all. It’s obvious that they just chopped up a sample of him. This is a nitpick tho. The content obviously doesn’t really appeal to me, but they did it REALLY fuckin’ well. It’s hard not to like this song. They just sound so fuckin’ dope on this shit. Normally this kinda shit would just annoy me, but their flows sound really good over this beat. I love this line from Kanye.
Luxury rap; the Hermes of verses / Sophisticated ignorance, write my curses in cursive / I get it custom… You a customer / You ain’t accustomed to going through customs / You ain’t been nowhere, huh?
Hmm… Honestly… I think I actually might like this song more than No Church in the Wild. The production, structure, flows, and even just the short length of this song makes it one of the most replayable songs on the album so far. The screaming from the James Brown sample at the end was annoying as motherfuck tho. However, aside from that, this shit is dope af.
Track 5: Gotta Have It (Co-Prod. The Neptunes)
Huh… This album is actually pretty good so far. I’ve almost gotten through all the big singles tho, so it might start going downhill after this track. I like this song tho. Once again, the production is phenomenal. The way they flipped this James Brown sample is genius. It’s also kinda cool how the previous track ended with a James Brown sample before going into this one. I just listened to the whole song. I forgot how simplistic the structure of this track was. It sounds kinda half baked. It’s less than two and a half minutes. There’s not really a hook, unless you count the variation in the production between the two verses. The verses themselves are enjoyable. It’s just more of the same honestly. I enjoyed it tho. So far this album is pretty much just The Blueprint 3, except good. I fuck with this track. It’s dope.
Track 6: New Day (Co-Prod. RZA, Mike Dean & Ken Lewis)
This is the first song from this album that I’ve never heard before. Good lord. This beat is amazing. Honestly, this is one of the best produced albums I’ve ever heard in my life so far. Oh shit. They’re actually rapping about something interesting. The first verse from Kanye was dope af. They’re rapping about their future sons. Well, I guess Kanye actually does have a son now. He didn’t at the time of this song’s composition tho.
I just want him to have an easy life / Not like Yeezy life; just want him to be someone people like / Don’t want him to be hated all the time, judged / Don’t be like your daddy that would never budge.
Fuuck. Jay’s verse was fantastic too. This song is actually kinda sad. It’s like a love song. You know how the best love songs always sound kind of sad for some reason? It’s the same with this track.
If the day comes I only see him on the weekend / I just pray we was in love on the night that we conceived him / Promise to never leave him even if his mama tweakin’ / ‘Cause my dad left me and I promise never repeat him.
This shit is dope af. One thing I’ve noticed tho is that almost every song on this album sounds a little incomplete. The structure is always really simplistic. This song is literally just two verses. There’s no hook or anything. It’s not that big of a deal. It just kinda feels like they didn’t spend as much time on it as they should have. I still really fuck with this tho. This is great.
Track 7: That’s My Bitch (Co-Prod. Q-Tip & Jeff Bhasker)
Oh fucking shit. This beat is awesome. I love this percussion. The fucking production on this album is incredible. This uncredited hook from Elly Jackson is pretty good. Kanye’s flow is awesome on this track. Oh woow. This entire verse is pretty much an Amber Rose diss. Well… I mean, it’s not really a malicious verse. He’s just doing that shit where a guy acts like he doesn’t care and kinda shits on a girl when she rejects him. He also apparently took some shots at Royce Da 5’9″ for whatever reason. I didn’t notice any tho. I liked his verse. I don’t really like the way Kanye handled the breakup with Amber Rose, but the verse itself was really nice. Oh fucking shit. That uncredited bridge from Justin Vernon was amazing. He kinda sounded like Charlie Wilson. Kinda. Jay’s verse was cool too. He was basically just sucking Beyoncé’s dick metaphorically. I like this song. The content isn’t that interesting, but the production is amazing, and this track doesn’t sound incomplete like a lot of the other tracks. This shit is dope af to me.
Track 8: Welcome to the Jungle (Prod. Swizz Beatz)
I technically haven’t heard this song before, but I’ve heard the beat. B.o.B freestyled over it on his E.P.I.C. mixtape. I’ve never been a fan of him, but he fucking killed that shit. Anyway, the song is starting now. This beat is dope af. Of course Swizz Beatz’s annoying ass is yelling “Oh!” all over this shit. God fucking damnit. Okay, I gotta say something about this shit… I respect Swizz Beatz as a producer, but I hate him for this shit. He has got to stop. He occasionally has a decent hook like on Start It Up by Lloyd Banks, but his voice is so fucking annoying to me. Why the fuck does he even do this shit? His ad-libs don’t make the song better. It’s just annoying as fuck. At least he didn’t have a verse. Jay’s rapping on the first verse, and there’s an ad-lib from Swizz after every fucking bar. BRUH SHUT THE MOTHERFUCK UP. JESUS CHRIST. Anyway, Jay’s verse was actually really good. Kanye only spit 4 bars. This is another one of the more personal tracks. Jay’s just rapping about all the fucked up shit that’s happened to him that makes him sad. He actually said he’s depressed. I’m hoping he’ll go into greater detail about that on 4:44. I never thought I’d relate to JAY-Z in any way. I really liked him on this song tho. It would’ve been cool if Kanye had a larger presence on this song. It also would’ve been awesome if Swizz Beatz didn’t open his fucking mouth. I like this song tho. That instrumental outro was nice. I kinda wish they did more with that, but it’s fine. This shit is dope.
Track 9: Who Gon’ Stop Me? (Co-Prod. Sake Pase & Mike Dean)
Oh my fucking God… Kanye West & JAY-Z made this song? Smh… Jesus… I’m sorry. I guess there’s not really anything wrong with it. It’s just kinda corny to me. I think it’s because I heard it in so many commercials for dumb shit. I feel like they used this song to promote cars and lame ass sporting events. I just can’t take it seriously. It’s more of a personal thing than an objective flaw tho. It’s actually a well produced song. I don’t like the hook tho. Oh fucking shit. The way the beat just switched up was awesome… You know what… I think I might actually end up liking this song. This production is actually insane. Jay snapped on that last verse. What the fuck… Okay, this shit is fucking dope. Lmao. The way this shit transformed for Jay’s verse was crazy. Kanye’s verse was cool too, but Jay stole the show. That was awesome. I fuck with this song.
Track 10: Murder to Excellence (Prod. Swizz Beatz & S1)
Honestly… I’m kinda shocked by how good this album is. I heard a lot of bad things about it. I wasn’t expecting to like this shit at all, but so far there’s only been one track that I didn’t like. I really thought this shit was gonna be trash. This beat is dope af. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this song. This is where they actually get on their soapbox and start preaching about important shit, specifically black on black crime. Jay’s verse was cool. Kanye’s was great. Is this the only time Kanye’s ever rapped about the violence in his hometown? I feel like it is… I can’t remember any other song where he tackled this subject. Why… Why the fuck don’t they make more music like this? It’s not like they aren’t good at it. This is fucking fantastic. Oh fucking shit. The way the beat just switched up was so fucking dope. Now they’re rapping about how the more successful they get the less black people they see.
From parolees to hold G’s, sold keys, low keys / We like the promised land of the OG’s / In the past if you picture events like a black tie / What the last thing you expect to see? Black guys.
They both fuckin’ killed this shit. This is the best song on the album so far. I really wish they made more music like this. I wish I knew why they don’t… It’s dope af.
Track 11: Made in America Feat. Frank Ocean (Prod. Sak Pase, Mike Dean & Om’Mas Keith)
This beat is nice. Frank is singin’ his motherfuckin’ ass off right now. Kanye’s just rapping about his come up. The first verse was cool. I just listened to the whole song. Jay’s verse was cool. I don’t know. This song is honestly just kinda underwhelming to me. I enjoyed it, but I don’t think I’d ever have the desire to return to it. It’s kinda boring. Nothing about it stands out enough. It’s not bad tho. I’m gonna have to pass on this shit. It’s an okay song.
Track 12: Why I Love You Feat. Mr. Hudson (Co-Prod. Mike Dean & Anthony Kilhoffer)
I actually REALLY like this song. I wasn’t really that impressed by it the first time I heard it, but now it’s honestly one of my favorite songs on the album. The production is amazing, and I love the hook from Mr. Hudson. The first verse from Jay was great. He’s rapping about the fall of Roc-A-Fella Records. He’s keeping it pretty broad tho, so it’s not hard to relate to. Basically, the song’s about having love for someone who probably didn’t earn it or doesn’t deserve it, and not knowing why. It’s pretty much just a JAY-Z song. Kanye has a couple lines sprinkled in the second and third verses. I think this might actually be my favorite song on the album. The message on Murder to Excellence is more powerful and important, but this song just hits home for me. Also, I fucking love the production. When the strings come in on that final verse, boy… WOOO! The term “eargasm” is corny as fuck, but it’s the best way to describe the feeling it gives me. I love this song. It’s dope af.
I actually think this album is great. I’m surprised by how much I love this. It has some of the best production I’ve ever heard. I remember this project getting a lot of mixed reviews, and I honestly don’t really know why. I don’t think I could’ve expected it to be any better than it ended up being. Yes, some of the songs did seem a little undercooked, but other than that I don’t have any consistent gripes with it. The shallow subject matter didn’t really bother me for the most part. I don’t think it’s any worse than the subject matter on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. I guess maybe some people feel like it’s a collection of singles rather than a cohesive album, but that didn’t really bother me at all. Maybe the reason I enjoyed this so much was because my expectations were so low. Or maybe the reception just wasn’t as bad as I remember it being. Whatever. I don’t fuckin’ know. All I know is I really enjoyed this project. It’s dope to me.
Favorite Song: Why I Love You
Least Favorite Song: Lift Off
Watch the videos below for more thoughts on this album