Skip to main content

Are We Gazing At The Throne?

When I was younger, like all younger-to-older generations, there was always a feeling that my elders never quite understood the music of my generation. This was especially the case for Hip-Hop. I always enjoyed the the attitude, the passion, the beats, the hooks, and of course, being the constant blogger and lover of words, expression and opinion, the lyrics. Especially, the lyrics. Because of those characteristics, I grew to enjoy Jay-Z's music over the years. It's the same reason I liked College Dropout, Kanye West's first album, which was full of passion and hunger to prove he was just as much of a rapper as he was a producer.

However, as the hip-hop industry evolves, it seems the style of hip-hop that I grew up with is fading away. I feel as if I am now turning into the elder generation that I never quite understood. Because honestly, I don't quite understand the music of today.
However, with the release of Watch The Throne this past week featuring a collaborative effort from Jay-Z and Kanye West, I thought maybe this album was a platform I can hang my "fading preferences" hot on.

Unfortunately, unlike the majority opinion, Watch The Throne was...okay.

What?

Yes, let me confirm, Watch The Throne was okay. 

I personally believe that Watch The Throne should be renamed "Gazing At The Throne", as the sheer name value of Jay-Z and Kanye has skewed it's true review by many. It seems the general consensus is looking at WTT with same hazy glasses that caused Rolling Stones magazine to call Kanye's last Album, My beautiful Dark Twisted Fatasy, one of the best of all time. Really?

Now, I'm not going to get up on a soap box and preach and rant on "what music should be". After all, music is subjective, and that is the way it should, and always will be.

Nonetheless, in my opinion, after hearing it for the first time, it felt uninspired. Maybe it will grow on me as I listen to it more and more. However, upon initial experience, it lacked the factor that other great albums have.

"Made In America" is a track which had that storytelling, content and substance that I love in hip hop. The same characteristics that Jay-Z albums usually have. Made In America is the kind of track I wish was more prevelant on the album. And "Murder Excellence", which although has a controversial tribute to Danroy Henry, does have a focused direction that can be respected.

And of course, there are moments throughout the album where both Kanye and Jay let us in on personal matters, such as Jay speaking to his unborn child:

"Sorry junior, I already ruined ya / 'Cause you ain't even alive, paparazzi pursuin' ya"

And yes, even Kanye opened up with his constant battle with fame and fortune.

However, that is where the "amazing" on this album ends. The majority of WTT is filled with constant references to the wealth and lifestyles that both men lead, as well as more meaningless fodder, swearing, and obscene comments meant for the shock value that today's culture seems to love.

And while the production end was phenomenal, as we expected, many of the songs evoke no emotion and no thrill. It felt like nothing other than a great beat, and a few lines from Jay-Z and Kanye.

It's JayZ. It's Kanye West. The beats sound good. A couple of metaphors. And of course, you need to have the explicit lyrics to make it sound "hard".

And oh yes, it's Jay-Z and Kanye West!

Unfortunately, this is where I believe most people end up "Gazing at the Throne".

I personally was left unimpressed and unmoved. Maybe I will go as far as saying I was disappointed.

I just hope that with the brand and credibility both have amounted, that this isn't what we have to look forward to.

A C+ effort stamped and endorsed by an A+ name.

Recently Read Posts

Thoughts on the 2023 Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot

I honestly had zero interest in this year's Hall of Fame Ballot.  I know, I know...how dare I?  For me, the 2023 ballot wasn't as sexy or overly interesting. I really thought this would be another year in which no one got in. From the names on the ballot, the controversial ones like Alex Rodriguez and Gary Sheffield that we knew the outcomes for, and the lost hope for guys like Jeff Kent, I found myself feeling like the theme which now clouds Scott Rolen's 2023 selection - just a lot of VERY good guys.  There isn't anything wrong or disrespectful about that. A lot of the names are now those that resonate with me as I get older and can honestly decide on without extrapolating numbers from baseball references. Call it old school, or somewhat ignorant, but like many, I'm at the point of my life where my first evaluation is instant - did he feel like a Hall of Famer?  If the answer is yes, then it's settled. If the answer is no, I'll do my due diligence in look

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 1/29/22

3 Up 1. Five Memphis Officers Charged - It's a bittersweet "Up", but one of necessity. The five officers who brutally beat Tyre Nichols to death in what has been determined as a traffic stop filled with procedural violations and a hellacious video of their beating to go with it being charged is a step in the necessary direction.  2. City of Memphis - Kudos to the City of Memphis and their office for understanding the duty and responsibility of releasing the videos of the murder of Tyre Nichols. We've seen in various cases where these kinds of evidence are withheld - that office deserves credit.  3. Royal Rumble Event - On a much lighter note in the "Up" section - and in the world - is the Royal Rumble event this weekend. So much fun. Check out my thoughts and reviews here .  3 Down 1. Tyre Nichols Video - Just utter disbelief, and worthy of a shake my head. We need answers, justice, and of course, change. Some of my immediate thoughts on the video release t

Royal Rumble 2023 Review: "Absolute Drama. Wrestling at its Best"

Absolute drama. Wrestling at its best.  That's all I can say as the 2023 Royal Rumble premium live event went off the air. This is not some rare take or outlier perspective I'm going to offer. The wrestling was good. But damn, everything that is the Sami Zayn and The Bloodline storyline is why pro wrestling is the best form of entertainment there is. Yes, they've twisted and turned along the way, even in some areas where you thought this was going to be predictable, but the entire thing has been layered magnificently where it's honestly conceivable to understand anyone's perspective in the entire thing.  I've long thought Sami vs. Roman wouldn't headline Wrestlemania with the E opting instead to go with The Usos vs. Zayn and Owens, but I honestly at the posting of this, cannot state that's the best direction.  Although, while it may not be on the front burner (and it'll probably eventually get there), having Cody Rhodes vs. Roman Reigns where both of

Hard to Kill 2023 Review: "A Great Way to Kick Off 2023"

Impact Wrestling continues to be the most solid pro wrestling product - at least for this fan. Yes, there are some other exciting things going on in different companies, but for me, Impact does the most with the least, and that's a good thing.  As noted in some previous posts on Impact Wrestling, I was all about bringing in Bully Ray. I get the hesitancy because,  here we go with old stars taking up television time , but everything about the Bully and Josh Alexander storyline has been done well. It's been personal. It's a different look for Alexander. And it's a nice blend of history for the company with Bully returning, a nice mix of a veteran and your current top guy, and overall, something very different we've yet to see from Alexander as champion.  This is the case up and down the roster and the product for Impact. Add to this theory Mickie James vs. Jordynne Grace. And the tag team scene. And everything else. The company continues to rehabilitate older stars, l