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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.

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