Kanye West, Jay-Z, the Throne - Watch the Throne (Def Jam) 

Hotly anticipated collaboration sidesteps grandiosity and showboating

click to enlarge DEF JAM
  • Def Jam

This hotly anticipated collaboration mostly sidesteps both the grandiosity of Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and Jay-Z's showboating and slick 2009 disappointment The Blueprint 3. Advance single "Otis" has a Treacherous Three starkness, irreverent verses cascading over an audacious "Try a Little Tenderness" sample. "Niggas in Paris" and the skittering "That's My Bitch" are equally rough-hewn pleasures. They're even funny again; on the reflective "New Day," West slyly predicts his future son's upbringing: "I might even let him be Republican/So everybody knows he loves white people."

When Throne attempts anthemic highs, it flounders. "Lift Off" is designed as club climax but even its Beyoncé hook is lifeless, and by the Frank Ocean-drenched "Made in America," both artists, particularly West, are consumed by their own mythologies. Did either of them think the tasteless "This is somethin' like the Holocaust/Millions of our people lost" hook on "Who Gon' Stop Me" was a good idea? What could've been a classic without the histrionics is instead a half-great record. When on point, though, Throne dances on the volcano of its unapologetic hugeness — as Jay puts it, "I'm out here celebrating my post-demise." Carry on, then. —Nathan Phillips


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

More by Nathan Phillips

Read the Digital Print Issue

April 7, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2021 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation