Today’s the day that Jay-Z and Kanye West’s collaborative album, Watch The Throne, finally hits stores and streams (after the jump), and I can already say with great confidence that it’s Jay-Z’s best album-length collaboration to date. Though it’s uneven at times (see: “Made in America”) there are many stellar moments and plenty of phenomenal beats.
The opening six-song suite—”No Church in the Wild,” “Lift Off,” “Niggas in Paris,” “Otis,” “Gotta Have It” and “New Day”—would make one of the best rap EPs ever, but the weird new mix of “That’s My Bitch” that follows squanders some of that momentum, as does the next track, Swizz Beatz’s “Welcome to the Jungle.”
Things finish pretty strong with hypnotic samples on two tracks that shape-shift halfway through: “Who Gon Stop Me” and “Murder to Excellence.” After the lackluster penultimate track “Made in America,” Mr. Hudson closes out another Jay-Z album, singing the gloomy hook on “Why I Love You.” The more I listen though, the more it seems like Jay is doing most of the rapping, which I guess makes sense since Kanye is at least a co-producer on nearly every song. That said, the few places where they go back and forth trading bars (like near the end of “Why I Love You”) are among the album’s best moments. Listen to them all, right here: