Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Jay-Z & Kanye, "The Throne" Hosts, "Watch The Throne" Listening Party at New York's Hayden Planetarium

Last night New York's, Planetarium got even more star studded as The Throne hosted the official listening session for their hotly anticipated album, Watch The Throne. Those in attendance were treated to a light show which, played during the listening session.  They were then blessed with what will be one of the biggest album's of the year.  Spin calls the album Epic and Reflective.

The place was packed with Industry insiders, fans and the press.  Of course Mrs. Carter was in the house, along with Kelly and Solange and other family members. Q-Tip, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Idris Elba, Busta Rhymes and more.

Here's what some of the critics had to say about the masterpiece:

Spin:  Yet, there's a wizened pleasure/pain dialectic going on with Watch the Throne too. A particularly poignant verse by Jay-Z revolves around the nostalgic image of a grandma baking apple pies in the kitchen stove -- the very same stove that is later used by a younger generation to cook up crack rocks. There are numerous, disgusted, wistful references to black-on-black crime, and Jay-Z has an empathetic verse on "Welcome To The Jungle," written in the voice of a lost and confused corner drug dealer.

MTV:  The listening session opened in grand fashion with the regal-sounding "No Church in the Wild." On it, Jay raps about tears that drop on a mausoleum floor and blood-stained coliseum doors, over a beat fit for two hip-hop kings. And the starlit setting couldn't have been more fitting for the Beyoncé -assisted "Lift Off." As the bouncy beat ushered its way in, celestial images danced across the planetarium's overhead screen. On the song, B belts out the song's hook, singing, "We gonna take you to the moon, take it to the stars, how many people you know can take it this far?" (Judging from the roll-out for Watch the Throne, the answer to B's rhetorical question is: no one.)

Global GrindTrack after track came in a different sound, a good sound, topped with witty ill-ass lyrics. Jay and 'Ye boasted lyrics that left a lot of the rap game's bad habit of glorifying materialism behind and connected to the souls of each listener. Read more: http://globalgrind.com/music/watch-the-throne-listening-session-kanye-west-jay-z-album-photos#ixzz1TvkSMcbD

Billboard:  Beyoncé's vocal prowess kicks off the second track, "Lift Off," singing, "We gonna take it to the moon/ Take it to the stars." "N*ggas in Paris," produced by Hit-Boy and 'Ye is filled with luxury rhymes and samples a snippet of Will Ferrell's line off the film, "Blades of Glory": "No one knows what it means but it's provocative."

Swizz Beatz produced two of the most talked-about tracks on the album, "Welcome to the Jungle" and "Murder to Excellence." Ye' and Hov touch on black-on-black crime and transition to celebration on "Murder of Excellence." Frank Ocean shines with a soulful chorus on "Made in America" and includes a classic line from 'Ye, saying "I get high on my own supply" when speaking of his beats.

"Watch the Throne" closes with one of the most powerful cuts on the album, "Why I Love You," featuring Mr. Hudson, on which Jay-Z and Kanye West address "loyalty" to "lawyer fees."  "I'm sorry I just can't die for you," Jay-Z spits.

Rap-Up:  With no guest rappers or skits and minimal orchestral flourishes, Watch the Throne scrapped the original idea of elaborate productions, favoring stripped-down tracks highlighting the two MC’s vocal and lyrical strengths. While the album avoids neat sonic pigeonholing thanks to a wide range of outside producers assisting West and Jay-Z, overall, Throne contains some of the hardest material either rapper has recorded. Jay-Z rhymes in double time on multiple tracks, while Kanye goes light on the punchlines favored in the past for more introspective and autobiographical lyrics.

Bonus: We’d be remiss not to mention the brief but impactful interludes inserted throughout Watch the Throne. Reminiscent of classic ’90s hip-hop albums like Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth’s Mecca and the Soul Brother, the interludes could have functioned as proper album beats, with one snippet sounding like a hip-hop version of Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android.” Given the album’s sonic diversity, they function as effective buffers between the most divergent tracks.

The album hits iTunes August 8 and physical copies hit stores August 12 (deluxe editions at Best Buy).

Get More: MTV Shows

--Princess Carter

Credit: Spin, MTV, Global Grind & Bllboard, Rap-Up
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