Rap’s roy­alty joins forces

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Music - JAR­RAD BE­VAN

AN el­e­ment of sur­prise is the most ob­vi­ous way that this al­bum could have been bet­ter.

Hip-hop heavy­weights, Jay-Z and Kanye West, could have side-stepped the hype that has been stirred up since they an­nounced the project, by sim­ply work­ing on it in se­cret.

Imag­ine the shock in the hip-hop and pop com­mu­ni­ties had this al­bum ap­peared out of the blue!

That said, it’s a record that de­liv­ers on its prom­ise, a killer col­lab­o­ra­tion by two rap stars who are so suc­cess­ful they have few peers aside from each other.

This al­bum is a no-brainer. It’s the in­evitable con­sum­ma­tion of ca­reers that have been tan­gled for many years.

Star-stud­ded guests such as Bey­once, who pro­vides the hook on Lift Off, and Odd Fu­ture’s Frank Ocean, with mul­ti­ple ap­pear­ances, put the cherry on the cake.

Songs pro­duced by RZA from WuTang, Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest, Swizz Beats and the Nep­tunes give West plenty to tweak into his cur­rent sink-and-all style.

He is un­afraid of tak­ing things too far but also he shoots for the stars.

In the sound and style of the mu­sic, it’s eas­ily ar­guable that Throne is a West al­bum with Jay-Z pro­vid­ing cameo vo­cal spots on ev­ery song. Son­i­cally, it is very much a sis­ter al­bum to West’s My Beau­ti­ful Dark Twisted Fan­tasy. How­ever, the sur­prise is Jay-Z in­flu­ence on West’s mu­sic.

Most of those over-the-top, an­noy­ing gim­micks that lit­tered MBDTF have been ban­ished here. Jay-Z is the calm ed­i­tor West of­ten needs.

No Church in the Wild opens the al­bum with strut­ting beats and bass, Ocean’s low key croon and fierce lyri­cal im­agery from both MCs.

Song num­ber three is a crack­ing tune with an un­print­able ti­tle. In­spired by a nasty beat and wickedly sim­ple melody, both rap­pers go hard. The song’s icy synths and white noise per­cus­sion over dub­step rhythms is for­ward think­ing and trendy at once.

Gotta Have It is an early high­light with the guys trad­ing lines and fin­ish­ing each other’s thoughts.

There’s a low slung beat and some sneaky James Brown sam­ples to round off this hit-in-waiting.

Why I Love You needs to be a sin­gle. Pe­riod. That bass, that hook, the drama, the op­u­lence quite sim­ply, it’s on fire.

New Day’s cho­rus takes in­spi­ra­tion from Nina Si­mone but RZA and West re­work the sam­ple into a rare, re­flec­tive, in­tro­spec­tive rap tune about West and Z’s un­born sons.

It’s worth buy­ing the deluxe ver­sion of the al­bum with its four ex­tra songs. One is HAM, the act’s first sin­gle. An­other, song 13, also sport­ing a ti­tle not fit for print, is one of the al­bum’s best songs.

Mis­fires are few and far be­tween but in­clude Otis and its dis­re­spect­ful chopped up vo­cals stolen from Try a Lit­tle Ten­der­ness and Made in America which is just plain dull.

In­ter­est­ingly, Throne seems to get bet­ter with each new spin on the stereo from OK to good to of­ten great within just a few days.

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