Watch the Throne

  • Record Label: Def Jam
  • Release Date: Aug 12, 2011
User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 412 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 31 out of 412
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  1. Aug 23, 2011
    7
    Not fantastic like Ye's last album, but still a solid piece of work. Maybe the hype was so big, and the actual product just didn't live up to it this time. It's still going to be one of the best of the year in hip hop this year, but it's been a down year I think.
  2. Aug 12, 2011
    9
    Don't expect this to be a runaway classic like The Blueprint or My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. But you can however expect a damn good album. Clearly the Roc's best have really worked hard on the album from the production to the lyrics. "No Church in the Wild" was brilliant with an ominous Frank Ocean beat. "New Day" is an excellent RZA-constructed beat that sees the two emcees talk toDon't expect this to be a runaway classic like The Blueprint or My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. But you can however expect a damn good album. Clearly the Roc's best have really worked hard on the album from the production to the lyrics. "No Church in the Wild" was brilliant with an ominous Frank Ocean beat. "New Day" is an excellent RZA-constructed beat that sees the two emcees talk to their unborn children. And "Murder to Excellence" is a fine example of ambition to tie in two completely different beats together. Yet if there is a singular flaw that really holds the album from being a classic, it is that there is a clearly one-sided affair on who is the better lyricist. Kanye does come hard in places and then again goes more lax but Jay seems to always be twenty steps ahead of him. But at least if Jay owns the lyrical atmosphere than Ye obviously shines on the producer's chair. Overall, Watch the Throne lives well to its hype and then some. It's a mess yet an irresistibly beautiful one. 8.5/10 Expand
  3. Aug 12, 2011
    9
    Watch The Throne is just as, if not more experimental than Kanye's "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy," but in the end doesn't sound as polished or fleshed out musically. This is a very good album, but it's not going to be something that everyone can enjoy. I did enjoy it, and I feel it has some very clear amazing stand-out tracks, such as Murder to Excellence. The epic, castle-music feelWatch The Throne is just as, if not more experimental than Kanye's "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy," but in the end doesn't sound as polished or fleshed out musically. This is a very good album, but it's not going to be something that everyone can enjoy. I did enjoy it, and I feel it has some very clear amazing stand-out tracks, such as Murder to Excellence. The epic, castle-music feel that they were going for is captured in their attempts more often than not while the balance of grandiose rhyming on their own status and lifestyle is also complimented by awareness of black culture and where they individually came from. If you complain about the subject matter of this album, you are not listening close enough.

    The low point of the album is Lift Off, which is too long to be an intro, but also too little on relevant vocals to be considered a real song. It just goes nowhere and feels underwhelming. If you are a fan of either Kanye West or Jay-Z then you will likely not be disappointed with this album. It feels like a very clear love/hate type of project. There isn't a cohesive feel or atmosphere that the album has other than attempting to deliver it's tracks to the listener on an epic scale, which works. It gives Watch The Throne a level of versatility that will be another double-edged sword in how it is perceived. No two people will have the same favorite songs on this album. Perhaps greater than a collaboration this monumental though, is that the album is constantly taking chances and never plays it safe. That alone is worth more than a majority of what mainstream music has to offer. I wish I could give it an 8.5 but I can't, so I rounded up to a 9. At the very least, Watch The Throne is an album all music fans should check out. It is Kanye and Jay-Z trying to push themselves, each other, and hip hop to another level. It doesn't work so smoothly all the time, but there will be something for everyone to enjoy.
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  4. Aug 30, 2011
    10
    this album is one of the best collabo albums. but not one of the greatest, i've been waiting for the album for a long time, but it didnt really live up to my expectations...however its a good album, but not on Ye's or Jigga's level. and i agree with some people who's saying that jay pulled the album down. Ye always sounds better, with better melody, rhymes n message in the songs...jaythis album is one of the best collabo albums. but not one of the greatest, i've been waiting for the album for a long time, but it didnt really live up to my expectations...however its a good album, but not on Ye's or Jigga's level. and i agree with some people who's saying that jay pulled the album down. Ye always sounds better, with better melody, rhymes n message in the songs...jay kinda pulled it down. and all-in-all a good album.

    Fav. Songs: No Church in the Wild, New Day, Why I Love You, Made in America, Illest **** Alive, Murder to Excellence
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  5. Oct 7, 2011
    6
    It's definitely a grower. Sounds decent, but only after a dozen of listens. It's better than Jay's 'Blueprint 3', buy it doesn't sound as good as Kanye's 'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy'. But that doesn't mean it's a bad album and that doesn't mean it's a good album either. Jay-z's flow is slow and that's the thing that's bothering me. I think that critics overreacted a little bit.
  6. Aug 21, 2011
    9
    Typical example of how metacritic scores may not perfectly reflect an album's quality relative to others. Because the two artists are polarizing figures - due mostly to their personalities - this tends to bring the average down. But to suggest that Watch the Throne is a worse album than Kanye's Graduation or 808's is to listen to music with your brain instead of your ears... Graduation isTypical example of how metacritic scores may not perfectly reflect an album's quality relative to others. Because the two artists are polarizing figures - due mostly to their personalities - this tends to bring the average down. But to suggest that Watch the Throne is a worse album than Kanye's Graduation or 808's is to listen to music with your brain instead of your ears... Graduation is boring and uninspired by Kanye standards and 808's, while the kind of influential album that often gains standing as years go by, only has about 4 good songs in it. This on the other hand is what you'd call a killer album. It's fun, eclectic, creative, and just a fantastic listen from start to finish. The production, in particular - the one aspect that makes the album, and yet the one that's taken for granted by most critics - manages to combine innovation and a sense of immediacy in an almost Beatles-esque way. Granted, the lyrics aren't up to par with the greatest rappers out there, but then again, neither Kanye nor Jay have ever been close to being superior lyricists and storytellers. They're pop stars, you listen to what they do for the music, perhaps for the charisma as well, but certainly not for social commentary.
    I predict that with hindsight, this album and its baroque stadium hip-hop will pop up in a lot of "best of" lists in years to come. Sociopolitical context changes all the time, but in 20 years Watch the Throne will still sound great, and will be remembered more than many albums with a higher score because as always, everyone will end up copying it.
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  7. Aug 25, 2011
    8
    One of the years best album. Jay Z and Kanye made an outstanding album. All songs on the album hS A GOOD beat and the lyrics to the songs are very good. Kanye made a another hit album in less than twelve months.
  8. Sep 8, 2011
    9
    I can remeber listening to this for the 1st time, and i was literally shaking. couldn't contain myself. Jay & Ye' came through on this one. Thoroughly enjoyed it, from beginning to end. They are the best rappers alive, always pushing the envelope, unlike some "little" rappers out there. Woulda given it a 10, but MBDTF was a 10 and i know this isn't as good, so i'm a give it a 9.
  9. Mar 28, 2012
    9
    Well made album. Jay-Z and Kanye really have outdone themselves with this one. Every song comes with snappy lyrics and catchy choruses. I wouldn't cal it a masterpiece but by far the best album of the year.
  10. Sep 6, 2011
    7
    Its okay. Could have been better and they also left out some songs that where originally planned . Disappointing. But the some songs blew me away. Good album
  11. Aug 14, 2011
    9
    Great album, just had way too much hype around it. Anything with as much hype as this album cannot live up to the expectations. It's as simple as that. If you just randomly happened to stumble upon Watch The Throne without ever hearing about it before you would think it was an amazing album, but with all the hype around it it just slightly fails to live up to expectations.
  12. Oct 27, 2011
    8
    Nice collaboration between Jay-Z and Kanye West. They need to do it again. Music production. All the tracks in this album, including the bonus tracks, go well with the album title. And of course, it when number 1. I'm a big fan of both men.
  13. Aug 31, 2011
    5
    Most of Jay's verses don't deliver, and I expected better beats, to be honest. I don't know why Jay and Kanye think anyone cares about how much 'swag' they have, but they must have a lot of it--they mention it on every track.
    Kanye's verses on Murder Excellence and New Day are small bits of redemption, it provides some real substance in his music even though more is needed.
    All in all,
    Most of Jay's verses don't deliver, and I expected better beats, to be honest. I don't know why Jay and Kanye think anyone cares about how much 'swag' they have, but they must have a lot of it--they mention it on every track.
    Kanye's verses on Murder Excellence and New Day are small bits of redemption, it provides some real substance in his music even though more is needed.
    All in all, it is a pretty negative album. Watch the Throne continues the downward trend in the quality of Kanye's work and a similar trend in lack of interesting themes in Jay's work (like we heard on American Gangster, The Black Album, et al).
    It should hold longtime fans (like myself) over; especially those who are craving more Kanye or Jay-Z. Ultimately left me pretty disappointed.
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  14. Apr 19, 2012
    8
    A ridiculous amount of hype, but nevertheless this album delivers! It's a privilege of our time to capture both these rappers at their absolute prime. The only thing missing is a political message. Hip hop is at its most powerful when delivered from the bottom up... to summarise, there's a few to many Benz references to fit as a true counterculture classic. It can't remove from the sheerA ridiculous amount of hype, but nevertheless this album delivers! It's a privilege of our time to capture both these rappers at their absolute prime. The only thing missing is a political message. Hip hop is at its most powerful when delivered from the bottom up... to summarise, there's a few to many Benz references to fit as a true counterculture classic. It can't remove from the sheer delight of listening to the reigning kings of the genre, though... Oh and it also skips the awful habit hip hop albums have of sticking 20 odd tracks of filler on the disc. Who needs that when you can have this distilled masterclass? Expand
  15. Aug 27, 2011
    4
    I'm not a fan of the "I'm so rich and powerful" lyrics that spew from even the most self proclaimed greatest rappers alive. JAy Z is a great artist and Kanye West is a great producer. But together they managed to put out a boring, fart of the mouth with lyrics that mimic any rapper out there today. In short this album is not very good.
  16. Aug 13, 2011
    9
    i would give it a 10 but "lift off" is such a TERRIBLE song. not even kanye and jays verses could save it. other than that this album is an absolute masterpiece!!!!
  17. Aug 30, 2011
    8
    It's not perfect, but it's better than good. There's just a good trade-off between Kanye's bravado and Jay's flow that's all over the album, and everything is very well produced. Just a good album--hopefully, they'll make another one, too.
  18. Aug 12, 2011
    6
    So....The long anticipated, excessively hyped WTT from rap duos(Ye and Jay) is finally out....Here is a quick review.
    Is WTT a classic ? No. A near classic ? No
    A Game Changer? No
    A Good Album ? Just a recommendation.
    Jay And Ye, Are they good duos? No, they inspire nothing out of each other.
    Are they good solo rappers ? Yes, Yes and Yes.
  19. Sep 15, 2011
    0
    one of the worst albums of the year. you have to be mentally unstable to listen to this album. the chemistry between kanye and jayz is pathetic and poor. A total disgrace to hip hop. come on, Is 'OTIS' a song ? worst song ever. and in whole worst album ever !!!
  20. Aug 12, 2011
    9
    Couldve replaced the "Lex Luger" style beats on some songs with better, "Kanye-like" beats, but overall the lyrics were great, the sound was great, and it didn't let me down at all. I plan on bumpin this album for a while.
  21. Aug 15, 2011
    0
    Had to give it a bad rating because of all the overhype this album is getting, when in reality it comes off to me as overproduced and rushed commercialization. there are flashes of greatness, teases of what we could have had from this project, but in the end it just doesn't mesh. the overall message of this album was opulence when hip hops fans were begging for something a little deeper.Had to give it a bad rating because of all the overhype this album is getting, when in reality it comes off to me as overproduced and rushed commercialization. there are flashes of greatness, teases of what we could have had from this project, but in the end it just doesn't mesh. the overall message of this album was opulence when hip hops fans were begging for something a little deeper. New Day is by far the best song on the album and its a small taste of what the album could have been. Expand
  22. Aug 15, 2011
    9
    Fantastic album. Musically, it feels like an extension of the new, less soul-music reliant, production style that Kanye West perfected on MBDTF. I'm normally not a fan of Jay-Z, but his talents are well utilized throughout the album, and I found myself enjoying some of his verses more than West's. Most of the tracks maintain a consistently high level of quality. My only gripes lie withFantastic album. Musically, it feels like an extension of the new, less soul-music reliant, production style that Kanye West perfected on MBDTF. I'm normally not a fan of Jay-Z, but his talents are well utilized throughout the album, and I found myself enjoying some of his verses more than West's. Most of the tracks maintain a consistently high level of quality. My only gripes lie with two songs, "Lift Off," and "Made in America," both of which feel forced and ruin the stylistic cohesion found throughout the rest of the album. My top song picks so far include, "N*ggas in Paris," "That's My B*tch," "Gotta Have It," and "Who Gon Stop Me." Highly Recommended. Expand
  23. Aug 23, 2011
    9
    Definitely not the album that I was expecting, and it proves to be for the better. There is plenty of experimentation going on throughout the album, and both Jay-Z and Kanye throw down some pretty impressive rhymes. The production is sick, and the record is loaded with amazing samples and singing parts. "Niggas In Paris" and "Gotta Have It" are shining proof that this album is an instantDefinitely not the album that I was expecting, and it proves to be for the better. There is plenty of experimentation going on throughout the album, and both Jay-Z and Kanye throw down some pretty impressive rhymes. The production is sick, and the record is loaded with amazing samples and singing parts. "Niggas In Paris" and "Gotta Have It" are shining proof that this album is an instant classic. Now THAT, we knew it would be. Expand
  24. Jan 3, 2012
    10
    If you ask me Watch the Throne is 100.000.000 gallons of tons better than west coast rap...Jay & Kanye are taking over in this one. This is a must-listen album.Totally original but i dont think everyone can enjoy it because this is one next generation album.
  25. Aug 12, 2011
    9
    I can't take other rap and hip-hop seriously after listening to this. It's just amateur. Kanye and Jay know what they are doing. On a 12-track album, only 1 falls short, "Lift Off" featuring Beyonce just isn't good music, it's radio music, a single. But that doesn't hurt an album that soars so far with it's other songs. If you want to hear the best of this album, look at "Murder toI can't take other rap and hip-hop seriously after listening to this. It's just amateur. Kanye and Jay know what they are doing. On a 12-track album, only 1 falls short, "Lift Off" featuring Beyonce just isn't good music, it's radio music, a single. But that doesn't hurt an album that soars so far with it's other songs. If you want to hear the best of this album, look at "Murder to Excellence", "New Day", "Gotta Have It", "Why I Love You", "Otis", "That's My B*tch", "Ni**as in Paris", "Who Gon Stop Me", "Made In America", "No Church In The Wild", and "Welcome To The Jungle." That's right, I just listed every other song, that's because this album is ridiculous. A must-buy. Expand
  26. Aug 14, 2011
    10
    Whether it's a collabo or appearances, Jay-Z and Kanye West did exactly what they said about "Watch the Throne" and they did it. It's a phenomenal album you gotta hear this. My favorite track that I got on my Ipod right now is "OTIS" which is referring to the late Otis Redding, one of the greatest blues and R&B singers since B.B. King and Ray Charles. With its hard-hitting lyrics andWhether it's a collabo or appearances, Jay-Z and Kanye West did exactly what they said about "Watch the Throne" and they did it. It's a phenomenal album you gotta hear this. My favorite track that I got on my Ipod right now is "OTIS" which is referring to the late Otis Redding, one of the greatest blues and R&B singers since B.B. King and Ray Charles. With its hard-hitting lyrics and rhythm-based tunes, this is the best Jay-Z album since The Blueprint and Reasonable Doubt. Go pick this up, I'm serious. Expand
  27. Aug 12, 2011
    9
    This album was extremely hyped and I was sure that it was going to be a let down, but I was wrong.
    The album starts off on a very solid foot, thanks to a solid hook by Frank Ocean and a couple of nice verses from Ye and Jay on "No Church in the Wild". That track is followed up by the worst song on the album, "Lift Off" featuring Beyonce. There are a couple of bad and uninspired verses and
    This album was extremely hyped and I was sure that it was going to be a let down, but I was wrong.
    The album starts off on a very solid foot, thanks to a solid hook by Frank Ocean and a couple of nice verses from Ye and Jay on "No Church in the Wild". That track is followed up by the worst song on the album, "Lift Off" featuring Beyonce. There are a couple of bad and uninspired verses and a big booming beat with Beyonce doing her thing on the chorus, however the song is a real snoozer.
    Once you get past Lift Off the album really takes off. Track 3, "N!gg@s in Paris" goes hard in the paint. Track 5, "Gotta Have It", is a really inspired Neptunes beat. The best beat I've heard from them in a while. Track 6, "New Day", is produced by RZA and is a very deep moment for the album, because Jay and Ye are both rapping to their newborn sons. It's a good switch up.
    Tracks 8 and 9, "Who Gon Stop Me" and "Murder to Excellence", respectively, are two of the album highlights for me. "Who Gon Stop Me" is just a straight bragging track over a great beat, that switches up midway through the song.
    "Murder to Excellence" is another song that has its beat switch up midway through. However, this is because there are two different themes in this song. The first half is about black on black murder and the second half is about black excellence. It is a very deep song with a great beat.
    The track that follows this up is "Made in America". Another song that features Frank Ocean and not a particular favorite of mine, due to the soft beat and cheesy chorus, however Ye and Jay both have decent verses on this song.
    The album ends on a real high note with "Why I Love You", featuring both a sample and Mr. Hudson singing that sample on the chorus. This is a Jay-Z dominated track, and he is rapping about people that he has stuck up for in the past but didn't fulfill their end of the bargain. Namely Dame Dash and Beanie Sigel, rapping "I tried to teach ni**as how to be kings / And all they ever wanted to be was soldiers". it is a very good song to end the album on. Bonus Tracks:
    This album comes with 4 bonus tracks on the deluxe version and 3 of them are very good. The first, "Illest MoFo Alive", is another just straight braggadocios over a banging beat.
    The second, "Primetime", has a great beat from No I.D. and starts out with this great line from Jay-Z "Primetime, beat by Dion". Obviously when you think of Primetime, you think of Deion Sanders but he is also giving a shout-out to No I.D. right there. Dion turned around.
    The third, "The Joy" features a sample from Curtis Mayfield and has a great verse from Kanye on it. I didn't mention HAM or Otis, because I'm guessing you have all heard those and have your own opinions on them. I love Otis, and am kinda meh on HAM.

    Overall, this is a great album but it is kind of a grower. This is one of those albums that you can pick up something different and interesting on every listen. It takes 3 or 4 listens before you can truly appreciate it and I highly recommend it.
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  28. Aug 12, 2011
    10
    On of the most hyped hip-hop albums of the decade has finally arrived. Does it deliver? Yes, yes it does. Great tracks like "Murder to Excellence", "Who Gon Stop Me", "Welcome to the Jungle" and "Niggas in Paris" are surely to become fan favourite. However, there are hidden gems, like "Made in America" feat. Frank Ocean, "Why I Love You" feat. Mr. Hudson and, by far the deepest song on theOn of the most hyped hip-hop albums of the decade has finally arrived. Does it deliver? Yes, yes it does. Great tracks like "Murder to Excellence", "Who Gon Stop Me", "Welcome to the Jungle" and "Niggas in Paris" are surely to become fan favourite. However, there are hidden gems, like "Made in America" feat. Frank Ocean, "Why I Love You" feat. Mr. Hudson and, by far the deepest song on the album, "New Day", in which Kanye and Jay address their sons, asking them for forgiveness for putting the weight of the celebrity world on their shoulders. The production is another level, just like My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, simply amazing. Kanye is the greatest producer of this decade, and in my humble opinion, of all time. His ego is only out done by the amazing level of commitment he puts in his production. The small detail that you catch from time to time never cease to amaze. Jay puts one of his finest verses in this album, and shows his amazing lyrical talent. All in all, an amazing album, done by two of hip-hops biggest diamonds right now. Expand
  29. Aug 13, 2011
    9
    First and foremost, this album delivers. Oh boy, does it deliver. I have spent some time reading all the reviews from the critics and I have noticed something. Something only a great album could do. I have noticed that all the critics have their different picks for the best song on the album, generally praising all of the songs, well, maybe except "Lift Off", which is really weak. EveryFirst and foremost, this album delivers. Oh boy, does it deliver. I have spent some time reading all the reviews from the critics and I have noticed something. Something only a great album could do. I have noticed that all the critics have their different picks for the best song on the album, generally praising all of the songs, well, maybe except "Lift Off", which is really weak. Every critic has a different favourite, while reading reviews for other albums you would find that the critics generally agree on one song being the standout. This is not the case with WTT.. I have seen critics praising "No Church in the Wild", praising "New Day", etc. What I will do, I will praise all of them. From "Otis" which is built on a great, albeit simple, sample of "Try a Little Tenderness", to "Made in America" in which Ye and Jay address their past lives before becoming the leading forces of, I would argue not only hip-hop, but also the music scene as a whole. Kanye's production is beautiful, you will always notice a new, small detail in every song that you haven't noticed before. Jay's lyrics are strong and he steps up as the leading force lyric-wise on this album. Believe when I say that I had high expectations from this album, and am I thrilled to say that it delivers. Great album! Expand
  30. Aug 13, 2011
    10
    This isnt a bad album, its good but instead of sounding like a collaboration it feels more like two prominent hip hop artists too worried about telling each other that what each of them was doing wasnt exactly clicking.
Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 42 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 42
  2. Negative: 0 out of 42
  1. Magnet
    Nov 11, 2011
    80
    They turn out to be pretty good influences on one another. Jay sounds generally reinvigorated: good-humored, full of nimble, intricate wit and atypically emotionally revealing, and if Kanye's rhymes occasionally remain as clumsy and crass as his personal life choices, he drops far fewer boners than usual. [#81, p. 56]
  2. Q Magazine
    Sep 21, 2011
    80
    Hip hop heavy weights stop squabbling for long enough to justify their star billing. [Oct 2011, p.116]
  3. Sep 12, 2011
    67
    That Jay and 'Ye have the courtesy to stop rapping about their money and start attacking real issues--black-on-black crime in "Murder to Excellence," raising children on "New Day"--is icing on a very expensive cake.