Watch the Throne

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

Generally favorable reviews- based on 484 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 33 out of 484
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  1. Jun 29, 2012
    5
    I was literally happy when the album ended. Very 'meh'. Absoulute highlights are ''No Church In The Wild'', ''Why I Love You'' and ''HAM''. Kanye is lyrically capable as a child on 70% of songs. Jay did this album much better. Nice beats, but they are way better as solo artists. Soulful hooks are done nicely on maybe a couple of songs, while the most is just stupid, and ear-raping. TheI was literally happy when the album ended. Very 'meh'. Absoulute highlights are ''No Church In The Wild'', ''Why I Love You'' and ''HAM''. Kanye is lyrically capable as a child on 70% of songs. Jay did this album much better. Nice beats, but they are way better as solo artists. Soulful hooks are done nicely on maybe a couple of songs, while the most is just stupid, and ear-raping. The album itself has a couple of good verses, couple of great verses, and the rest is nothing. I guess I'll have to wait for their solo releases for something that I'll like more. Expand
  2. 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.
  3. Aug 15, 2011
    5
    I wanted to like this album, I really did. I am the type of person that hears an album more than once before I give it my judgement. To me this album sounds like a mixtape a shoddy one at best. It feels like they are saying what they want and how they want to say it because at this point in their career they very well can, and the sad part is that it will sell regardless. Jay Z and KanyeI wanted to like this album, I really did. I am the type of person that hears an album more than once before I give it my judgement. To me this album sounds like a mixtape a shoddy one at best. It feels like they are saying what they want and how they want to say it because at this point in their career they very well can, and the sad part is that it will sell regardless. Jay Z and Kanye West at this point are brand names. Here is my problem with this project of there's. For one it feels like they really did not put too much effort into their lyrics even though on one song they have about 6 writers. Jay Z became famous in a time where a rapper was a rapper and a producer was a producer. To this day he has not had to evolve like many younger artist who now do both or some even sing. This makes me question his input and his overall care for the album. Essentially, he sat down on each track and wrote one verse (along with the 6 other people in the studio with him). Kanye on the other hand comes off as someone who is trying to hard. He had his hands in this project and nearly every aspect of it which makes him in a sense the front man. Where he falls flat through is in his lyrics. You can hear it in his tone and in his lyrics that he is essentially competing with Jay Z. The sad part is when you realize that even when Jay Z is not trying Kanye could still not top him. To address the idea of competition, Nearly every song on the album has them going one verse each and both being separated by long choruses and temporary gaps of instrumental. This is heard right of the back in the intro track "No Church In The Wild". The beauty of the album is in the instrumentals themselves and the hooks (sounds like i'm talking about pop music right?). The score would be so much lower if it were not for the wonderful work that is put into the beats by everyone including Kanye. The choruses with some more stellar than others are also something to hear especially over the beats that are essentially experimental, but work in a very fluent way. This was there moment to show everyone why you should really Watch The Throne, but either due to arrogance, ego, or just laziness, the album falls short of great and to be honest when an album like this comes out where two rappers meet one needs to make the comparison to past similar projects.

    Bad Meets Evil, Black star, Blackout, and so forth.

    When you really hear those albums and then compare it to this one, it really ranks quite low.
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  4. 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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  5. 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.
  6. Aug 30, 2011
    6
    Although far from being the strongest contender of best hip hop albumm this year, Watch The Throne has its gems, its golden moment where we as the peasant are allowed to hear the sensitive side of modern rhyming king. Too bad that these moments are often ruined by the throne itself who tries too hard to be a bad king by showing off their power too much.
  7. Aug 31, 2011
    6
    This album is not experimental or as grand as Kanye's "My Beuitful Dark Twisted Fantasy." It sounds like two bored, rich guys sitting in a studio congratulating themselves on a lot of money made and thinking about the promise of more to come. Its not clear if even Kanye takes himself seriously anymore and moments when that becomes clear like on "Niggas in Paris" are the best part of theThis album is not experimental or as grand as Kanye's "My Beuitful Dark Twisted Fantasy." It sounds like two bored, rich guys sitting in a studio congratulating themselves on a lot of money made and thinking about the promise of more to come. Its not clear if even Kanye takes himself seriously anymore and moments when that becomes clear like on "Niggas in Paris" are the best part of the album. Yes, Jay-z still used to be a dealer and now makes loads of cash and gets fined for talking to college basketball stars and owns the Nets. All of this is fine stuff, except it is put over lazy beats, short demo-like versions of songs with little inspiration. This is a patch work. Its not clear on most songs if Jay-Z and Kanye know what the other guy just got done rapping about. "That's My **** is an exercise in absurdity. Things really take a turn for the pathetic when both men go from bragging about "****es," and "straps" to singing about the "holocaust" of black on black violence and then have an entire song about Martin Luther King Jr. These two are board rich dudes drunk on power. When they deliver that vibe on "Niggas in Paris" and "HAM" you get fun and absurd with decent beats. When they try anything beyond that it gets embarrassing. Jay-z is a CEO and guess what? It isn't any fun to listen to a CEO rap. Kanye is still a musical force but his obsession with getting laid has turned him into a walking stereotype. Neither of these men should be taken seriously for what they have to say. Jay-z can be taken seriously in business and Kanye as a produce/musician. Expand
  8. 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.
  9. Dec 12, 2011
    6
    Perhaps I was expecting too much, but the majority of Watch the Throne comes across as a lot less than the sum of its parts. Jay-Z has some of his least impressive rap moments, and is surprisingly upstaged by Kanye a little too much. Of course, there are moments on this album that are highlights in recent music for me, including the beginning and the end of the album ("No Church in thePerhaps I was expecting too much, but the majority of Watch the Throne comes across as a lot less than the sum of its parts. Jay-Z has some of his least impressive rap moments, and is surprisingly upstaged by Kanye a little too much. Of course, there are moments on this album that are highlights in recent music for me, including the beginning and the end of the album ("No Church in the Wild" and "Made it in America"), and probably one of the best songs of the year, "Otis". I just wish more of the album could be like "Otis". If this were released as an EP with the 5 best songs on it, I'd have given it a 10. Expand
  10. Feb 20, 2012
    6
    It nearly strikes where it should but this collaboration album does not take off far enough from ground covered by both artists to be considered anything more than an experiment. Sure there are standout tracks a plenty, but there is also a large amount of filler that renders this as more of a great B-Side compilation than anything else...
  11. Feb 16, 2013
    6
    When Kanye West Jay-Z dropped Watch The Throne, everybody went over it. Everybody wanted to either jump for joy, or shake their head in dissapointment. As for me, I liked it, for the most part. The good far outweigh the bad but it's nothing I'd say is amazing. As far as lyrical battle, who needs a lyrical battle? We're too rich for that Instead, it's pretty much a celebration of theWhen Kanye West Jay-Z dropped Watch The Throne, everybody went over it. Everybody wanted to either jump for joy, or shake their head in dissapointment. As for me, I liked it, for the most part. The good far outweigh the bad but it's nothing I'd say is amazing. As far as lyrical battle, who needs a lyrical battle? We're too rich for that Instead, it's pretty much a celebration of the neverending success of Kanye Jay. If you like that, then this is for you. If you don't, well...you know. There is nothing wrong with Kanye West Jay-Z rapping about their success as long as it's done well. In Paris Gotta Have It are perfect examples of that. No Church In The Wild is a banger. And occasionailly you'll get something substantial from them like on the song New Day where they talk about their future childs and how they don't want them to be part of the lifestyle they live(d) in. On the song Murder To Excellence, they go from talking about black on black violence to black excellence. The production on that song is so epic, it could fit in a movie trailer. Why I Love You is an even more epic tale of paranoia and betrayal. The song The Joy (while it's old) is a song where Kanye gives his best verses on the album Jay gives an ode to his mom over a classic Pete Rock beat. Songs like these keep me interested, but then songs like Lift Off and Who Gon Stop Me make me uninvested. Made In America is so boring and lifeless, not even a Frank Ocean chorus could save it. But still, overall this was a good but not great project. Expand
  12. Mar 4, 2017
    6
    Probably Kanye's weakest album. Handful of great tracks, but disappointing as a whole product. Production value is pretty good but lyrically it's underwhelming.
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.