The Throne - "Primetime"
(Watch The Throne; 2011)
'Watch The Throne' is a failure of epic proportions, hybridizing the most annoying qualities of Jay-Z's last two full-length solo efforts. The perfect storm of unimaginative concepts and dismal production. Instances where the Caten Brothers climb down from their royal recliners to offer substance come off as a forced effort to pacify critics. Much of the record is comprised of mindless rich nigga rhetoric, which would be perfectly acceptable if the music wasn't devoid of grandiose delusions, farcical humor, and just straight up great rapping.
Spike Jonze's decision to place Aziz Ansari in the 'Otis' video is emblematic of the album's shortcomings. Sure, the casting choice initially struck me as thoroughly stuntastic, until I remembered he's literally the shittiest stand-up comic of all-time (I'd have preferred to see Bill Burr chauffeuring the Rav4). Similarly, my anticipation for 'Watch The Throne' was through the asbestos until I remembered Kanye has never had particularly great vocal chemistry with Big Brother, and this current incarnation of Big Brother is barely even a serviceable rapper. I walked away from this cosmic clusterfuck with the impression Kanye should go away for a while and return when he has something to say, and perhaps Shawn should hang it up entirely.
Oddly enough the project's most impressive song isn't even on the album, but rather packaged as a bonus track. 'Primetime' is exactly what I wanted to hear out of a collaboration between two of the most successful artists in the history of the genre. Uncompromising scrunch face rap sure to have your face wrinkled like a Chinese Shar-Pei. Had there been a dozen more songs of this caliber anchored by a handful of obligatory radio jingles, I might have actually considered glancing at the throne.