By George Kielty, tb-two* music critic
Trying to put what I think about this album into words is nearly impossible. The public has been waiting for this masterpiece to drop for what seems like an eternity.
I'm proud to say the wait has been more than worth it.
First though, I'd like to address the songs on Kanye and Jay-Z's collaborative Watch the Throne that may be harder to swallow. Example: Lift Off feat. Beyonce. Maybe in hindsight, Jay, letting your honey feature on this album wasn't the brightest idea. Where in every other track the word flow is smooth, unyielding and thick, this song is choppy at best. For Good Friday's sake, Kanye actually sounds like he's free-styling, like he's coming up with words in the studio as he's recording. Overall, it's more like a Beyonce song featuring Jay and 'Ye. Yikes.
Disregarding that slight lapse in judgment, the rest of the tracks are solid gold gorgeous. Especially Ni**** in Paris. If you took Wiz Khalifa, made him into a rapper and then injected him with pure essence of Wu-Tang, this song would result. With the heaviest modern beat and most ridiculous soundbytes (like Will Ferrell and Jon Heder in Blades of Glory), this track is a testament to how much fun true artists can have with their work.
Another notable victory is Gotta Have It. With how smooth the flow is on this track, it's as if there aren't two great rappers featured, but one with two different styles that complement each other excessively. This was also the first song on which I heard Kanye really pull his weight.
Think of it this way: If Jay-Z were a rhino, Kanye would be the small symbiotic bird picking bugs out of his ears. Jay-Z takes this work so seriously, and Tick-Bird West comes off as childish and immature. He still can't get over the South Park gag, as he mentions it without fail in every album since the joke was first made. I reiterate: Jay-Z? Rhino. Kanye West? Helpful, yet not very important.
This is a seriously good album, both by rap standards and by the standards of any diverse music lover. For anyone who thinks rap is an unintelligent music form, listen to No Church In the Wild ft. Frank Ocean and then promptly shut your mouth. Also listen for the beautiful voices of Frank Ocean and Mr. Hudson, who tinsel this tree with just the right amount of diversity. Enjoy, folks.
In stores: Now
Grade: 5 out of 5 *****