The Paw Print
Kanye West and Jay-Z collaborate to create brillianceFriday, May 04, 2012 By Patricia Nabor
Recently, two of the gifted rappers of the new millennium collaborated to create one of the best albums of late 2011: Watch the Throne . Kanye West and Jay-Z worked together as brains, producers, songwriters, and vocals for brilliance. They created more than 16 songs that delve into more than just hip-hop and rap. The album focuses on materialism, the rise to fame, power, and the burden of success. Jay-Z, born Shawn Corey Carter and also self-claimed Hov, or messiah of rap, is consistently ranked as one of the best rappers of all time. As a rapper, record producer, entrepreneur, and actor, he is one of the most financially successful hip-hop artists and entrepreneurs in America. Fredro Starr of Onyx describes Jay-Z as “a master of the flow-he can flow fast, he can flow slow.” As an American rapper of the hardcore hip-hop group Onyx from Jamaica, Starr has great admirations for Jay-Z’s artistic ability. Kanye Omari West, similarly, is a rapper, singer, and record producer. He rose to fame as a producer while producing tracks for Alicia Keys, Ludacris, and Janet Jackson. He has received numerous awards and critical acclaim for all his albums. On Billboard, West is ranked third on their list of Top 10 Producers of the decade, but West is more than just a producer; he is a composer, song writer, and an artist with tremendous musical abilities while orchestrating a perfect sounding album. Together, these two artists create the perfect combination of song creating and song producing. Rumors had surfaced in 2010 that they were going to create a five track extended play. However, in October 2010, West revealed that it would be a full length album. To evade leaks, the album was digitally released on the iTunes Store. The two first released “H*A*M” to the world on January 2011. With words “telling me you back,” they showed the music industry that this would be one of their most ambitious albums. Later on, with homage to Otis Redding, a prominent soul singer of the 1960’s, in the song “Otis,” it seemed clear that the album is based on their power and heritage. Recording took place in various places around the world. West had deliberated that they would record in France where the song “In Paris” is based; however, Watch the Throne was recorded in many exotic places such as Hawaii, Australia, New York, France, and England. Jay -Z had commented that the final album was finally published after three edits. According to him, “the first one was finished and bombastic but not completely listenable.” Many fans are glad that they painstakingly produced and perfected the album. Senior Zulqar Islam claims, “This is one of my most favorite albums.” Songs were produced by Kanye West himself, renowned producer Q-tip, and others such as Swizz Beatz. The duo also collaborated with popular R&B and hip-hop artists. Frank Ocean appears in two songs: “No Church in the Wild” and “Made in America.” In both, he sings the chorus while Kanye West and Jay-Z belt out their rhymes. In another song, Jay-Z’s wife, Beyoncé, displays her soulful voice in “Lift Off,” providing the chorus and the intro. In their homage to Otis Redding, Jay-z and Kanye West sampled Otis’s song, “Try a Little Tenderness.” They manipulated the track in order to get Redding’s voice and grunts. The English R&B/pop artist Mr. Hudson provides his vocals for the song “Why I Love You.” Senior Alex Smith, on the other hand, has his favorites too; he expresses, “I LOVE ‘No Church in the Wild!’ The beats are sick, and the lyrics are so powerful.” For three months, the duo recorded together. As Chauncey "Hit-Boy" Hollis, who produced the track "In Paris" states, “There was music going on in every room. I had a room where I was cranking out beats, and then I’d go into the main room with Jay and [Kanye] and play beats for them. Kanye is really hands-on. I would come in with a beat, and he’d be like, ‘Take this out, slow it down.’ It would make it sound 100 times better. Jay would then mumble different flows to the beat." More than showing their creative styles, their lyrics really reveal plenty about their personalities. “In Paris” reveals a typical rags to riches story among many artists. “New Day,” on the other hand, represents both biographies for Kanye West and Jay-Z where Jay-Z is depicted as being humble while Kanye reflects his ambition. More than that though is that this song is representative of their future prodigies and heirs, their future primogenitures. Kanye West and Jay-Z reflect on the burden of fame and how that may affect their children. “Made in America” has both rappers discussing family relations and the American dream. Through “Welcome to the Jungle,” Jay-Z contemplates personal losses and overcoming struggles. However, in all the songs, both exhibit braggadocio lyrics where they boast and brag about their success and accomplishments. With twelve songs, Watch the Throne was one of the best albums of 2011. Today, “In Paris” is heard on radio stations, and critics have praised this album for Jay-Z’s and Kanye West’s collaboration and for its incorporation of orchestral and progressive rock influences, unconventional samples, and dramatic melodies.