Kanye West and Jay Z‘s CD, “Watch the Throne,” isn’t the mega hit that was hoped for. Universal Music/DefJam angered record stores (what’s left of em) and download services like amazon.com because it gave ITunes a four day jump on downloads last week. The result, according to hitsdailydouble.com, was sales of 290,000. The album saturated its market quickly. Total sales are expected around 425,000– much lower than previously estimated. I know it sounds old and curmudgeonly, but why make an album if everything on it comes from somewhere else? Such is the case with Jay Z and Kanye West’s “Watch the Throne.” It’s chock full of samples musically. Lyrically, it’s everything we’ve come to expect from over-indulged rappers with little to go on about except their own lives in the material world. It’s all about Rolls Royce Corniches, Champagne, and “cocaine seats.” It’s very tired, already.
Along the way, the late great Otis Redding and James Brown are each exploited, as is Nina Simone. It’s sad to think that the Redding family allowed “Try a Little Tenderness” to be defiled in this way. I burst out laughing when I realized that there’s actually a track called “That’s My Bitch.” It’s my favorite, and has a shout out to fancy art dealer Larry Gagosian. “That’s My Bitch” really seems to be a song sung by Brit pop singer Elly Jackson and written by Justin Vernon from Bon Iver. (So much for street cred; they’re a white indie rock group.)
Here’s the partial list of samples, via Wikipedia. Gotta give credit to all the people who researched how to make this record by stitching it together from various scraps and remnants. PS “Interpolated from” in rap is code for “lifted from”:
“No Church in the Wild” contains samples from “K Scope” as performed by Phil Manzanera, “Sunshine Help Me” as performed by Spooky Tooth and “Don’t Tell a Lie About Me and I Won’t Tell the Truth About You” as performed by James Brown.