Saturday, April 13, 2024

Kanye-Jay Z “Throne,” Full of Samples, Will Fall Short Sales-wise


  • 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 because it gave ITunes a four day jump on downloads last week. The result, according to, 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.
  • “Niggas in Paris” contains samples from the Reverend W.A. Donaldson recording “Baptizing Scene” and dialogue between Will Ferrell and Jon Heder in the film Blades of Glory.
  • Otis” contains samples from “Try a Little Tenderness” as performed by Otis Redding, “Don’t Tell a Lie About Me and I Won’t Tell the Truth About You” by James Brown. An interpolation of ‘Top Billin'” by Audio Two is also present.
  • “Gotta Have It” contains samples from “Don’t Tell a Lie About Me and I Won’t Tell the Truth About You”, “People Get Up and Drive Your Funky Soul” and “My Thang” as performed by James Brown.
  • “New Day” contains samples from “Feeling Good” as performed by Nina Simone and “My World” by Alex Gilbert.
  • “That’s My Bitch” contains samples from “Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved” as performed by James Brown and “Apache” by Incredible Bongo Band.
  • “Who Gon Stop Me” contains samples from “I Can’t Stop” as performed by Flux Pavilion.
  • “Murder to Excellence” contains samples from “La La La” as performed by Indiggo and “Celie Shaves Mr./Scarification” as performed by Quincy Jones.
  • “Why I Love You” contains samples from “I Love You So” as performed by Cassius.
  • “Primetime” contains samples from “Action” as performed by Orange Krush.
  • “The Joy” contains samples from “The Makings of You (Live)” as performed by Curtis Mayfield and “Different Strokes” as performed by Syl Johnson.
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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