Jay-Z and Kanye West set higher standards in today's hip-hop.

Ariana Beedie

“Watch the Throne,” the latest album by Jay-Z and Kanye West is a proclamation of self and wealth.

These two artists have risen to the top of the charts and have amazed fans worldwide. Maintaing the theme of dark, ominous samples with charged lyrics like Kanye’s previous release, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” a new standard has been set in hip-hop.

It’s called Luxury Rap. Released August 2011, “Watch the Throne” let every fan of Jay and Kanye know that they had reached a peak, one that neither of them had experienced before. So why not make the most incredible rap composition of the year?


Recorded in various countries and legendary studios like, Electric Lady Studios, built by Jimi Hendrix, these men put the finishing touches on a masterpiece. “We’re in the time of our lives,” Jay-Z’s lyrics raps in the song, “Primetime.” This album is so complex that it has to be broken down and analyzed by the layers. Beginning with the main theme, royalty. “Watch the Throne,” translates to a different type of fame.

In an image of a classic royalty tale, the king and the loyal knight is an accurate comparison.

Jay-Z stands as the king, ruling his land with much experience and a level head. His role as the husband, father and respected businessman has established incredible status for his family.He is determined to maintain order, and to keep reaching new heights in music.

Kanye stands as the king’s right hand. Reaching this glory through much hard work and persistence, Kanye is one of few in his field. Competitors have nothing of value in comparison. His journey is troubled and long, but he has reached a golden point. Goals have been set and made and his dreams are coming true. As Kanye mentioned in his “Graduation” album, Jay-Z is his mentor, a “Big Brother.” The combination of the two is astounding.

A bold statement of no rules lies in “No Church in the Wild,” first track on the album featuring singer Frank Ocean. Ocean sings, “..What’s a king to a God? What’s a God to a non-believer, who don’t believe in anything?”A strong denouncement of organized religion, and with mentions of ancient scholars like Socrates and Plato. Jay-Z tells of Roman Catholic tales, mixed with scenes of his role in this game with strong, mature tones.

“No Church in the Wild” is the opener to the show, foreshadowing the rest of the album. The darkness rolling in, the calm before the storm. Kanye opens with tales of dark deep lust and control. “No sins as long as there’s permission..” The album continues, taking a transition to Beyonce proclaiming everything these men stand for in “Lift Off,” track two. This song gives chills, with it’s crisp samples, the entire production is perfect. “.. so many scars, we bout to take this whole thing to Mars,” sings Beyonce.

These artists have come a long way, and it has not been easy for any of them. This is the moment Beyonce, Kanye and Jay-Z have been working for, and they are not even close to being done. The soulful breakdown is reminiscent of former albums from Jay and Kanye, paying homage to their past and hopeful for the future.

As the album continues, each song is drastically different from the others but all maintaining the same “luxury” theme. Songs like “New Day” and “The Joy” gives the listener examples of why this glory is well deserved. “Made in America” is the most proud composition on the album.

It features Frank Ocean singing of legendary black leaders like Malcolm X, his wife Betty Shabazz, Martin and Coretta King. These were our previous kings and queens. African Americans have come a very long way in this country. This song is thanking them for their struggles, and for all ancestors. If it weren’t for their struggles, these men would not be present today paving the way for future kings and queens.

“Watch the Throne” is the ultimate album, but if it wasn’t for its’ producers it wouldn’t have achieved as much success. Legends like Q-Tip, Pete Rock, RZA, Swizz Beats and the Neptunes made this the best album of last year. “Watch the Throne” went Platinum in Canada as well as the U.S.

As of March 12, “Watch the Throne” sold more than 1.36 million copies sold worldwide. To answer Kanye’s question of his previous album, “Can we get much higher?” Yes, and that’s exactly what they did.