JAY-Z & KANYE WEST – WATCH THE THRONE

Watch the Throne

It’s hard to know how to frame a record like Watch the Throne. Set against the backdrop of Top 40 hip-hop, increasingly defined by the hegemonic dominance of a small group of rappers, and the long-outdated single-centric album campaign formula, it’s startingly adventurous and experimental. Taken as the latest chapter in either of Jay’s or Kanye’s formidable catalog, it feels pretty uneven and disjointed, though occasionally thrilling.

Putting aside context, it’s a jumble of ideas, some brilliant and others not quite as well fleshed-out. But to consider a project like Watch the Throne, as somehow independent from its creators, is to ignore exactly what makes it work. What it lacks in cohesion, it makes up for with sheer grandiosity and personality– the kind only these two are really capable of bringing to the table. If at times it feels unnecessarily gaudy or inarticulate, it’s at least unified by a ridiculous amount of starpower.

Download: Jay-Z & Kanye West – “No Church in the Wild”

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WEDNESDAY NIGHT LEFTOVERS (1.19.11)

The Leftovers

The Jay and Yeezy is extra epic. The Ducktails is super settled. James Blake gave me the chills with “Wilhelm’s Scream”, and Wayne went in on “Roman’s Revenge”. And if you, like me and everybody else, think of “Spottieottiedopalicious” as something not to be fucked with, give Nacey’s remix a minute to grow on you. It’s actually pretty dope. By the next time we drop a Leftovers installment, it will have been a year since we dropped the first one, which gives me some perspective. Having a platform is cool. When you’re a music nerd, it’s even cooler to be able to share music with folks with open ears and minds. So thanks for listening.

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SATURDAY NIGHT LEFTOVERS (12.4.10)

The Leftovers

Getting inspired is the shit. Every once in a while you get lucky enough to have a week or so where things are just rolling creatively, and whatever it is you’re into at that point in time just speaks to you. At the moment, the music is doing that for me, so what better time to drop some new shit than right now. Jams on deck from Nipsey, Gorillaz, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, and J. Cole, among others. Aside from that, I don’t have much to say except thanks as always for reading, engaging and showing love. It’s more than appreciated.

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JAY-Z: DECODED

Jay-Z DecodedI don’t know about you, but for me personally, the lyrics of Shawn Carter has a serious influence on how I saw the world coming up. On a sheerly aesthetic level, the dude just put words together like nobody else. But more importantly, it was the story that inspired me. From slangin on the corner to rubbing elbows with billionaires. From Marcy Projects to the top of the world. With Decoded, Jay takes the opportunity to share some of the reasoning behind his songwriting, exploring the words to 36 of his favorites from a storied catalog of songs. Featuring Andy Warhol’s Rorschach inkblot image on the cover, Decoded is available November 16th from Random House. Should be a dope read.

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THURSDAY AFTERNOON LEFTOVERS (7.22.10)

Leftovers

If Jay’s ridiculous verse on “Free Mason” somehow went over your head last week, do yourself a favor and let that one ride out first. My apologies if we’ve been a little Ross-heavy lately (no pun intended), but Teflon Don is looking serious. As far as the rest goes, highlights include some settled Dam Funk, the latest from Cudi and Ye, and a Mayer Hawthorne video full of bad ones. And don’t trip. There’s a plenty of even more obscure indie shit too. Watch the Edward Sharpe if you’re feeling adventurous. Much love to the fam. Last weekend was one for the books.

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THE LEFTOVERS (4.20.10)

Lisa Candela

From where I’m standing, life has been kind of hectic lately. I get the feeling that folks around me are lightweight stressed. Fortunately, today is what a lot of folks celebrate as the national holiday for trees. Why exactly we need a special day to smoke weed is beyond me, but I’m not one to argue with it. Without getting too corny here, I think what’s more important is just to take some time out of your day to chill out, remove yourself from the bullshit you’re wrapped up in, and put things in perspective. Some things happen that are really crucial, but the rest of them are only as crucial as you make them. If burning helps you come to that realization, then by all means, do what you do. Okay, that’s all I got for today. Here’s some slaps for your 420 playlist. Rest In Peace Guru.

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