Things I’ve Learned from “Watch the Throne”…or SomePeopleThink White People are the Problem

This past Monday, at midnight, “Watch the Throne”, the highly anticipated album from Kanye and Jay-Z, became available on iTunes. On Tuesday, I downloaded it illegally and have been listening to it non-stop ever since. I literally have not listened to anything else (save for some Disco Biscuits, courtesy of my dirty hippie boyfriend).

I can't even think of a joke for the absurdity of this album cover.

Anyways, I was first going to write a review of the album for this post but then realized there probably isn’t a whole lot more for me to say that hasn’t been said already. Google “Watch the Throne reviews” and you’ll come up with a whole lot of reviews written by much more musically-knowledgeable, articulate people (now is the time for a sympathy comment – “Jenny, you’re so smart and pretty!” Perfect.)

So, rather than a review, I’m going to write a listicle (list + article, Google that shit) for this post: Things I’ve Learned from “Watch the Throne”…or Some People Think White People are the Problem.

1. Kanye and Jay-Z are rich. Like really, really rich. And they really, really want us to know it. Now, rappers have been displaying extravagant, and often tacky, wealth for decades. One of my all-time favorite music videos, Biggie’s “Hypnotize”, has P. Diddy and Big on a yacht, spilling Cristal all over hundred dollar bills, then throwing more bills into the wind. This is – how you say – ridiculous.

But on this album, Kanye and Jay-Z have stepped up their game, not only with the amount of high-cost items they casually throw into their lyrics, but with the high-culture value of these items.

Doing just a quick survey of the lyrics from the album, the following are mentioned (and I will say, I didn’t even know what the hell many of these things were. Thank you, Google and Urban Dictionary, without whom this post could never have been possible):

Yachts, Louboutin slippers, Hummers, Rolls-Royce Corniches, black Maybachs, 1985 white Lamborghini Countach (2 of ‘em), Polo, Manolo, Lanvin thousand dollar tee with no logos, oversized Rollies, big face Rollies, Dries, sheepskin coats, no cheap cologne, the Black Card, Gucci, Audemars (hidden behind all these big rocks), gold bottles, Louie, Margiela, my other Benz (and my other, other Benz), G450, Hermes, marble floors, champagne, Grey Goose, cases of Ciroc, Porsche 911, black cars, so many watches I need eight arms, no limit on the Black Card

2. Kanye and Jay-Z are cultured. While ‘Ye and Jay want us to know they have more watches then any freakin’ human being should ever have, they also want to be quite clear that they are more cultured than any of us will ever be.

As Jay raps on “Illest Motherfucker Alive”:

Basquiats, Warhols serving as my muses
My house is like a museum so I see ‘em when I’m peeing
Usually you have this much taste you European

There are mentions of Picassos, boutique stores in Paris, Larry Gagosian, Le Meurice, Rothkos, the Mona Lisa, the MOMA, the Coliseum, Plato, owning 5 passports (though to be honest, this seems a bit of a liability), et cetera.

3. White people are most certainly the problem. After Kanye’s appearance on the Hurricane Katrina telethon, we all finally knew that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people”. What ‘Ye wants us to remember with this album is that it’s not just George Bush, but really all white people. We just suck altogether, and I really couldn’t agree more.


(skip to 1:33 for the best pop culture moment of the past decade)

A few of my favorite black-power lyrics from the album:

White America, assassinate my character –“Gotta Have It”

Heard Yeezy was racist, well, I guess that’s on one basis
I only like green faces –“Who Gon Stop Me”

In the past if you picture events like a black tie
What the last thing you expect to see, black guys? –“Murder to Excellence”

Only spot a few blacks the higher I go
What’s up to Will. Shout out to O.
That ain’t enough…we gonna need a million more –“Murder to Excellence”

And my all-time favorite, with Kanye rapping about his future son:

I mean I might even make him be Republican
So everybody know he love white people –“New Day”

4. Kanye and Jay-Z have a softer side. One of my favorite songs on the album, “New Day”, has ‘Ye and Jay singing to their future sons. (Of course, irony suggests that they will both be blessed with three or more daughters). The song is very sweet and reminds us that even bazillionaire rappers have feelings too, goddamnit!

5. Kanye and Jay-Z are interested in helping the economy. With the crazy American economy this week, “Watch the Throne” really couldn’t have dropped at a better time. Americans are freaking out, nobody has jobs, and who better to figure out how to stabilize the volatile markets than these two moguls? So, my dear readers, I leave you with these words of wisdom from Jay-Z, who may just be the Warren Buffet of our generation…

Mmm. Yummy.

I hit the club, order some Grey Goose
Switched it for Ciroc to give Puff’s stock a boost –“Primetime”

Peace and love,
Niffy

SomePeopleThink Album of the Week- “Hell: The Sequel” by Bad Meets Evil

SomePeopleThink there are two types of people left in the world: ghetto thugs (RMcBreezy) or hipster motherf#ckers (TheGreatMikesby). Well, I like to blend the styles of both. The past few albums of the week has paid homage to Mikesby’s clan but now it’s time to get gangsta.

Bad Meets Evil is a rap duo consisting of Eminem and Royce da 5’9″. Their one previous studio released was a song of the same title featured on Em’s debut album, The Slim Shday LP. They are your typical rap friends: grew up in Detroit together, got into a beef when one became a bigger star, rekindled their relationship when a close friend (Proof) was murdered and now making music together again. This will be Royce’s biggest payday ever for sure as Em is a walking ATM. As always keep an ear out for Eminem’s metaphors and wordplay but dont overlook the cagey veteran Royce. Let’s do it:

  1. Welcome to Hell- Intense Em with a Dick Dastardley reference in there. Royce appears in the middle but he is overpowered.
  2. Fast Lane- The lead single has a banging beat and Royce comes out firing on the first verse. A chorus is much appreciated after track one. Good summer mixtape song
  3. The Reunion- Familiar Eminem playful disrespect women track (if that’s possible) with Em singing on the hook.  This is the kind of track we always try to forget when mentioning Em as one of the best of all time.
  4. Above the Law- Cool hook and beat. I love when Eminem comes out strong with energy on a track. Royce with his best verse on the album so far and maybe the best period.
  5. I’m on Everything- Some creative lines about being on different drugs but the last 2 albums are about recovering from drugs so this track is hard to understand. I’d just skip it.
  6. A Kiss- The song everyone is writing about because of the Lady Gaga call out is actually one of the best on the EP. A catchy beat with both MCs delivering strong lyrics.
  7. Lighters- Bruno Mars on an Eminem song? Never imagined myself saying that. I hoped Tyler the Creator finished Bruno off. Uplifting effort from Eminem, a feeling of accomplishment. Funny moment of this song: Royce has a line about LeBron’s jersey hanging from the rafters 20 years from now. HA
  8. Take From Me- Royce takes Eminem’s intense voice and applies it over a strong beat. Eminem follows up with the same and similarly strong results. The negatives of fame are addressed in an emotional outburst.
  9. Loud Noises- I was on the Slaughterhouse tip when they joined forces. I was off of it when they dropped an album. I think they can definitely succeed on Shady Records. I still say Joell Ortiz is a problem
Overall, a decent LP. It won’t blow you away and you probably won’t keep it on replay on the iPod but there are a few tracks that you will come back from time to time when you’re in the mood. Just one of those things, when you’re chilling with your buddy and you feel like doing something. Necessary? No but you’re not gonna pass up new Eminem music.
SomePeopleThink Hell: The Sequel deserves a 6/10
SomePeopleThink you should also peep these new releases this week:
  • Cyhi Da Prince- Royal Flush 2 (mixtape)
  • The Wonder Years- Suburbia I’ve Given You All and Now I’m Nothing
  • Ziggy Marley- Wild and Free

SomePeopleThink Album of the Week- Suck it and See by the Arctic Monkeys

SomePeopleThink the title of this album is offensive and references oral sex. A few American retailers are posting a sticker over the name of the album to censor it in the stores. SomePeopleThink one day we are killing Bin Laden and the next day we can’t talk about head. Just so we are clear this is some British phrase that has no sexual meaning at all. Free America

Off of that political tangent, the Arctic Monkeys were all of the rage in Britain when their debut album, Whatever People Say I am, That’s What I’m Not, came out in 2006. It was the fastest selling debut record in UK history. In the past 5 years the Monkeys released 2 more albums that couldn’t match the hype. Not bad albums, just not up to the high standards they set for themselves. Let’s take a look at album four, which was released today in the US, and see if they can get back on track (by track).

  1. She’s Thunderstorms- Classic rock feel to this song. She’s Thunderstorms must be how they talk in Britain because it makes no sense. Guitar solo with banging drums at the bridge makes all the sense in the world though.
  2. Black Treacle- Another title that I don’t understand but this song hits the spot. More upbeat, more poppy, this is what makes the Arctic Monkeys as big as they are overseas. This is fun
  3. Brick by Brick- “I want to Rock N Roll, Brick by Brick.” This is a pure rock out song. Simple and loud. They say the word brick a lot.
  4. The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala- Mix of great lines with a great beat. Usually a recipe for a good song
  5. Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair- Another song that rocks hard. Funny lyrics over a ballin bass line.
  6. Library Pictures- If you want to rock out, this is the song for you. This song comes right at you. Crazy guitars into a down period. A mix of emotions in just over 2 minutes. Competing for best track
  7. All My Own Stunts- Opens with an infectious beat. I am whipping my hair to the rhythm. The last 3 songs should always be played in a row
  8. Reckless Serenade- This is the song where you sit back and have a beer after rocking hard and sweating from the previous tracks. (BEER!) The lyrics are perfect. Catchy hooks and fun to sing with
  9. Piledriver Waltz- Another chill song. I like the chorus and the lyrics but the instrumental bores me. It’s a song I would put on before bed
  10. Love is a Laserquest- Kind of a physchedelic ballad. A nice song. Showing the diversity of this band. How on point are the lyrics on this album?
  11. Suck it and See- Not about what you think. Really good track. “I pour my aching heart into a pop song.”
  12. That’s Where You’re Wrong- The last half of this album has really been terrific. We have gone from the hard rocking into this mellow beautiful sound.

This album is terrific. The best we have experienced in the Album of the Week era (3 weeks). This album touches on every emotion in all different styles. The band has grown up and put all the pieces together from bright spots on the previous three albums. If you don’t listen to this album, then suck it (and see).

SomePeopleThink The Arctic Monkeys are scoring an 8.5/10.

SPT STAMP OF APPROVAL

Overdid it with parentheses jokes this week. Stay tuned for our first hip hop review next week. Eminem

SomePeopleThink you should also check out these new releases this week:

  • Black Lips- Arabia Mountain
  • Big K.R.I.T.- R4 the Prequel EP
  • Cults- Cults
  • Fucked Up- David Comes to Life

SomePeopleThink Death Cab’s ‘Codes and Keys’ is the Album of the Week

SomePeopleThink Death Cab for Cutie releases their new album Codes and Keys this week. They do. It’s their first since Narrow Stairs was released almost 3 years ago. Since then, lead singer Ben Gibbard has quit drinking and married actress/singer Katy Perry Zooey Deschanel. Those are two pretty major life changes. Gibbard is known around the indie scene as arguably the best lyricist in the business. SomePeopleThink this is a a bold statement. Let’s go track by track and see if  he can live up to his reputation:

1. Home is a Fire- Voice decoder with a weird piano transtition over an otherwise simple rhythm. Not the tone I was hoping they would take on the first track. They did say less guitar and more piano would be on this album.

2. Codes and Keys- More traditional Death Cab. I hope the album follows suit after this. The piano sounds natural on this track.

3. Some Boys- Simple but good, catchy song.  Ben Gibbard doesn’t have to be real deep with his lyrics all of the time does he?

4. Doors Unlocked and Open- Repetitive chorus witheven more voice decoder. The people demand he sing!

5. You are a Tourist- You can see why they released this as a single, my favorite song so far. Upbeat, all Gibbard, relatable lyrics. Why can’t you make this song ten times and call it an album?

6. Unobstructed Views- Pretty song. Nice piano instrumental intro leading into a ballad. TheGreatMikesby will probably consider it for his wedding song.

7. Monday Morning– I was expecting an anti-work week anthem with this song. What do I get? A song where I have no idea what he is talking about. I’m gonna give him the benefit the doubt here and say he is being real deep.

8. Portable Television- This one is a toe tapper. Would make for a concert good sing along. Plus, the title reminds me of days spent during my childhood watching football on a portable television while tailgating at a Patriot’s game.  The stations never came in clearly and you can forget about sound, it was the worst. I guess its fitting for this song.

9. Underneath the Sycamore– Not my favorite. Another song where the chorus is repeated to the extreme. Easy to learn I guess. I was singing along on my first listen

10. St. Peter’s Cathedral- Yay, Ben Gibbard lyricism! Where have you been the last few years? So detailed, paint that picture my man. Do it for Zooey. Seriously this is the a great song though, perhaps the best on the album..?

11. Stay Young, Go Dancing- Cool acoustic melody then some piano thrown in. Jamming to this one. Hard to imagine a Death Cab song about dancing in the past. Certainly an upbeat ending to the album.

Overall Conclusion:

Completely different Death Cab on this album. More upbeat, simpler lyrics, more piano, less acoustic, dare I say happier. It doesn’t really fit. I want to hear Gibbard’s life struggles and emotions straw out across his beautiful yet pain-filled melodies… maybe that is sick to say – but it’s what made him great. As for the sound experiment, it works great on some tracks, not as much on others. SomePeopleThink you should just go download Transatlanticism if this is your first introduction to Death Cab For Cutie, you can save this one for later…the rest of us will be content. That’s all I say.

SomePeopleThink Death Cab for Cutie gets a 6/10

Other releases that SomePeopleThink you should check out this week:

  • My Morning Jacket- Circuital
  • Kate Bush- Director’s Cut
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