I’ve been listening to the new Kanye West/Jay-Z album this week (“Watch the Throne”), and as usual I’ve found myself saddled with useless information about it. I have a recurring fantasy in which there is someone out there who wants the exact kind of trivia that I happen to possess. Perhaps there is an interviewer somewhere (probably from Rolling Stone, I would guess) who wants to interview Music Mom about “Watch the Throne”. I imagine it would go something like this:
Q. What prompted you to purchase “Watch the Throne”? It doesn’t seem like a very “mom” type of album.
A. Well, partly I was intrigued by two such famous rappers making an album together. Both are quite smitten with themselves, so I imagined this album would probably The Best Album Ever.
Q. Can the partnership between Kanye and Jay really be balanced? Everyone knew that Paul Simon wore the pants in Simon & Garfunkel, and don’t even get me started on Hall & Oates.
A. Yes, I see where you’re going with that question. I really think Jay has the upper hand on this one. I liken him to the father and Kanye is the son. Jay does a bit more of the vocals than Kanye does, and his parts seem a little more serious while Kanye can be a little goofier.
Q. Is there any sign of nepotism on this album?
A. Yes, actually Jay’s wife (the beautiful Beyoncé) sings on “Lift Off”, which is a great song, by the way- or BTW as the kids say.
Q. Do any cartoon characters figure into this album?
A. I’m quite certain Alvin and the Chipmunks sing on “Why I Love You”, although I can’t be sure AutoTune didn’t play a role in that sound.
Q. Are there any cameos by dead people on this album?
A. As a matter of fact, the album’s first single (“Otis”) features an Otis Redding sample from 1966. This will undoubtedly please listeners who enjoy a side of soul with their rap.
Q. Can we find any life lessons on “Watch the Throne”?
A. Indeed. In “New Day”, Kanye shares some of the many lessons he’s learned from his mistakes. He counsels his own son to be nice to people (possibly even becoming a Republican to demonstrate his love of white people), to never speak at a telethon and that it’s unlikely he’ll find true love at a strip club. These are all things we can—and should—pass on to our own kids. Jay, not yet a dad himself, apologizes in advance to some unborn child about the hardship he’ll pass on, what with the paparazzi constantly pursuing his famous father.
Q. Are Kanye’s lyrics as funny and clever as they were on “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”? (his solo album from last year)
A. Unfortunately, no. My theory is that Kanye used some restraint because of the collaboration with Daddy Jay.
Q. You’re a mom, and I know you like to play music while you’re working in the kitchen with your family in and out. Will we hear this playing if we catch you prepping for dinner in the near future?
A. (pause) Well, probably not. I’m not necessarily ready for my 13-year old to hear the language on it or how they refer to females. For instance, one of the songs is entitled “That’s My Bitch” and another is “Ni**as in Paris”. Rap has kind of its own language, but it’s not necessarily the language we speak in suburbia, you know?
Q. What were your favorite tracks on the album?
A. I did really enjoy “Life Off” (the song with Beyoncé), the Otis Redding song (“Otis”), the aforementioned song with Alvin & The Chipmunks (“Why I Love You”) and “Made in America”.
Q. I think I know the answer to this question, but I need to ask it anyway: Did you like this album?
A. Yes! I don’t know if it’s the be all-end all rap album that they probably think it is, but it is a really good album.
Q. Anything else for the readers?
A. Yes, please enjoy the newly debuted video for “Otis”. Enjoy!