Jay-Z, Kanye West plan unusual release for album, leak 'Otis'
When Jay-Z and Kanye West leaked “Otis” from their highly anticipated joint album, “Watch the Throne,” on Wednesday, the song instantly clogged Twitter timelines, making the Otis Redding-sampling track a trending topic.
But with the release of the album only two weeks away, the two hip-hop heavyweights have bypassed all traditional album promotion.
So far there haven’t been any visuals, unless you count the climatic release of the disc's artwork, a surprise considering the first taste of the album, the Lex Luger-produced "H.A.M.," surfaced in a similar fashion in January. There have been no host of performances despite West’s small string of high-profile gigs, including Coachella. Jay-Z did, however, join him for a surprise performance of "H.A.M." at the South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas. Most surprising, the duo haven't had a presence on radio. In fact, neither “Otis” nor "H.A.M." is pegged as the project’s lead single, let alone an offical one for that matter -- the latter didn’t even make the standard tracklisting of the disc.
And it seems that’s exactly how the two want to keep it.
Earlier this month, Jay previewed a rough draft of the disc in New York to select media and said although it was likely there would be a visual, naturally, for the Beyonce-assisted “Lift Off,” he was very reluctant to follow a more traditional path of releasing singles, according to a review from Billboard. And with the digital release expected to drop Aug. 1 and a physical version out four days later, it’s looking likely that Jay will get his wish. But will that work?
Since West announced the project via Twitter late last summer, fans have waited for the result of the team-up with bated breath.
"H.A.M.," though met with mixed reviews, was the talk of the Internet when it was released, and “Otis” is experiencing the same surge of attention -– even Redding is a hot topic online. After a host of release date rumors -- the latest was July 4, around West’s headlining stint at the Essence Festival in New Orleans -- the album is at least ready to go and up for preorder, though there isn’t a release date listed on the site for the album.
The two rappers have 15 No. 1 albums between them, and “Watch the Throne” is easily one of the year’s most talked-about releases. But with no radio single, nothing on the charts and no visual, will their names be enough to catapult the disc to success?
-- Gerrick D. Kennedy
Photo: Jay-Z and Kanye West. Credit: Daniel Boczarski / Getty Images