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Jay-Z and Kanye West's 'Watch the Throne': First listen

August 8, 2011 |  8:54 am

Watch the Throne cover by Jay-Z and Kanye West

Those on the West Coast who care about hip-hop are waking up Monday to a new reality, one in which the two most acclaimed rappers of the past two decades -- Jay-Z and Kanye West -- have finally released their much anticipated collaboration, "Watch the Throne," as a duo called the Throne. The Times will have a full review up in few hours; it's a record that needs time and space to actually absorb and I'm still on my first cup of coffee. But for now, after hearing the album its entirety once, a few tidbits:

Producers on the record include West, the Neptunes(!), Mike Dean, the RZA of Wu-Tang Clan, the Jugganauts, Swizz Beats, Q-Tip (in collaboration with West) and others. Samples? Some fantastic ones, including the already classic snippet from Otis Redding's "Try a Little Tenderness" and tidbits from French dance-rock group Cassius, '70s rock group Spooky Tooth, the foundational "Apache" break by the Incredible Bongo Band, a host of James Brown sounds that take the Godfather's voice and beats to terrains heretofore untraveled. Oh, and a great dialog track from the Will Ferrell vehicle "Blades of Glory."

Name-checks from our cultured kings? Hermes, Rothko, Too Short, Gagosian, Rilke, "the leader of the Jackson 5," Baquinos, Basquiat and Picasso, to name a few. More soon.


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-- Randall Roberts