Watch The Throne
Label: Roc Nation/RocAFella/IDJ
When superstars join forces, we expect blasts of energy, and Kanye West and Jay-Z's Watch the Throne succeeds magnificently, from the joyous old-school roundelay of "Otis" to the street-hop of "Welcome to the Jungle." But the duo's attempt to turn Throne into the scepter of the hip-hop diaspora proves trickier. They deplore black-on-black violence in "Murder to Excellence," tout their success as "Made in America," and scold their many haters on "Why I Love You." "I tried to teach n*ggas how to be kings," says Jay. Unfortunately, as Langston Hughes once wrote, "Life ain't no crystal stair."