It's mid-September. Considering we have just three months to go before 2012 makes an appearance, this critic considers it fairly safe to pick Watch The Throne as prime contender for Album Of The Year. That it would sound as good was almost inevitable, to be honest, considering its release less than a year after Kanye West's opus, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. This is a rapper -- and, crucially, producer -- who has hit his peak, collaborating with another of the most perceptive artistes of our time, to forge a new direction for Hip-Hop.
Watch The Throne, Jay-Z and Kanye West, Universal, Rs 395. Available at leading music stores.
How could it not work? In terms of content, these tracks are primarily about lives being lived king-size. They also manage to make strong statements about being black in America, our consumerist culture and (surprise, surprise) parenting, with a little help from Beyonc � (Lift Off), Nina Simone (New Day), even Otis Redding (Otis). Not all samples are recognisable though, after being subjected to the Kanye treatment. Sonically, Yeezy pushes the proverbial envelope, taking off where My Beautiful Dark... stopped.
This is powerful, addictive music, with at least one track (Made in America) guaranteed to hit Number One and stay there for a while. If you think Hip-Hop has nothing left to say, you're probably just listening to the wrong people.