Kanye West should be basking in the critical acclaim of his My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy album. He scored a number of year-end accolades for the project, including recognition from us here at MTV News.
But a mere two months after the LP’s November release, the rapper’s already in promotional mode for his next project, Watch the Throne, a joint effort with Jay-Z.
How did everything happen so fast?
Jay-Z, of course, has been a prolific MC, having released six consecutive #1 albums, from 1998’s Vol. 2 … Hard Knock Life to 2003’s The Black Album. And after a self-imposed exile, Kanye has proved to be just as productive as his mentor, including West’s three-month-long G.O.O.D. Fridays series, during which he released a new single each week.
Back in October, during a lengthy sit-down, West casually told MTV News’ Sway that the Watch the Throne EP had evolved into a full-length album.
“We putting out a whole album now,” he said. “We had done five [songs] so far, but then a few of them kind of were out there, and I put them on my album. Sorry, Jay. But we got some more, and we’re going to the South of France at the end of the month to just record new ideas. But we’ll probably be done with the album in a day.”
According to ’Ye, Jay-Z only has to write 10 verses (a hint?: the album will only be 10 songs), and West is collaborating with a bevy of producers, so his load will be substantially reduced as well.
Another question, however, is whether fans will flock to the project so soon after snapping up West’s extravagant solo release.
The early answer seems to be a resounding yes.
“I think it’s smart because I imagine the two albums will be very different sonically, so it won’t be a case where one overshadows the other,” Complex senior editor Toshitaka Kondo told MTV News. “Also, when an artist is hot, their fans can’t get enough as long as the output is good. Young Money has had five or six different releases, including the Young Money album and projects from Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj and Drake in the last 13 months, and I can’t see how it’s hurt any of them. I can’t see the sales of this album necessarily cannibalizing the sales from Kanye’s [last album] anyway. It’d be one thing if they were dropping within a few weeks of each other, but given how fast people consume music these days, six months is plenty of time.”
Perhaps, though, instead of debating whether it’s too soon to put out the album, the more poignant thing to consider is this: arguably the two biggest stars in hip-hop want to make an album together !
“All artists need to find a way to combat falling record sales and meet fans’ desire for constant gratification — a new album from two of hip-hop’s biggest stars isn’t going to hurt,”the Amplifier’s Caryn Ganz said.
“It could even renew interest in Kanye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and encourage people to revisit it,” she said. “All the recent collaborations between these two have been very strong, like ’Run This Town’ and ’Monster,’ and Kanye seems to bring out a fascinating artiness in Jay. They just have to be careful that they don’t push it too far in an artsy, esoteric direction and lose their whole street base. But the timing doesn’t seem strange to me at all — strike while Kanye’s still making headlines for the right reasons, rather than wrong.”
Do you think it’s too soon for Kanye and Jay to drop their Watch the Throne? Tell us in the comments!