The wait is almost over. On August 8, Jay-Z and Kanye West (now collectively known as the Throne) will drop their long-awaited, full-length album Watch the Throne on iTunes as a digital exclusive, with physical retailers to follow on August 12.
It was August 2010 when Kanye first sent the rap world buzzing when he tweeted, “Me and jay bout to drop a 5 song album called ’Watch the Throne.’ ” By October, that five-song EP had turned into a full-length LP. West confirmed with MTV News ’ Sway that he and Hov were going all in.
“We putting out a whole album now,” ’Ye 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,” he chuckled. “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.”
Things didn’t quite work out as planned, or perhaps Kanye overstated things, but the recording took way more than 24 hours. Nevertheless, while on a promo run to promote his book, Jay-Z told Sway that he enjoyed working with Kanye and marveled at his growth as a beatmaker and lyricist.
“This is another level of that recording,” Hov said. “Because Kanye, I’ve seen him — really, he’s like a brother to me — I’ve seen him from the beginning to where he is now. And to see him as a producer and to see how he’s growing as a producer and as an artist, for me, on another level, it’s enjoyable. I’m watching the guy that I pretty much mentored become his own guy, with his own opinion. It’s fantastic.”
Fanatics wouldn’t get their first taste of Watch the Throne until January 2011 when the duo released “H.A.M.,” the Lex Luger-produced energy ball that found ’Ye and Jay trading braggadocios verses. In the end, however, ’H.A.M.” wasn’t the big hit that fans and pundits expected. Still, expectations for the album remained high. “There’s songs on there that’s making you go crazy,” Swizz Beatz told MTV News of the project without revealing too much. “That album is amazing, but I have to let those guys talk about that, because that’s their expression. All I can tell you is it passed the bar.”
Anticipation led to multiple rumors about the LP’s release date. First, it was reported that Throne would drop on July 4. Instead, during the Fourth of July weekend, the LP was made available for pre-order.
Soon after, an official track list was revealed on Jay’s Life and Times blog. The track list confirmed that Beyoncé would make an appearance on a song titled “Lift Off,” and that Odd Future’s Frank Ocean would have features on “No Church in the Wild” and “Made in America.”
On July 20, the group allowed New York City DJ Funkmaster Flex to premiere their single “Otis” on his Hot 97 radio show. Using a sample from Otis Redding’s 1966 rendition of “Try a Little Tenderness,” the aptly-titled “Otis” featured the Throne rapping back and forth in eight-bar intervals, with no chorus or catchy hook to anchor the track.
Five days later, the August 8 the release date was confirmed in a press release that also announced a Watch the Throne Tour , with dates still being added.
Now, the world waits. With the release of Watch the Throne only a week away, fans are eagerly anticipating Jay-Z and Kanye’s joint project. Can the album live up to the grand expectations that have been set for it? Only time will tell.
Watch the Throne Week begins! Check in with MTV News every day until Wednesday, August 10, for exclusive content surrounding the release of Jay-Z and Kanye West’s eagerly anticipated LP.