By Alvin Blanco
Kanye West set the web abuzz when he told attendees at a New Year’s Eve show to expect Watch The Throne, his collaborative album with Jay-Z, in about a week. West might have been jumping the gun but with the announcement of the first single, "H.A.M," dropping on January 11, the album is certainly on the way soon (a March 2011 release is speculated). But with Yeezy’s fifth studio album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy having been released less than two months ago, is it too soon to be dropping another project?
"When an album like My Beautiful Dark Fantasy is dubbed ‘The best album of his career’ by Rolling Stone, it seems only right to let it marinate in the marketplace, allowing fans and foes alike to enjoy the lyrics, beats and Kanye's eccentricities," Shante Bacon of the 135th Street Agency, who as a former Sr. Director of Marketing at Def Jam Records was the Product Manager for West’s College Dropout debut, said. "It isn't too soon because when an artist like Kanye, who is already brimming with more passion than most, is struck with a creative inclination ... the best thing is to strike while the iron is hot."
Surely fans can’t find too much fault with a new major album during the quietest time of the year, in terms of record releases.
"This is good for hip-hop," Jake Paine, Editor-in-Chief of HipHopDX.com, said. "It's been a long time since there was a highly-anticipated first quarter release. The media is guaranteed a win, but I think the music will equally benefit."
When it comes to rap tunes, the general consensus is that Jay-Z is the King of hip-hop. Yes, there are other contenders, but take a poll, and Jigga will probably come out on top. But Kanye West is used to bearing an underdog stamp and it might work to his benefit on Watch The Throne.
"I think Kanye is playing a chess game," journalist and radio personality Maurice Garland of MauriceGarland.com, said. "Like the proverb 'Kill Your Master,' I think that’s what Kanye is doing. Jay is probably the only guy ahead of him as far as global hip-hop appeal goes. If Kanye can outshine Jay on the album, he stands to take the throne from him."
Kanye scheming on Jay-Z’s crown? Maybe he really didn’t get over Hov landing Chris Martin on one of his records first. Stranger things have happened in hip-hop. Either way, the album means more music for fans to relish; so who are we to judge when and where artists choose to place their finger on the release calendar.
"It sure is strange," Thomas Golianopoulos, Features Editor of XXL magazine, said. "Where is the video for 'All of the Lights'? Has the official 'Monster' video even been released yet? But it’s 2011. Those old record industry rules — work the singles, do not confuse the consumer — no longer apply. Plus, it’s Kanye West and Jay-Z: They can do whatever they want.