Jay-Z, Kanye West’s Throne Defies Radio Rules

~By Quickjams on August 9, 2011

While lacking conventional single, Watch the Throne tracks ‘Lift Off,’ ‘No Church in the Wild’ and ‘N—as in Paris’ trend on Twitter.
By Rob Markman


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Kanye West


Photo: Flanigan/ FilmMagic

Nothing Jay-Z and Kanye West have done leading up to Monday’s release of Watch the Throne has been conventional. While most rap artists look to impact radio with a big crossover single before they drop their album, the Throne handled things a bit differently.

Yes, there was the release of the Lex Luger-produced “H.A.M.,” which now stands as a bonus track on the deluxe version of WTT. Then there was “Otis” of course, but with no catchy chorus, the Redding-sampled track hardly screams crossover. Shade 45 DJ Statik Selektah said he doesn’t think Jay and Kanye still need to conform to radio — he actually believes the opposite: “I think Jay and Kanye could put out an a cappella song and it’ll get played,” the DJ told MTV News.

Check out our photos of Jay and Kanye recording Watch the Throne.

Sucker Free and Power 105.1′s DJ Envy agrees. While “Otis” doesn’t fit the exact formula for a hit, Envy said radio has picked it up for one simple reason: It’s a good record. “The first single, ‘Otis,’ if you wanna call it a single, it’s not a radio record but it’s been added on so many different radio stations, which I think is dope,” he said. “You still play it in the club, and it’s a hot record.”

Because of their respective musical accomplishments, Hot 97′s DJ Kast One said the Throne are the exceptions to the radio rule. “They’re in a different type of space: It’s Jay-Z and Kanye — they’re arguably two of the biggest rappers, I wanna say, ever,” he said.

Shade 45′s DJ Wonder echoed that sentiment: “With Jay-Z and Kanye, they’re so iconic that it’s not going to make a difference what they decided to do; people are gonna want it.”

It’s not that Watch the Throne has a shortage of likeable records. Since its release Monday, songs like “Lift Off,” “No Church in the Wild” and “N—as in Paris” have all become trending topics on Twitter.

Conventional wisdom says that Watch the Throne will eventually produce a number of records for radio, but it doesn’t seem that Hov and Yeezy necessarily planned for that while recording the album. DJ Khaled argues that when artists go in with the aim of recording for radio, they end up losing authenticity. “I think people that go in the studio saying, ‘I’m making a radio record’ is when they start goin’ in the wrong direction. It’s called, make a great record,” he said. “When you start thinking, ‘Oh, I should put a little sprinkle and make it radio,’ sometimes that hurts you because it’s not authentic.”

Share your review of Watch the Throne in the comments below.

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