Jay-Z Held Court At A Watch The Throne Listening Party Last Night
Last night at the Mercer Hotel a slew of journalists (your trusty reporter not among them) and two contest winners were invited to hear a handful of tracks that are expected to appear on Watch The Throne, the long-gestating collaboration between Kanye West and Jay-Z that's apparently going to see the light of day soon. Jay, after catching a Yankees game, stopped by to offer up details on the tracks to the assembled, and both Billboard, AllHipHop, and MTV have already posted accounts of the night. A few highlights, below.
• "Singer and odd future affiliate Frank Ocean appeared on two songs. Beyoncé appeared on one, tentatively titled 'Lift Off.'... Jay-Z said although he would prefer to release the album w/o a single, they would probably shoot a vid for ['Lift Off']." [BB]
It'll be "Empire State Of Mind"... in space!
• "Kanye and Jay-Z recorded whole album together, in same rooms. Didn't want to mail verses back and forth." [BB]
A nice retro touch. (See also the Otis Redding sample that, as MTV noted, the assembled asked to hear again.) It was apparently recorded in hotels, the Mercer among them.
• "On another particularly interesting song, Jay-Z and Kanye deliver verses directed to their hypothetical unborn sons." [MTV]
What can you say here except !!! and maybe also "interesting" is a bit of an understatement. Especially because: "[Jay-Z thinks that] Kanye's verse, running down his myriad past mistakes, is one of his best ever. 'The honesty of it, it's just really cool.'"
(Also, what if one of them has a daughter?)
• "[The second track Jay played] concludes with the crash of a slowed-down menacing beat, reminiscent of '80s instrumentalists Art of Noise." [AHH]
Rock critics, get your pens ready!
• "Journalists were allowed to take notes and even given notepads, but no tweeting was allowed. One journo removed for live tweeting" [BB]
That journalist was apparently the representative from the bleeding-edge culture bible The Fader, who was giving details on songs as they played over the suite-cum-studio's sound system. That on-the-scene reporting stopped after track four, though; those tweets were deleted from the magazine's account (although the speculation lives on) and this apology now rests in its place:
Our bad for breaking the Watch the Throne tweet rules, excitement got the better of us. Don't hate us Jay, don't hate us Kanye.
Ah, begging. The PR rep for Jay also asked the assembled to not quote any verses they'd heard in their reports, in part because the record isn't apparently done; that all of them (save the Fader dude, who noted an Olsen twins reference) obliged is not too surprising, although one has to wonder what a similar request from a star with lesser wattage would be met with. (Same with the live-tweeting moratorium.) So basically in order to stop leakage the music industry has to create a bunch of huge stars who journalists are afraid of pissing off? That shouldn't be too much of a problem, right?