Friday, August 12, 2011

Game of Thrones (Watching Opulent Gangsters Draped In Gilded Solitude)

by Barry Michael Cooper

Like Hip Hop's Jordan and Pippen, the tag-team comitatus of Jay-Z and Kanye West, are balling out of control, as their bejewled sneakers squeak into a two-man weave of vintage obsessions and futurist intentions. 

The oeuvre of Jay and 'Ye's brand new collaboration Watch The Throne manages to be both deadly serious and subconsciously political in its narrative. Watch The Throne subscribes to the politic of the nouveau riche; this is an album that escorts the listener into the corridors of power inhabited by the two most influential panels in the current triptych (the third being Sean "Diddy' Combs, whose Last Train to Paris offering seems to have a subtle influence on Throne) of post-crack era Art-Hop. Make no mistake; these are two young Black men who have worked hard to wear the crown(s). And heavy is the head that wears the crown, or as another illustrious crown-wearer--the late, great painter, Jean Michael Basquiat--once said, "Most young kings get their heads cut off." Jay-Z and Kanye reflect the sensibilities of deft (and somewhat jaded) guillotine-dodgers, in what turns out to be an instant classic.