I’ve heard a lot this year about the music section’s lack of “Watch the Throne” coverage. I would like to take this opportunity to palliate if not remedy this absence. “Watch the Throne,” perhaps the most self-congratulatory work of art since Louis XIV had himself painted as Alexander the Great, is a good record. However, the actual quality of the songs pails in comparison to the praise heaped upon it by its own creators. Most notably, in the ongoing Watch the Throne tour, Jay-Z and Kanye West have played “N***as in Paris” up to seven times a show. Here are some of the unreleased tracks getting bumped from those prized encore spots.
1. “Niggas in Normandy”
This song is just “Niggas in Paris,” but with a more jarring, more hyper-syllabic rhyme scheme.
2. “Jay-Z, Would You Rap Over This Please?”
One of Kanye’s favorite beats—a remix of scratching and grunting noises from Judy Garland’s seminal “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” laced with light opera arias. At the end of every measure, Kanye shouts “Jay-Z!” There is no rapping on this track.
A song about the environment and Freudian theories of personality, this track also features the beat from “Niggas in Paris.”
This song is “Niggas in Paris.”
Like “Niggas in Paris,” this song samples a famous Will Ferrell soundbyte—the seminal Saturday Night Live “More Cowbell” sketch. The beat is three minutes of Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear The Reaper” and three minutes of Kanye complimenting Jay-Z’s shirt. Jay-Z is not featured on this track.
—Benjamin Naddaff-Hafrey is the outgoing music executive. He is already regretting this photo (see left).