The two biggest (and, honestly, most important) names in rap come together to brag. A lot. As has always been the case, Kanye has some great lines (“Luxury rap, the Hermes of verses/ Sophisticated ignorance, write my curses in cursive”) and Jay-Z has some better ones (“Cocaine seats, All white like I got the whole thing bleached/ Drug dealer chic”). Since Kanye didn’t produce the entire album, it isn’t as cohesive as his best work. In fact, it feels a tad stiff in places (like the Neptunes’ work on “Gotta Have It” and “Murder To Excellence” from Swizz Beatz and S1) where Jon Brion or No I.D. coulda made it seem heavenly. Worse yet, both are only at the top of their respective games about two-thirds of the time; the other third finds them attempting to find their footing over awkward beats, something that should never happen to either. You can simply sum it up this way: If Dark Twisted Fantasy was the job promotion you worked your ass off for a year to get, Throne is the night’s celebration afterward. In other words, the latter is a great drinking story for a few weeks (with a terrible hangover), while the former is what you’ll be defined by for years to come.
By the way, that is one hideous album cover.