Jay-Z, Kanye West's 'Watch the Throne': What Critics Say

The collaborative project is largely heralded a success, though the album is neither artist’s best offering.

The highly anticipated release of Jay-Z and Kanye West’s collaborative album, Watch the Throne, has arrived.

Miraculously avoiding leaks, the duo released their new project on iTunes Monday, Aug. 8, though it doesn’t hit store shelves until Friday. According to critics, the collection was well worth the wait.

“While both display their characteristic swagger and dabble in materialism, they also ruminate on religion, poverty, crime, loss and the price of success,” wrote Steve Jones of USA Today. “Their chemistry – born of a decade-long association – allows each to carve out his own stylistic space, with Jay-Z coolly delivering his incisive lyrical darts, while the more emotional West thrives on adrenaline-fueled punchlines.”

“Watch the Throne is neither West’s nor Jay-Z’s best, but count it as a success,” noted the New York Post’s Dan Aquilante. “Especially getting two performers as dynamic and egomaniacal as this duo to mesh into a cohesive team.”

“In an age of ‘I love you, love me’ synth pop of Ladies Gaga, Spears and Perry, listening to Watch the Throne feels like coming off of happy pills and realizing that it’s Ok that sometimes, life doesn’t just love you the way you were born,” said the Huffington Post’s Kia Makarechi. “This addition to challenges carries over into the album’s production, with the rappers flipping through genres and tempos and verse structures like a veritable Wikipedia of pop music.”

Rating the album with nine out of ten stars, All Hip Hop’s JP DelaCuesta and Chuck “Jigsaw” Creekmur wrote, “Most people tend to love or loathe Mr. West and Mr. Carter with very few gradients of gray. Watch the Throne is the most ambitious effort the pair have joined forces on and the world awaits to hear it. The dynamic duo do not disappoint.”

Billboard’s The Juice described the sound as “filthy rhymes over sumptuous soundscapes” in a track-by-track review. Read their Twitter friendly descriptions of each individual song here.

In a track reminiscent of West’s “Gold digger,” the Throne’s lead single, “Otis,” pays tribute to the late Otis Redding while sampling the legendary artist’s “Try a Little Tenderness.”