Critic's picks: Pop music

Two-for-one bills have been ubiquitous this year. But the splashiest pairing of all is that of Kanye West and Jay-Z. Each could easily sell out an arena on his own, but the two paired up to promote their collaboration, "Watch the Throne." Music critics treated the album's release as their own debt ceiling debate, breathlessly parsing every verse, every incongruous reference, out-geeking each other with dissertations about "Throne's" preoccupations with class or how it signals the end of hubris in hip-hop. Simply put, the album is neither transcendent nor lame; it has compelling moments ("Murder to Excellence," "New Day") and most importantly, ambition. And yet -- even with a bad album -- these two in concert would make for riveting entertainment, a meeting of two titans of the game. In short: must-see. --Erik Maza Jay-Z and Kanye West perform Nov. 1 at 1st Mariner Arena, 201 W. Baltimore St., and Nov. 3 at Verizon Center, 601 F. St. NW. Tickets are $47.50 -$250. Go to
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