Is this what we've been waiting for?
For months, the Dream-Team hype surrounding Kanye West (left, photo by Getty) and Jay-Z's mysterious collaborative album, Watch the Throne, has been steadily building, mostly on its artists' reputations. How could a project of Jay and Kanye songs be anything but great?
Well, judging from the first single "H.A.M." (which debuted a little after midnight Tuesday on Facebook and is short for "Hard As a Motherf-----"), it could be time to temper those expectations. Here's what's wrong with Watch the Throne's first, half-baked offering:
Kanye's lazy verse. West opens the song with short, syncopated couplets that say very little. He cuts himself off in a way that makes the verse sound like a reference for a demo. More troubling is Kanye's seemingly constant lyrical obsession with "white girls" ("And a few white girls, asses flat as s--- / But the head so good / Damn a n---- glad he hit"). Kanye is headed toward a messy territory, using white girls as a symbol of success (which was funnier and more clever on "Gold Digger"). Don't forget about the chorus on "So Appalled" from his last album: "Champagne wishes, 30 white bitches / I mean the s--- is f----- ridiculous"). You can claim it's merely a man's preference for so long before reference after reference becomes a boring, ugly signifier of "I made it!" Remove the white-girl lines and Kanye's verse is still everything that he deftly avoided on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy: boring, forgettable and a non-factor.