Jay-Z and Kanye West have 15 No. 1 albums between them, and Jay-Z recently passed Elvis Presley as the artist with the second most No. 1 albums of all time, 11, second only to the Beatles, who have 19.
So why not bring it all together? Their new album, Watch The Throne" may not have a date set yet but we are about to take you inside the studio with Jay and Yeezy as they work w/ lots of big names from Beyonce to Rihanna.....and inside their private listening party in NYC!
Jay-Z held a private listening session for Watch the Throne, his highly anticipated collaborative album with Kanye West, Thursday, July 7 in New York City.
The listening was held in a suite on the second floor of the Mercer Hotel, in SoHo, and lasted for roughly three hours, with Jay-Z playing eleven songs from an Apple laptop for a select group of music journalists and two teenage fans who had won access to the session for being the first two customers to pre-order the album through Jay-Z's lifestyle site, Life and Times, which began accepting pre-orders on Monday, July 4. West did not attend. (Wow those are two lucky fans!)
Following the eleventh song, Jay-Z invited those in the room to have an informal conversation that lasted for about an hour.
"We can have a conversation,"he said.
"I don't want to do an interview. Put your pads away - we can talk all night."
He then played snippets of at least three other songs, including one featuring producer Swizz Beatz, that may or may not be included on the album. Other songs that have been rumored to be on the album, including the single "H*A*M," which was released in January, and "That's My B*tch," which appeared online late last year, were not played. Frank Ocean, the Def Jam singer and Odd Future affiliate, appeared on two of the initial eleven songs played, while Jay-Z's wife, Beyonce, appeared on one.
Jay-Z suggested that a video for the song featuring Beyonce, tentatively titled "Lift Off," could appear, but that he was reluctant to follow a traditional, single driven release for Watch The Throne. Jay-Z would not confirm a release date for Watch The Throne, saying only that the album would come "soon," and no information was given regarding how the album would be released or through what label or combination of labels.
Jay-Z also said that he already had two songs completed for his next solo album and four additional concepts in mind. Ocean appears on one of the songs already completed, and Jay-Z said he hoped to capitalize on the burst of inspiration provided by the Watch the Throne and continue recording for his next solo project. He would not speculate as to when that project might arrive. He jusat said "soon."
The Watch The Throne album was first said to be arriving in March, and then in June, it was announced that the album would arrive on July 4.
Jay-Z sat at the head of the room and played songs from a Mac laptop. Guests were served champagne from the house that Jay-Z owns, Ace of Spades, and offered cheese and crackers. Before playing songs, Jay-Z asked those in the room to introduce themselves and then asked if those standing in the entryway wanted to come in, joking,
"Sit on the floor, we can make it like camp."
"I think we should just play some music,"he said, by way of introduction, and then he played eleven songs back to back without breaking to offer any details on specific songs.
Although many guests at the listening session had been given the impression that they would be able to live-tweet the event and their reaction to the album, those in attendance were told not to use Twitter during the session and to avoid quoting direct lyrics in their reviews, as songs and presumably verses could still change. Guests were encouraged to take notes, however, and were offered RocNation notepads and pens. The session was briefly interrupted when one media rep was removed from the room shortly after the session began for live tweeting his reaction to the songs being played.
The songs were dramatic and boastful, with Jay-Z often taking the lead lyrically, and the collection showcased the differences between the two artists - Jay-Z, the technical marksman, and West, the emotive chest beater. Jay-Z said the two began recording the album last year in England and had recorded in Australia while Jay-Z was on tour, as well as in New York, Paris, and Los Angeles, often in hotel rooms. At least one of the songs played was recorded at New York's Tribeca Grand.
Following the eleventh song - a dramatic record about loyalty featuring several sonic shifts, closing in a barrage of strings that spike to an abrupt end - Jay-Z said
"that's how the album ends,"and then he opened the floor."Watch The Throne" is set to be released August 1, check out the artwork and tracklisting...
Watch The Throne cover by Riccardo Tisci. Pre-order album at www.watchthethrone.com1. No Church in The Wild (Feat. Frank Ocean)
2. Lift Off (Feat. Beyoncé)
3. Niggas in Paris
4. Otis (Feat. Otis Redding)
5. Gotta Have It
6. New Day
7. Prime Time
8. Who Gon Stop Me
9. Murder to Excellence
10. Welcome to The Jungle
11. Sweet Baby Jesus (Feat. Frank Ocean)
12. Love You So (Feat. Mr Hudson)