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Watching the Throne: A Lyrical Analysis of Kanye West

This is an in-depth-yet-entertaining dive into the lyrics and narrative artistry of Kanye West's music. We go track by track through Ye's discography, revealing the narrative and poetic techniques he uses, tracking his growth as a storyteller, and illuminating the narratives behind Yeezus and The Life of Pablo. For Kanye fans, this might be the Ye-centric lyrical discussion you've been waiting for. For musicians and writers, this is practical insight into how one of the best storytellers in music history does what he does. We also have a news show about Kanye, Kim, North, Saint, and Jay-Z. We look at the top 5 posts from Reddit's Kanye community, r/Kanye. And discuss other relevant Ye topics. And there's our interview series, My StorYe, where we interview people about their relationship with Kanye West. We hope you enjoy!
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Watching the Throne: A Lyrical Analysis of Kanye West
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Aug 15, 2017

This week, the song hits a little too close to home for Chris and Travis: Absolutely swarmed by the paparazzi as they strut down that red carpet, through the gold-plated doors, into the brick hallway, down the creaky stairs, and into the basement where their girlfriends force them to record the podcast because they're so goddamn loud, the WTT crew just understands where Kanye West is coming from on Flashing Lights. And they get into in this episode, where they discuss the structure of what is actually a very strange and convoluted song, which fits perfectly into Graduation's narrative about Kanye exiting his College Dropout phase and emerging as New Kanye.

Aug 8, 2017

Martin Connor analyzes production in hip hop music living on his website, Rap Analysis. In his StorYe, he discusses the evolution of Kanye's production from soul-sample-heavy to weird-as-shit.

Kanye’s soul samples have become the orientations through which all of his stories are experienced, even as they begin to occupy ever more fragmented parts of his structures, keys, or mixes. It seems, then, that soul samples for Kanye have always had a significance that is purely cultural, having come from a genre that was mostly nurtured and developed by Black artists themselves. It is just that, in his most recent albums, Kanye has brought this role of theirs fully to the forefront.

This episode is also brought to you by Audible. Go to www.audibletrial.com/wtt to get a free audiobook and test out a 30-day trial with Audible.

Jul 31, 2017

Today we're talking to Cole Cuchna, creator and host of the Dissect Podcast. He performs musical analysis (just like us!) by going track-by-track through albums, breaking the format into short, easily digestible episodes (not just like us!). 

The first season featured Cole going through Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly, and the second will continue with Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Chris and Travis sit down with Cole to get his StorYe: When he first heard Kanye West, how his relationship has evolved since then, and what it was like to intricately dissect one of the most important hip hop albums of all time.

This episode is also brought to you by Audible. Go to www.audibletrial.com/wtt to get a free audiobook and test out a 30-day trial with Audible.

Jul 25, 2017

Kanye is forever...
He's all we need to please us
He can't stimulate or tease us
He won't leave in the night
Have no fear that he might desert me...

KANYE IS FOREVER. FOREVER. FOREVER.

Good mornin'! It's another week, another #TuesYe, and (unfortunately) another JAY-Z verse to dissect. That's right: Chris and Travis are ripping into a verse that many consider to be GOAT...which is weird to us, especially when its pit against Kanye's brutally honest and capricious confession on the Diamonds From Sierra Leone remix. We discuss everything Kanye is exploring, like his struggle with balancing his humbled home life with celebrity life, the black community's obsession with self-worth, and how social issues from across the world can blend into one another—and then we discuss everything JAY-Z is exploring, like how awesome his money is, why he's basically Jesus, and how on God's green earth the Titanic sinking in WATER is comparable to a phoenix burning in a FIRE.

is episode is also brought to you by Audible. Go to www.audibletrial.com/wtt to get a free audiobook and test out a 30-day trial with Audible.

Jul 18, 2017

Scars. Tattoos. Diamonds. Hydro flasks. L.L. Bean hiking boots. J.K. Rowling's imagination. Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On." Ryan Gosling's charm. The universe. Love.

Oh—and waves. Waves also last forever.

Waves don't die.

Actually, you can add this episode to that list, because Chris and Travis can apparently spend forever talking about Waves, one of the most popular tracks off The Life of Pablo. It also happens to be one of the most strongly contested songs between the WTT hosts for months. In this analysis, they explore the metaphor of waves, debate the power of Chris Brown's chorus, and freak out about the long-awaited realization of the Old Kanye vs. New Kanye dynamic.

This episode is also brought to you by Audible. Go to www.audibletrial.com/wtt to get a free audiobook and test out a 30-day trial with Audible.

Jul 11, 2017

Welcome to Watching the Throne, a lyrical analysis of...Jay Z? No, wait: JAY-Z. Because Jay Z is dead on 4:44, which means it's time for Chris and Travis to—for the first time ever—analyze a song that isn't a Kanye West track!

However, the first track off JAY-Z's latest album is ABOUT Kanye, which means the WTT crew is uniquely qualified to analyze it, dissect it—and completely trash it (sort of). They explore the old-Jay Z vs. new-JAY-Z dynamic set up on 4:44, the manner in which JAY-Z explores his demons, and what it really means that he dissed his once-protégé.

This episode is also brought to you by Audible. Go to www.audibletrial.com/wtt to get a free audiobook and test out a 30-day trial with Audible.

Jul 4, 2017

Chris is gone, which means Travis has nobody telling him to not make terrible decisions...which means Travis decided to bring his friend Christina on the show! And they have an interesting relationship when it comes to Kanye, as in Christina thinks Kanye might be a huge misogynist and Travis likes to yell about how she's wrong about that.

But seriously, it's an important discussion that Travis thinks is good to have live on the show, considering how Chris and Travis just constantly talk about how great he is and one dissenting opinion won't kill them.

We also get into Christina's StorYe, talk about Jay Z's new bloody mary mix, and theorize about some of the more intimate moments of Kim and Kanye's lives.

Jun 27, 2017

Caitlin White is the managing editor of Uproxx's music section. She also happens to be wavy as hell because she's a firm believer of the one and only Yeezy. In her StorYe she discusses the impact Kanye West has had on her life and career, why 808s & Heartbreak is her favorite album of all time, and a ton more.

This episode is also brought to you by Audible. Go to www.audibletrial.com/wtt to get a free audiobook and test out a 30-day trial with Audible.

Jun 20, 2017
Kanye lives his life...we living ours!!!!!! And ours is pretty dope, because today we're analyzing an extremely underrated Kanye West song, Guilt Trip. Not underrated, like, say, Breathe In Breathe Out is underrated. But underrated like, "Why don't more people consider this to be one of Kanye's best songs?" Because not only would the narrative of Yeezus be complete without it, but the song is also absolutely brimming with creativity and nuance. Listen in as we detail the song that shifts Kanye from "hopeless romantic" back into "Yeezus" mode for Send It Up.
 
This episode is also brought to you by Audible. Go to www.audibletrial.com/wtt to get a free audiobook and test out a 30-day trial with Audible.
 
Jun 13, 2017

Watching the Throne is finally taking the time to celebrate the greatest national holiday that's ever been blessed upon this great nation of ours: Kanye West's birthday (aka Christmas in June). And Chris and Travis appropriately go overboard by naming their 40 favorite things about the one and only Yeezus. From music videos to tweets to legendary quotes, they attempt to do the tiniest bit of justice for the best 40-year-old 10-year-old the music business.

This episode is also brought to you by Audible. Go to www.audibletrial.com/wtt to get a free audiobook and test out a 30-day trial with Audible.

Jun 6, 2017

Do NOT run away as fast as you can. In fact, we suggest you slowly walk towards us instead, take our hands, and follow us into the melancholic, symphonic soundscape known as Runaway. In what may be Chris and Travis' greatest challenge yet, they impossibly attempt to capture the beauty of perhaps Kanye West's greatest song by detailing the manipulative/desperate intentions of Kanye's conversations with his lover, unpacking the relevance and genius of Pusha T's verse, and talking excessively about the outro in a meta attempt to make this episode as aggressively long as Runaway itself.

This episode is brought to you by Framed Tweets.

This episode is also brought to you by Audible. Go to www.audibletrial.com/wtt to get a free audiobook and test out a 30-day trial with Audible.

May 30, 2017

Bill and Melinda Gates. Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII. Jay Z and Beyonce. Julius Caesar and Cleopatra. 

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West.

Come on—we all know why we're here. While countless power couples have graced the earth with their presences over the years, only one couple has given us an AT&T Park engagement, a Florence wedding, those ziplining photos where Kanye is happier than anyone has ever been, the cat Mercy, the Bound 2 video, and the two cutest kids on the entire goddamn world. Anna and Travis are here to celebrate and cherish Kim and Kanye on their third wedding anniversary by detailing their shared story and highlighting our favorite moments of their relationship.

This episode is brought to you by Framed Tweets.

This episode is also brought to you by Audible. Go to www.audibletrial.com/wtt to get a free audiobook and test out a 30-day trial with Audible.

May 23, 2017

Let us know...does this podcast still have time to grow? Ratings aren't always set in stone...let us know.

Let us...

SEEMS LIKE. STREET LIGHTS. GLOWING. HAPPEN TO BE JUST LIKE MAKING. US CRY. IN FRONT OF EVERYONE.

That's right! Chris and Travis are covering Street Lights, a song many consider to be one of Kanye West's greatest achievements. They get into the the cyclical, repetitive nature of the song; Kanye as a lyricist vs. Kanye as a poet; and the aesthetic power the track holds and how that weaves into the narrative of the album—and the narrative of Kanye's discography.

This episode is brought to you by Framed Tweets.

This episode is also brought to you by Audible. Go to www.audibletrial.com/wtt to get a free audiobook and test out a 30-day trial with Audible.

 
May 16, 2017

For weeks—for years, even—Chris and Travis have been saying it. They have persisted there is more than meets the eye. They have endured the laughter and vitriol that comes with taking such a stance. And today...today is the day they will finally defend that sentiment, that idea, that truth.

And that truth is that, dammit, Drunk and Hot Girls is a good song!

Seriously. They've detailed the thematic journey that exists on Graduation solely to prove there's more to Drunk and Hot Girls than just a bunch of drunk and hot girls. And now's their time to shine. So get ready for 90-or-so minutes of analysis for a song many Kanye West fans consider to be his worst.

This episode is brought to you by Audible. Go to www.audibletrial.com/wtt to get a free audiobook and test out a 30-day trial with Audible.

Apr 28, 2017

What do Hold My Liquor and Barry Bonds have in common? "Nothing," you say, snorting in that patronizing tone you've developed since listening to our Hold My Liquor episode and discovering the power of Yeezus.

Well guess what...YOU'RE WRONG. Because those two songs DO have something in common: They were chosen in Watching the Throne's first ever Kanye West Song Draft. To celebrate the NFL's big day, Chris and Travis each decided to draft their own Kanye West playlists, pitting them against one another to figure out who the #1 Kanye fan is (hint: it's definitely Travis). They also discuss Kim's appearance on Ellen, which was full of information about the Paris robbery and adorable Saint and North anecdotes.

Apr 25, 2017

What's your addiction? Is it podcasts? It is Ye? Is it Jay? Well prepare to be afflicted by not one...not two...BUT ALL THREE.

Yeah, even in an episode where Chris and Travis dissect Kanye's Late Registration track Addiction, they can't pass up an opportunity to humble-brag about their latest dinner party with Jay Z. But eventually they get into the song, which continues the album's blending of humbled past and overwhelming present through an intriguing, somewhat cryptic narrative. Plus, we get at the root of what "addiction" meant to Old Kanye and how it foreshadowed the heroic journey of New Kanye.

This episode is brought to you by Audible. Go to www.audibletrial.com/wtt to get a free audiobook and test out a 30-day trial with Audible.

Apr 18, 2017

Oh...you thought we wouldn't discuss I Love Kanye? You thought we'd ignore a song that's shorter than any of the Broke Phi Broke skits? You thought we were above spending an hour and twenty minutes dissecting a one-minute acapella ditty?

Oh...wait. You thought there was no double meaning to I Love Kanye? You didn't realize The Life of Pablo is a grand narrative where Kanye is learning to love himself and his family? And that this meta song marks an important turning point in that journey? And that there are multiple narrators and meanings occurring in this paradox of a track?

Well, then strap in, my friend.

This episode is brought to you by Audible. Go to www.audibletrial.com/wtt to get a free audiobook and test out a 30-day trial with Audible.

Apr 14, 2017

Hotline Cream? That can only mean one thing...there's an obnoxious Kanye West news episode waiting for everyone! It's a very special week for WTT, as Drake and Taylor Swift have officially become best friends with Chris and Travis and realized what undeniable geniuses they are. In this episode, Bean and Lamb discuss several weird tiny bits of Kanye news, the songs they would love to see mashed up with Yeezy, and their new, blossoming friendships with two celebrities that can only dream about someday being as successful as two privileged white boys who host an absurd hip hop podcast.

This episode is brought to you by Audible. Go to www.audibletrial.com/wtt to get a free audiobook and test out a 30-day trial with Audible.

Apr 11, 2017

Prepare to get GLOWED UP. That's right, there's a new Kanye song, which means there's a new Watching the Throne episode. For the first time, Chris and Travis are including Drake in the Kanye discussion and dissecting the new track Glow, which explores the promise of celebrity, the repercussions of fame, and why sunblock is important when riding around town with the sunroof down. It's a tiny preview of what the Kanye-Drake collaboration could have been (or might be someday!), which means WTT is ready to psychoanalyze the song to death and figure out exactly what the theme of the album would have been (or might be someday!).

This episode is brought to you by Audible. Go to www.audibletrial.com/wtt to get a free audiobook and test out a 30-day trial with Audible.

Apr 7, 2017

Real fans.

How many of us.

How many of us.

How many of us—TIME ISSUES. 

How many of us. How many zealous? Real fans. There are so many of us. We hug each other. But how many waste their days away doing a Kanye podcast? TIME ISSUES. Kanye switched up his style. He can't be bothered, I cannot blame him, for havin' a jewelry line, I ain't got no issues, I'm just doin' my thing—hope he doin' his thing too. Kendall is an awesome sister, improves family reunions. Fuck the Pepsi ad up by drinking at the protest. Spillin' freedom, now the youth is ruined. Political for a day—what the fuck we doin'? Who the real fans? We all came from College Dropout. We always blamin' Ye, but what's sad, he not the problem. Damn we talked about The Wiz, shit I thought it was the MJ Cast. Why you wait a week write a bad review in the first place? When was the last time we remembered to keep the episode short? When was the last time we was even in a hurry?

Real fans.

This episode is brought to you by Audible. Go to www.audibletrial.com/wtt to get a free audiobook and test out a 30-day trial with Audible.

Apr 4, 2017

Chris and Travis woke up in great moods, ate healthy, protein-packed breakfasts, hit new PRs during their squat workouts, and then donated the rest of daylight to volunteering at the local Salvation Army. Then, naturally, they escaped into their basements, riding that high right into a discussion of Blood on the Leaves, hoping they'd make it through the night. Turns out, they had *just* enough goodwill to get through one of Kanye West's most depressing songs from his most misunderstood album. They get into the metaphor being drawn from Strange Fruit by Nina Simone, the gender politics ripping the central character apart, and the grand introduction/origin story of Yeezus himself.

This episode is brought to you by Audible. Go to www.audibletrial.com/wtt to get a free audiobook and test out a 30-day trial with Audible.

Mar 31, 2017

Having trouble keeping up with Keeping Up with the Kardashians? No fear! Travis, Chris and their special guest Anna have got you covered. Not only are they here to recap Kimye's stresses after the Paris robbery, but cover how publicity and celebrity seem to be catching up with the Kardashians in general. They also discuss Kanye's two new features with Mary J. Blige and Drake and Kanye's new Calabasas clothing collection. Also at one point Chris spends about 30 minutes on Twitter. Hurray and huzzah.

This episode is brought to you by Audible. Go to www.audibletrial.com/wtt to get a free audiobook and test out a 30-day trial with Audible.

Mar 18, 2017

This is the moment no one has been waiting for! A Chris-only episode of Watching the Throne. Be prepared for too many audible breaths, a monotone that will put you to sleep, and the shortest episode WTT has done in over a year!

 

 

Mar 14, 2017

Put your hands 🙌  to the constellations ✨ because it's finally time to dissect one of Kanye West's most beloved songs: Devil in a New Dress 💃🏿. Hot off their live SXSW show, Chris and Travis 👬  have a fire in their bellies 🔥 over this track, which features the one and only Kanye West 🐐  being completely emasculated by a woman before pouring his heart and soul out to the world on Runaway 😭 😭 😭. It's the kind of lyrical storytelling these stans 😎  just can't get enough of.

This episode is brought to you by Audible. Go to www.audibletrial.com/wtt to get a free audiobook and test out a 30-day trial with Audible.

Mar 12, 2017

Middle America packed in, came to see...Watching the Throne? At SXSW 2017?! Better believe it! Chris and Travis somehow sweet-talked their way onto the SXSW Podcast Stage (presented by TuneIn), and they're using the opportunity to educate the world on the masterpiece that is Yeezus. They break down the album's main motifs of ego, race, and romance, detailing the moments that make up the hyperbolized version of Kanye, aka "Yeezus" himself. Fun is, of course, had all around.

This episode is brought to you by The Daily Dot.

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