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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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Now displaying: 2015
Dec 30, 2015

Chris and Travis are officially working their way through what is arguably the strongest stretch of songs on College Dropout by breaking down the epically epic Two Words. They discuss the lack of thematic structure in relation to the strong aesthetics and production, Kanye's love for Chicago, and what Freeway's crazy-ass verse says about Kanye as a rookie in the studio. Also, North and Kim get matching French braids, Kanye buys Kim 150 Christmas presents, and Jay Z starts a nationwide manhunt to find his favorite pajamas.

Dec 14, 2015

For the first time in Watching the Throne history, Chris and Travis are at a loss. They love Kanye. They love everything he's ever created: Yeezus, Breathe In Breathe Out, North West, Drake—even the songs featuring Jay Z! But, alas, here they are presented with a song that just doesn't make any sense. Listen as they try to figure out what is actually going on in School Spirit and discuss whether or not it is, indeed, the worst song in Kanye's entire discography.

Dec 2, 2015

They've been hyping it for weeks, and now it's finally here: Chris and Travis have dubbed Breathe In Breathe Out one of Kanye's worst songs in the past—but now confronted with dissecting the song, have they had a change of heart? Do they hate it even more? Does the song reveal a deeper thematic narrative on the album? Did North become the youngest person to ever get a driver's license? Does Jay-Z finally try double-stuffed Oreos? Will you stop asking questions and just listen to this episode already?

Nov 25, 2015

Just when you thought it couldn't get crazier than The New Workout Plan, Chris and Travis decide to go and cover the meta-R&B tribute Slow Jamz. The Watching the Throne crew debates over what the setting for this song could possibly be, while exploring the nostalgia Kanye and Twista hold for R&B and how it shapes the song's themes. Also, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy turns five years old, North has a new 'do, and Jay-Z is the new Santa.

Nov 18, 2015

I wanna see you work out...to this brand new episode! Chris and Travis are jumping into the bizarre abyss known as The New Workout Plan, hoping they come out on the other side alive. They go deeper than anybody has ever gone on the themes of the song, such working out, getting fit, pullin' yaself a balla man, and avoiding mocha lattes—oh, and hitting on girls, because duh. They also have the Watching-the-Thone-exclusive latest Jay-Z updates you've come to know and love, and provide more proof that Kanye should win Father of the Year.

Oct 28, 2015

You'll have to wait one more episode for The New Workout Plan—Chris and Travis have another StorYe to explore, this time with Joshua Chaplinsky, author of Kanye West Reanimator, a reimagining of H.P. Lovecraft's classic sci-fi novella with Kanye West as the main character. They discuss Joshua's inspiration for the story, whether or not he's gained an appreciation for Kanye by researching for the book, and what the hell is going on with Mr. West's fashion line.

You can follow Joshua on Twitter at @JaceyCockrobin, visit his website at www.joshuachaplinsky.com, and order "Kanye West Reanimator" on Amazon.

Oct 5, 2015

Chris and Travis have been talking about it for weeks, and now it's officially time to analyze Kanye's epically weird Get Em High—accompanied by a new theme song crafted by former WTT guest Jordan C. Johnson! They discuss the four-part song featuring Kanye's usual attention to narrative structure, an expectedly solid entry from Talib Kweli and an uncharacteristically random and spotty verse from Common. Also, Kanye performs 808s & Heartbreaks in its entirety, North buddies up to Ellen Degeneres, and Jay-Z finally figures out what that one light switch turns on.

Sep 9, 2015

The gang is back—but this time, they're not dissecting a song by Kanye West. Instead, they're kicking off the first official entry into the "My StorYe" interview series, where they discuss somebody's journey with Kanye West. Today we have a KanVert, and his name is Jordan C. Johnson. He discusses how Kanye's music changed not only the way he listened to music, but changed his life as well. In addition, the gang discusses hip hop and pop music in a broader sense, the VMAs, and breaks down Yeezus about two years ahead of the Watching the Throne schedule. Oh, and Jordan has a Jay-Z update? Crazy.

Aug 22, 2015

Chris and Travis like to troll Jay-Z, but they can no longer avoid talking about him in their discussion of Never Let Me Down. They analyze the random elements, ideas, and storylines explored by the three featured rappers—Kanye's ability to build a narrative in just one verse, J. Ivy's ability to poignantly express his faith, and Jay-Z's ability to, um, talk about himself. Also, we discuss the ethics of Kanye's quest to make North West the highest paid baby on television.

Aug 15, 2015

Chris and Travis are tackling what is perhaps Kanye West's biggest song: Jesus Walks. They analyze the early stages of Kanye's world-building writing, his ability to express anger and frustration, and the themes of religion, racism, and the inner duality of good and evil—and, ultimately, why the song's structure limits it from achieving greatness. Also, North West updates, and maybe some Jay-Z stuff if they find the time.

Jul 22, 2015

Chris and Travis are slogging their way through College Dropout, and this time around, they're covering the extremely underrated Spaceship. They analyze the themes of oppression and achieving your dreams through hard work in the song, along with discussing the petition to keep Kanye out of the Pan Am games, North West's popcorn butter mishap, and Jay-Z's strange obsession with Channing Tatum's abs.

Jul 2, 2015

Episode 2 of Watching the Throne. Here, we analyze All Falls Down, discussing the structure of the song, how an early classic like this compares to Yeezus-level Ye, his use of cliches, and other literary techniques he uses to construct the song.  Aside from that, we discuss Jay-Z visiting Austin and Minneapolis in one weekend, Kanye in Glastonbury, and North West being sleepy sleepy.  

Jun 24, 2015

Chris and Travis launch head-first into Kanye West's discography with the song We Don't Care on Kanye's debut album, College Dropout. We discuss the themes of materialism, education, youth, hardship, rebellion, and artistry permeating throughout the song. We also try to put the song into Kanye's perspective as an artist and a new rapper representing Chicago, as well as talk about our memories of first hearing the song. We also look over some Kanye newswire items, talk about North West's second birthday, and may or may not discuss something Jay-Z did over the weekend.

Jun 24, 2015

Chris and Travis proudly present Watching the Throne, the podcast that discusses everything Kanye West. This episode briefly introduces the idea for the podcast, the format of the show, and what we hope listeners (Kanye haters and lovers) can get out of it.

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