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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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Now displaying: 2018
Apr 24, 2018

Carrington Harrison is known for being a radio host on 610Sports in Kansas City. More relevant to Kanye fans, Carrington and his friends are the ones behind the Kanye Madness bracket challenge that swept the nation this March. On this episode you can find out more about how Kanye Madness got started and Carrington's own Kanye fandom. 

 

 

 

Apr 20, 2018

On June 1, we get the eighth Kanye West album.

On June 8, we get the first album from Kanye and Kid Cudi's band, Kids See Ghost.

And on April 20, Chris and Travis lost their goddamn minds.

Still, they try to keep their composure (EVEN THOUGH KANYE IS OFFICIALLY BACK) and give a fair, scholarly assessment of Kanye's behavior since reappearing online (PREVIEW: IT'S LIKE MANNA FROM HEAVEN) and how that could signal the sound/direction of the forthcoming album (THIS IS A GOD DREAM THIS IS EVERYTHING).

Don't worry, we don't freak out...too much (JK WE GIDDY).

Apr 17, 2018

Zack specializes in the intersection of hip-hop and business (evidenced by his new book, 3 Kings: Diddy, Dr. Dre, Jay-Z and Hip-Hop’s Multibillion-Dollar Rise). This gives him quite the unique perspective on Kanye. Be prepared for what is one of our most fascinating StorYe’s to date! 

 

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Purchase 3 Kings: https://www.amazon.com/Kings-Diddy-Jay-Z-Hip-Hops-Multibillion-Dollar/dp/0316316539

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Zack O'Malley Greenburg is the senior editor of media & entertainment at Forbes and author of three books: 3 Kings: Diddy, Dr. Dre, Jay-Z and Hip-Hop's Multibillion-Dollar Rise (Little, Brown, 2018); Michael Jackson, Inc. (Simon & Schuster / Atria, 2014) and the Jay-Z biography Empire State of Mind (Penguin / Portfolio, 2011). In a decade at Forbes, Zack has investigated topics from pension fund scandals to Katy Perry's touring business to the Wu-Tang Clan's secret album. His work has also appeared in the Washington Post, Sports Illustrated, Billboard, Complex, Vibe and McSweeney's; he's served as an expert source for BBC, NPR, MTV, NY Times and 60 Minutes, and as a speaker at SXSW, TEDx, CES, Georgetown and Harvard. Zack graduated from Yale in 2007 with a degree in American Studies. A recovering child actor, he played the title role in film Lorenzo's Oil (1992). He lives in New York with his wife and cats

Apr 10, 2018

Watching the Throne's in the house, watch your mouth...

Watching the Throne's in the house, watch your mouth...

Bound...2! Bound 2!! We did it!!! Chris, Travis, and Jordan have been down a long, strange, dark, grimy, emotionally draining road covering Yeezus—Kanye West's misunderstood masterpiece—and they've reached the end of that road...or is it the end? Does Bound 2 signal a new chapter for Kanye that leads directly into themes and narrative of The Life of Pablo? Is Kanye's character bound to love...or to the pressures of celebrity? Will we EVER stay in step with Kanye and decipher his genius???

Probably not. But here's our best shot.

Apr 6, 2018

Robert Ruggerio is you. He's me. He's all of us who have followed Kanye since Through the Wire and had Ye not only be a soundtrack for life (from those teenage years, to the early twenties, now into the thirties), but this ethereal friend who has been there through the best and worst times. This is his/our StorYe. 

Apr 3, 2018

This is it guys...this is the big one—Lost in the World. About two year ago, Chris and Travis started dissecting My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and now these efficient mofos are finally ready to cover the final track of what many consider to be one of the greatest albums ever made. They fit the final chapter into the narrative of the album as they discuss fame, loneliness and romance in what just might be Kanye's most complex song.

Mar 30, 2018

A new Kanye West news episode...sign me up, Mr. President! That's right, Chris and Travis were bored, and March is ending, so it's time to cover everything Kanye that happened over the past month. They discuss a possible new album coming out of Wyoming, the leak of Southside Serenade, lawsuits, memes, Harriet the Spy (so sorry), and all the Jay/Clay Z news you can possibly cram into one episode.

Mar 27, 2018

Miranda Feneberger dishes on her history with Kanye's music, developing a love and understanding of hip hop, and more things Kanye West. 

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Miranda's work has been published or is forthcoming on sites such as HelloGiggles, NYLON, HuffPo, Rookie, BuzzFeed, Bustle, Thought Catalog, andPaste Magazine. She has also been published in print in Shiny People Zine, and on indie sites like The Inkport and Vinyl Mag.

Mar 20, 2018

If it's 4 a.m. and you can't sleep. If it's a lonely night and you're starting to fade. If the love you need is a thousand miles away.

Don't worry, we're covering the right song for you today.

As Chris and Travis reach the tail end of 808s & Heartbreak, they try to keep their composure as Kanye reaches the apex of all the fear and regret that's plagued him throughout the album. It's a dark, yet strangefully hopeful time on Coldest Winter, which finds Kanye saying goodbye to his mother (and, effectively, his fantasies about fame) as he looks towards building his own future.

Mar 16, 2018

Timothy Anne Burnside brings her expert opinion on African American history and culture to bear on Kanye as a musician, his influences, and his legacy. 

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Timothy Anne Burnside works closely with object donors and museum colleagues to build collections and develop exhibitions and programs that offer complex representations of history and cultural expression. Her background includes curatorial research and collecting, archival work, collections management, and program production. Timothy began her career with the Smithsonian at the National Museum of American History in 2003, where she worked in the Archives Center and Division of Cultural History, then launched that museum’s hip-hop collecting initiative in 2006. She has since worked on many Smithsonian exhibitions and projects, including the NMAAHC’s preview exhibition about the Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York that toured the country in 2010-2012. Timothy most recently contributed to multiple NMAAHC inaugural exhibitions, including Musical Crossroads, Sports: Leveling the Playing Field, Taking the Stage, and The Power of Place. She regularly presents at conferences across the country, speaks with college and graduate students about opportunities in the museum field, and serves on the Executive Committee of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music. Timothy received her B.A. in History, English, and Music Performance from Lawrence University, and M.A. in Museum Studies from Johns Hopkins University.

 

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"The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. It was established by Act of Congress in 2003, following decades of efforts to promote and highlight the contributions of African Americans. To date, the Museum has collected more than 36,000 artifacts and nearly 100,000 individuals have become members. The Museum opened to the public on September 24, 2016, as the 19th and newest museum of the Smithsonian Institution."

 

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https://timothyanne.com/writing/f/finding-kanye-wests-influences-in-our-collection

Mar 14, 2018

We were live on the SXSW and TuneIn Podcast Stage. Chris and Travis, a room full of Kanye fans, delicious breakfast tacos from Tacodeli—could we get much higher?

You'll hear some Kanye-themed games (Family Feud/Kanye or Jay-Z/and Wait, Kanye, What?) and some truly wavy conversation about Mr. West. 

 

 

Mar 9, 2018

Joe Perez is a freelance creative director & graphic artist based in Providence, Rhode Island.
He attended Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA.
 
2008-2010 he curated Kanye West’s two blogs: kanyeuniversecity.com & gallery.kanyewest.com
 
He went on to work as the lead art director at Kanye West’s design studio DONDA from 2011-2016.
His most notable work was on the Cruel Summer, & Yeezus album covers.
Joe also contributed to the award nominated “The Life of Pablo” merchandise where
he developed product ideas and designed the interior of the NYC pop-up shop.
 
Joe went on to form his own studio which crafted Nicki Minaj’s “The Pink Print” album cover.
The cover was later selected by Billboard magazine as one of the 50 greatest album covers of all time.
 
In 2017 he released his first clothing collection entitled, “MASON”.

Mar 6, 2018

Can we talk our shit again? We can?! Because it's our podcast?!?!?! Yippee!!!

Today Chris and Travis are breaking down what might be Kanye West's most underrated song: The Glory. The track that might truly be the pinnacle of Old Kanye's powers. They discussing ironic use of ego,  the beauty of sampling Laura Nyro, and how the song sets up Kanye's "break up" with Chicago.

Feb 27, 2018

Kish is currently based in Melbourne, Australia. Her recent bylines have been in Sydney Morning Herald, Noisey, Acclaim Magazine and VICE Magazine.

She's a writer, DJ and podcaster.

Follow her on Twitter: @kish_lal

Feb 23, 2018

We haven't done a news episode in a while—which means there's a TON to cover. Chris and Travis do their best to cover everything Kanye from the past month or so, including Kanye joining Kid Cudi on stage, Kanye's return to Instagram, the birth of Kimye's third babe—and, of course, the latest and greatest JAY-Z/Clay Z news.

Feb 21, 2018

You know what this is? It's a...

a...

we're actually not sure? Chris and Travis usually have a complete grasp on Kanye West, but when it comes to Celebration, they're at a bit of a loss. They try to piece together how Celebration might fit into the theme of Late Registration, how the skits might point towards the song's intentions, and how this might be a lite foreshadowing of the Yeezus version of Kanye.

The key word here? Might.

Feb 13, 2018

Brent Lewis is the Senior Photo Editor for ESPN's "The Undefeated" and co-founder of the Diversify Photo initiative. Self-proclaimed lover of all things Chicago. You can follow Brent at @BLewisPhoto.

Feb 9, 2018

We 'bout to send this bitch up and, yes, it WILL go down.

Yup, you guessed it: Chris and Travis are dissecting Sent It Up today, which only leaves one song to go on what is possibly Kanye West's greatest album: Yeezus. With that in mind, they're really getting into Kanye's state of mind at this point in the album's narrative, which finds Kanye dipping back into his Yeezus persona after finding some catharsis on Guilt Trip. They talk about braggadocio and irony, how the song mirrors On Sight lyrically and sonically, and how the song sets up both Bound 2 and The Life of Pablo.

If you would like to support the show, visit our Patreon page.

Feb 6, 2018

It's time for Round 2! Chris and Travis tried analyzing All Falls Down a couple years ago when they were noobs, but are now ready to give it a more legitimate dissection in 2018. All Falls Down is a great example of Early Kanye's storytelling and sampling powers, using Lauryn Hill and Biggie songs to encapsulate the power consumerism holds over black society. Of course, Chris and Travis get into all of that, along with Showgirls, Single White Female, Fight Club, and then eventually Showgirls again.

Feb 2, 2018

Nia Renee Hill is a actor, writer, producer, and director. You can occasionally hear her on the Monday Morning Podcast with her husband Bill Burr. She recently guest starred on an episode of HBO's "Crashing". Oh, and she's a huge Kanye fan!

Find her on twitter and instagram under the handle @niasalterego. 

Jan 30, 2018

Just when Jordan thought it was over...it wasn't. It totally wasn't.

Like, not even close.

We got through the first 64 matchups of the 2018 Best Kanye West Song Tournament Death Match Extreme 2000, and there are SIXTY-THREE LEFT. Chris, Travis, and Jordan started with 128 songs, but there can only be one indisputable best Kanye West song ever. Will Hold My Liquor two-peat? Will Ultralight Beam ride that beam to #1? Will Breathe In Breathe Out somehow sneak back into the tournament and capture our hearts?

IDK. But here we go.

Jan 23, 2018

Once again, Chris and Travis have kidnapped Jordan from his humble abode and forced him to participate something no human being should be forced to endure: Sitting in a room for 3 hours with Chris and Travis, talking about Kanye.

But this isn't just any episode of Watching the Throne: This is the 2018 Best Kanye West Song Tournament Death Match Extreme 2000.

This year, they've stretched the bracket out to 128 Kanye West songs going head to head. Over the course of the first round, friendships are tested, shade is thrown, and Send It Ups are Sent On Downs. Will Chris, Jordan and Travis come out best friends...or sworn enemies?

Only one way to find out.

Jan 19, 2018
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.
 
If you would like to support the show, visit our Patreon page.
Jan 16, 2018

This StorYe is with the man behind one of the fastest growing Kanye-fan accounts on Twitter, @Kanye_Bars. Find out the origins behind the account and, of course, a lot of feelings about Kanye West. 

Jan 12, 2018

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.

If you would like to support the show, visit our Patreon page.

This is an archived episode that has been remastered.

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