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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: Category: general
Dec 12, 2017

Common passed on the beat, and Kanye made it into a jam that Kanye stans adore. This week, Chris and Travis are breaking down a beloved Kanye West song, Everything I Am. The tenth track from his third album, Graduation, finds Kanye at odds with the artist he wants to be and the celebrity the world expects him to be. It's a somewhat triumphant song that perfectly sets up the celebratory braggadocio of The Glory—and perfect sets up the tragic downfall Kanye experiences on Homecoming and Big Brother.

For more Kanye West analysis, check out an extensive breakdown of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy on the Dissect podcast.

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

Dec 8, 2017

Chris and Travis need a little help tackling one of Kanye West's most complex, beautiful, and tragic (and underrated!) songs, so they've enlisted Jordan to help break down Hold My Liquor. They cover the old/new Kanye dynamic playing out on the track, how "the woman" and "the aunt" come to metaphorically represent various aspects of Kanye's life, and how the song fits in with the narrative of Yeezus.

Dec 4, 2017

You guys, we have to admit something: We've failed you. We assumed there wasn't any really good Kanye West news these days...BUT THERE'S SO MUCH TO TALK ABOUT AND WE'RE SORRY WE SLACKED.

Today is the day we make up for it, though. We preview our annual Kanye West song tournament, discuss JAY-Z's interview with The New York Times, bask in the glory of Kim modeling Yeezy Season 6, and speculate on what the hell Kanye's latest trademark—Yeezy Sound—could possibly be.

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

Dec 1, 2017

There's a reason Chris and Travis love Yeezus so much—and New Slaves is pretty much that reason. They're here to convince you why the song is so important to not only the narrative of the album, but to the narrative of Kanye West as a whole, and what the idea of being a "new slave" represents to his body of work. Expect plenty of comparisons to Adam Sandler movies, There Will Be Blood, Akira, and that Alanis Morissette song that had everybody confused about what "irony" meant for a while.

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

This is an archived episode that has been remastered.

Nov 28, 2017

Cake. Licorice. Klondikes. Croissants. Fish filets. Sweet 'n sour sauce. Open-fridge sandwiches.

What do these all have in common? They are all Kanye West's favorite foods, of course!

As it turns out, Chris and Travis did not get to eat enough food this Thanksgiving and are looking for seconds. Thus, they're digging into Kanye West's discography and pulling out every food reference they can find. And being the over-analyzers they are, they found a narrative arc to Kanye's love of grub.

So, put on your bib, loosen your belt, and strap in for this mess.

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

Nov 21, 2017

Warning: There will be tears. Because today Chris and Travis are breaking down Blame Game—the penultimate track on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and quite possibly the saddest song Kanye ever recorded. Chris and Travis go deep in dissecting the fraught on the track, which represents both Kanye's personal struggles with romance, his personal struggles with fame, and his personal struggles with hip hop.

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

Nov 18, 2017

Watching the Throne breaks down the most misunderstood moment in Kanye West's career: The moment he screams on the track I Am a God.

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

Nov 17, 2017

Is it a buttery croissant? Almond croissant? Chocolate croissant? Jelly-filled? Ham and cheese? Lye-glazed? Is it one of those hip, new croissan'wiches? How many croissants are there? Are they Austrian croissants served in a French bakery? Is it made in the style of a Kipferl, the precursor to croissant?

Guys, Watching the Throne is here to answer all these questions and more on this episode, as Chris, Travis, and Jordan get into Kanye West's most misunderstood song, I Am a God. They're discussing the tragic, lonely irony of becoming a god, how the song sets up the dominant themes and dichotomies of Yeezus, and the transcendent sonic moments that separate the song from every other song in the history of music.

All of that is, obviously, followed by debates about Blood on the Leaves and FourFiveSeconds, educating Jordan about Hulkamania, and, uh, croissants.

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

This is an archived episode that has been remastered.

Nov 14, 2017

This is why we can't have nice things, Taylor! Because you go and and make an album like "Reputation," which we then have to completely tear apart, track by track. Chris is out this week, but Anna joined Travis to discuss Taylor Swift's latest album and how it relates to and addresses Kanye West.

In all honesty, they tried to be fair?

"Tried" is the key word, here.

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

Nov 10, 2017

As Chris and Travis continue to tear through Kanye West's most misunderstood album, Yeezus, they move on to analyze Black Skinhead and everything that comes with it, from the narrative on Yeezus to racial injustice to alienation to inspiration to goon shit to anarchy to becoming a god to putting your leather black jeans on by any means...on.

So...yeah. They cover a lot.

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

This is an archived episode that has been remastered.

Nov 7, 2017

Today is a celebration. To celebrate Donda West, Chris and Travis are skipping ahead a bit and breaking down Hey Mama, Kanye West's ode to his loving mother. To prepare, the Watching the Throne crew read Donda's book, "Raising Kanye," and are applying that knowledge to their analysis. They talk about Kanye's use of micro-narratives, the methodical use of the song's sample, and how Kanye creates a communal setting to celebrate his mom.

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

Oct 25, 2017

Ron Parida is the mind behind RPV Creative, a social media gency and production company. This is the group behind the wild and wonderful @kanye_isms Instagram page where they turn Kanye sound bytes into entertaining adventures.

In this StorYe, Ron shares the approach to kanye_isms and his views on Kanye as a musician and creative.

Check out Ron's work at https://www.instagram.com/kanye_isms/ 

Oct 20, 2017

We're feeling like we've never felt before today...

Because we've never felt this confused.

This is a weird one. For the first time in Watching the Throne, Chris and Travis are at a loss about a song. While they like We Major...they might not know what the song is about at all? Or they might know exactly what the song is about? Or they might have a thousand different theories for what the song could be about?

Who knows. Go down the rabbit hole with them as they try to piece together We Major, which is either Kanye West's sloppiest song or a misunderstood meta pop masterpiece.

Oct 17, 2017

Corbin Reiff is the Deputy Music Editor at Uproxx. He's first book, "Lighters in the Sky: The All-Time Greatest Concerts, 1960-2016" just came out and features not one but two Kanye performances. In this episode, you get to hear all about Corbin's StorYe, his views on Kanye's music and concerts. Check out his book here: http://amzn.to/2ytA0pk

Oct 14, 2017

Anna watched Keeping Up with the Kardashians...so you don't have to! And you're lucky this week, considering the new episode—even by Anna's standards—was a real dud. Khloe dances to Despacito, Kris goes "camping," Kim is vain, and Kylie continues to push the theory that walking and talking robots exist among us.

Oct 14, 2017

Anna watched Keeping Up with the Kardashians...so you don't have to! And you're lucky this week, considering the new episode—even by Anna's standards—was a real dud. Khloe dances to Despacito, Kris goes "camping," Kim is vain, and Kylie continues to push the theory that walking and talking robots exist among us.

Oct 13, 2017

Sasquatch, Godzilla, King Kong, Loch Ness

Goblin, ghoul, a zombie with no conscience

Question: What do these things all have in common?

EVERYBODY KNOWS IT'S TIME TO CELEBRATE JAY-Z

You guys! It's almost Halloween!! And Watching the Throne wants to start a new yearly tradition: A celebration of JAY-Z's legendary verse from Monster.

That's right, we're paying tribute to the 60 seconds that altered the course of humanity and made everything stop and wonder, "Do I get enough love?"

In this episode, we talk about our favorite Monster moments and read some fan Mad Libs that honor all the incredible wordplay resonating throughout Jay's verse—we hope to do it justice.

 

Oct 10, 2017

The very first song Watching the Throne ever covered by Kanye West was We Don't Care. Way back in early 2015, they were just finding their footing, laying the seeds for what would become...an insane show where they would eventually come to spend over an hour trying to figure out Jay's verse on Monster.

So after mastering their craft, Chris and Travis have decided to go back to The College Dropout years and re-analyze Kanye's earliest songs. With a much different perspective post-The Life of Pablo, they evaluate Kanye's grander storytelling aspirations from an album perspective, how the song sets up a motif of ambition on the album, and how the intro skit, song, and outro skit set up a beginning, middle, and end like any movie would do.

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

Oct 6, 2017

What does one do when one has run out of ideas?

...one speaks of Ye! Like, anything about Ye. Literally any bit of news one can find. And that's exactly what Chris and Travis did this week as they made their first Kanye West news episode in months!

They get into everything going on with Kanye as of late, including his potential collaboration with Kid Cudi, Bruce Springsteen's playlist, Jamie Foxx's story about the inception of Slow Jamz, and Ye's childhood home becoming the South Side Arts Center.

The WTT crew also fantasizes about going on vacation with Kanye, and updates the world on Jay Z's continued obsession with Chi-Chi's.

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

Oct 3, 2017

You may know DeMario Jackson from season 13 of The Bachelorette. What's apparent is how charismatic, charming, and fun DeMario is. What may not have been apparent is just how much he loves Kanye. In his StorYe, DeMario takes us through his Ye fandom from the day Through the Wire dropped into 2017, revealing what Ye's music has meant to him and how it's saved his life twice. This is, by far, our most epic StorYe yet. You can find more from DeMario at https://demariojackson.com/bio/. Following him on Instagram as @demariojackson and on Twitter as @demariojackson_

Sep 29, 2017

Chris, Travis and Jordan are taking on the masterpiece known as Yeezus, starting with On Sight. They break down how the song kicks off the epic narrative, how it sets up the tragic, ironic importance of immediacy for the character on the album, and how the insanely deep and stripped down production feeds into all of it.

The is a remastering of an old episode.

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

This is an archived episode that has been remastered.

Sep 29, 2017

The interlude in On Sight is beautiful, but can be befuddling. How we make sense of it depends on what kind of album we think Yeezus is. Is it a collection of single tracks? Or is it more? Is it a concept album like The Who's Tommy or Green Day's American Idiot? Chris will take you on a journey of discovery to see the depth and awesomeness of not just Yeezus, not just On Sight, but of the interlude itself.

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

Sep 29, 2017

“Non-musical. Super aggro. Really noisy...

I loved it. It made me crazy.”

That’s how Rick Rubin, who came in at the last second to help polish up the production on Yeezus, describes the opening moments of On Sight. Without wasting a second, the opening track, to what is probably Kanye West’s most misunderstood album, immediately polarizes listeners—on purpose. It's completely in line with the character Kanye is creating; a character we'll come to explore on the album.

So let's talk about it.

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

Much thanks to Chris Lambert, Jordan C. Johnson, and  for their helpful notes on this recording.

Sep 26, 2017

Noisy Images is one of the best YouTube channels for hip hop related content. Perhaps the best part of the channel is how Kanye-centric it is. In this episode, Chris talks with Noisy Images creator Don about Don's love of Kanye. Warning, a lot of talk about life as well, because, at the end of the day, Kanye is life. You can check out Noisy Images by clicking here.

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

Sep 22, 2017

Chris and Travis are dedicating the next three months to what could be Kanye's most monumental achievement: Yeezus. Over the several weeks, they'll release an analysis for each song on the album, and to start, they want to provide a brief overview of the storyline on Yeezus.

This episode was recorded at the 2017 SXSW & TuneIn Podcast Stage.

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

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