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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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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.

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.

Sep 19, 2017

Chris and Travis are now getting into what might be the greatest stretch of Kanye West songs as they take on FML. And it's such a tall order that they'll need some help from Janie Contreras Johnson, who happens to think FML is the greatest song ever made. The three of them discuss insane level of vulnerability Kanye displays on the song, how Kanye's relationship with the public feeds into his domestic troubles, and how FML sets up the finale of The Life of Pablo.

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

Sep 15, 2017

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.

Sep 12, 2017

This week, we're celebrating the 10-year anniversary of Graduation by dissecting Kanye's first single from the album, Can't Tell Me Nothing. Chris and Travis talk about the song's idyllic, yet ironic portrait of fame and fortune as the album digs Kanye deeper and deeper into a hole until he's completely alienated from his friends, family and hometown of Chicago.

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

Sep 8, 2017

Chris and Travis have kidnapped Jordan and forced him to participate in the first ever Best Kanye West Song Tournament Death Match Extreme 2000, where they created Best Kanye Song Tournament bracket and voted on their favorites. They go through every (and I mean EVERY) Kanye West song and discuss why they voted the way they did. The result is sometimes insightful, most of the time contentious, and always...long.

Oh my god it's so long.

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

This is a rerun of an old episode.

Sep 5, 2017

I tell you what—it's one hell of a life hosting a Kanye West podcast. It's almost as crazy as the song Hell of a Life, which Chris and Travis think is probably the most underrated and misunderstood song on Ye's discography. They get into the "fantasy" of the song, why Kanye feels such a connection to this porn star, and how all of it wraps up in the most tragic, awkward of ways.

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

Aug 29, 2017

Chris and Travis are off this week, so, in the wake of Taylor's new video for Look What You Made Me Do, they're sharing one of their old episodes, where they sit down with Anna and spend close to two hours detailing the history of Kanye West and Taylor Swift, from when Kanye stormed the VMA stage in 2009 to Kim Kardashian’s Snapchat revelation that Taylor approved the Famous line. The WTT crew covers key points in Kanye and Taylor's shared history that many people have forgotten about, the collateral damage that's resulted from the feud, and where each party could go from here. This is the most absolutely comprehensive analysis you will find of Kanye and Taylor on the Internet.

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

Aug 26, 2017

Taylor, look what you made us do! We have an obligation to defend Kanye in any and all scenarios, that goes double when it involves Taylor Swift, who released "Look What You Made Me Do" yesterday—and we're not wasting ANY time (tearing it apart). Anna joins Travis and Chris to analyze the death of "Old Taylor" and how it fits into the never-ending Kanye-Taylor feud. Then we discuss the other person who has beef with Kanye: Jay Z, who recently called out Kanye in both an interview and his new album.

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

Aug 24, 2017

We've got some real bad news, guys—we're gonna keep doing this podcast.

I know, I know...you thought this would be the last episode. But our Kanye fandom is just too mountainous to overcome, so we're probably just gonna keep talking to each from thousands of miles away until we've covered every last song that Kanye has had a hand in. That includes today with the ninth track on 808s and Heartbreak, Bad News, which mixes Kanye's heartbreak with romance and fame. Ultimately, the song is a precursor to what he'd accomplish on Runaway...so if that doesn't capture your attention, we don't know what will.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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