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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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If you're coming from the Pitchfork article, hey! And I'm so sorry this looks so...much like this. 

This is the basic media player for WATCHING THE THRONE: A LYRICAL ANALYSIS OF KANYE WEST.

You can find the podcast on itunes, Spotify, TuneIn, Stitcher, and more!

Or you can visit our regular website by clicking here.

Really appreciate you taking the time to check out the show. We've covered 85+ songs, have 200+ episodes, and have an interview series called My StorYe. 

We're currently going track by track through ye and Kids See Ghosts. Every Wednesday is a new ye episode. Every Saturday is a new Kids See Ghosts 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.

Jan 9, 2018

It's taken us two years to finally reach this point, which we know has created a lot of TRUST ISSUES with our real fans—but we're in town for the day, and guess what the fuck we doin'? 

We talkin' Real Friends.

The penultimate track track on The Life of Pablo's main storyline is upon us, and Chris and Travis are making sure to cover all bases before heading into the epic Wolves. In their analysis, they place Real Friends in context of everything: TLOP's narrative, Kanye's growth as a father, the story of Saul/Paul, Kanye's real-life deviation from his family, and stark realities of Ye's mental well-being—it's all here. And it's all critical to understanding Real Friends.

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

Jan 5, 2018

In a typically meta move by the WTT crew, Chris, Travis, and Jordan decide the only way to properly analyze I'm In It is to trap themselves in a two-hour podcast that just won't seem to f**king end. They eventually emerge from breaking down one of Kanye West's greatest songs, but not before trekking in-depth through the track's mix of identity politics, sexual aggression, and existential anxiety.

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

 

This is an archived episode that has been remastered.

Dec 22, 2017

Tyler Barstow is the co-founder of the record of the month club "Vinyl Me Please." More importantly, he's a mega Kanye fan. 

http://www.vinylmeplease.com

The 2017 releases were pretty awesome, including vinyls of Biggie, Gorillaz, and Miles Davis. 

Dec 20, 2017

So, do you think See You In My Nightmares is one of the worst songs off 808s & Heartbreak?

Well, get ready to have your mind blown. Because Chris and Travis are not only here to argue that it's a great song—they're here to argue it's the centerpiece of 808s. See You In My Nightmares is an amalgamation of everything the album is exploring, melding the pain, the frustration, the contrived ego, the sadness, the anger, the betrayal into one big ball of oh-my-god-this-is-too-much-too-handle.

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.

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

This is an archived episode that has been remastered.

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.

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