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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. 

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.

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.

 

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