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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: Page 5
May 24, 2016

Is this another Breathe In Breathe Out moment? For a long time, Chris and Travis had little to no opinion of Champion—but after a long discussion? They think they may have stumbled upon an under-appreciated Kanye track. They get into Kanye's reflections on his past with his father, the deeply layered production, Kanye's influence on Chicago, and how Champion fits into the themes explored on Graduation as a whole.

May 21, 2016

Chris and Travis further prove they have absolutely zero self control with the latest WTT news episode. They try to stay on track before veering off into a 20-minute discussion of Kanye appearing on Ellen, followed by Brandon Flowers hating Kanye, Bill Simmons loving Kanye, Kim taking a pregnancy test, and Jay Z working on his calf muscles. Sigh.

May 16, 2016

Today, Chris and Travis make WTT history! OK...it's not that exciting, but they've definitely never covered a track featuring Kanye West, and what better time than the present? They dig into ScHoolboy Q's new track THat Part in a slightly different manner than usual, attempting to figure out if Kanye and Q are actually working together to find a deeper dichotomy and explore rap culture. It's that, or it's just a superficial track—you be the judge.

May 14, 2016

For a light week in Kanye news, Chris and Travis still manage to find lots to talk about? With Elijah Wood showing love for Yeezus, Jay Z unclogging toilets, a brand new Keeping Up With the Kardashians, and (as always) the Kanye subreddit, there's never a shortage of WTT news bulletins.

May 9, 2016

I gotta testify—it's time to talk about Touch the Sky. That's right, Chris and Travis are going back to 2005 to discuss what is probably one of Kanye's most "superficial" songs, aka a super-fun song that talks about being awesome and reaching the high heavens. They discuss how Kanye drifts between past, present, and future, the tension between fame and representing your home, and how the song fits into Late Registration as a whole. They also spend 1.5 seconds trying to figure out Lupe Fiasco's verse before self-performing lobotomies.

May 7, 2016

Things really go off the rails in this episode, as would be the case with Chris and Travis finally back together to cover the week in Kanye West news: Kanye goes on the Steve Harvey radio show and makes some comments about racism; the gang gauges the Kanye Barometer with Kevin Sorbo and Meryl Streep; Jay Z has some conflicted emotions about Lemonade and lemonade; the Kardashians go to Kuba; and the Kanye Subreddit drifts towards complete fucking insanity.

Tune in Monday for when Chris and Travis cover Touch the Sky.

May 3, 2016

This is a God dream...this is a God dream! This is everything—this is, finally, Ultralight Beam (from The Life of Pablo). What Chris and Travis once thought would take years has only taken a few months, as they're now dissecting what could indeed be Kanye West's greatest song to date. They get into Kanye's struggle with his faith, the duality between innocence and imperiledness, and, ultimately, how you can believe enough in yourself to create beam of light. Overall, they unpack how Ultralight Beam signals Kanye's album-long narrative of finding his younger, hopeful, faith-driven, optimistic, Chance-esque self.

Apr 30, 2016

Chris is gone, but Travis is here to report the week in everything Kanye-related with future StorYe guest Tony Walter. They discuss Kanye's wedding antics, gauge the Kanye Barometer with Alec Baldwin, praise Jay Z's strange obsession with Tidal's Twitter account, check in on Kim's Snapchat, and say goodbye to one of r/Kanye's most beloved followers.

Tune in Monday for when they cover Ultralight Beam.

Apr 25, 2016

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 primes the character on the album, and how the insanely deep and stripped down production feeds into all of it.

Apr 22, 2016

Chris and very special guest Jordan C. Jordan cover the latest in Watching the Throne news for the week of 4.15.2016. Kanye drops some bombshells on Kocktails with Khloe, WTT gauges the Kanye Barometer, Azealia Banks says things, and then something about Jay-Z and LeBron's penis.

Tune in next episode for when Chris, Travis, and Jordan cover On Sight.

Apr 18, 2016

Chris and Travis are finally moving on to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, starting with the epic track Dark Fantasy. They analyze the song's general sprawling nature and how it toys with our collective perception of fame, while also working through how the song serves as an intro to the album and how it fits into Kanye's oeuvre as a whole. 

Apr 15, 2016

Chris and Travis cover the latest in Watching the Throne news for the week of 4.7.2016. Kanye tops the Billboard charts, North goes on a pushup ride, Kim wears some truly outrageous(ly awesome) shades, and Jay Z becomes a second baseman. 

Tune in next episode for when they cover Dark Fantasy.

Apr 4, 2016

The WTT crew is taking a week off from analyzing Kanye West songs to hear from one of his biggest fans: Lauren Kelly has gone from passive Kanye listener to insatiable aficionado in just a few short years, and she's ready to tell the world her StorYe. Lauren also counts down her favorite songs, her favorite and least favorite lines, and even has some Jay Z news, because who doesn't these days.

Mar 23, 2016

The WTT crew is finally diving into Kanye West's controversial album 808s & Heartbreaks by breaking down Say You Will line for line. Chris and Travis get into the song's unique structure, the themes of fantasy, yearning, and heartbreak, and how the song signals a new era for Ye's production. They also go through Travis' Snapchat account for a very important Kim Kardashian update, and finally address the Jay Z cliffhanger from last episode.

Mar 15, 2016

Good morning! Seriously...wake up! Because it's time for another episode of Watching the Throne. Today, Chris and Travis are covering Kanye West's opening track to Graduation, Good Morning. They're really starting to dig into Kanye's progression as both a producer and a lyricist, as Good Morning marks the first song where Kanye clearly sets up a narrative arc for an album and serves as a lead-in to the sound he creates on 808s & Heartbreaks. We get into all that and more, with the "more" being a cliffhanger regarding Jay Z's hatred for black licorice.

Mar 7, 2016

Nothing's ever promised tomorrow today...except the latest episode of Watching the Throne! (sorry about that) Today Chris and Travis are breaking down Kanye West's Heard 'Em Say with a very special guest (Chris' friend Alex), comparing and contrasting how Late Registration and College Dropout differ in their introductions and discussing how the song foreshadows many of Kanye's musical and lyrical accomplishments in the years to come. And while it's a pretty low-key day for Jay Z news, you had best believe they still got the goods.

Feb 27, 2016

What a historic day! Chris and Travis are finally (finally!) wrapping up College Dropout with one of Kanye's most impressive songs, Last Call. They discuss everything that's transcendent about the album closer—from the near-10-minute adlibbed story to the self-confidence permeating throughout—as well as the team's future plans for tackling Kanye's discography. Oh yeah, and more importantly, Jay Z decides if he's a cat or a dog person.

Feb 21, 2016

"I miss the sweet Kanye. Chop up the beats Kanye." Well, if that's how you really feel, today Chris and Travis are discussing the Family Business Kanye. They're talking cousins, grannies, and aunties in addition to The Life of Pablo, Jay Z, Tidal, North, etc. Nothing new there.

Feb 13, 2016

Through the fiiiiire! To the limit to the walllll!!!!! That's right, Chris and Travis finally made it to what is perhaps Kanye's most famous song—Through the Wire. They discuss how the second-chance-at-life themes hint at Kanye's progression and inflated ego, as well as some insider Jay Z news and, of course, The Life of Pablo.

Jan 7, 2016

Fact: Chris and Travis love Kanye West. Fact: They have been going through Kanye's discography in order so far. Fact: They like breaking the rules. And that's why today they're giving everyone a BONUS episode that's out of the norm by covering Kanye's brand new single Facts. They discuss how Kanye's obsession with fashion has bled into his music, the song's relation to Drake and Future's Jumpman, and why Kanye should probably just stay away from diss tracks. 

Dec 30, 2015

Chris and Travis are officially working their way through what is arguably the strongest stretch of songs on College Dropout by breaking down the epically epic Two Words. They discuss the lack of thematic structure in relation to the strong aesthetics and production, Kanye's love for Chicago, and what Freeway's crazy-ass verse says about Kanye as a rookie in the studio. Also, North and Kim get matching French braids, Kanye buys Kim 150 Christmas presents, and Jay Z starts a nationwide manhunt to find his favorite pajamas.

Dec 14, 2015

For the first time in Watching the Throne history, Chris and Travis are at a loss. They love Kanye. They love everything he's ever created: Yeezus, Breathe In Breathe Out, North West, Drake—even the songs featuring Jay Z! But, alas, here they are presented with a song that just doesn't make any sense. Listen as they try to figure out what is actually going on in School Spirit and discuss whether or not it is, indeed, the worst song in Kanye's entire discography.

Dec 2, 2015

They've been hyping it for weeks, and now it's finally here: Chris and Travis have dubbed Breathe In Breathe Out one of Kanye's worst songs in the past—but now confronted with dissecting the song, have they had a change of heart? Do they hate it even more? Does the song reveal a deeper thematic narrative on the album? Did North become the youngest person to ever get a driver's license? Does Jay-Z finally try double-stuffed Oreos? Will you stop asking questions and just listen to this episode already?

Nov 25, 2015

Just when you thought it couldn't get crazier than The New Workout Plan, Chris and Travis decide to go and cover the meta-R&B tribute Slow Jamz. The Watching the Throne crew debates over what the setting for this song could possibly be, while exploring the nostalgia Kanye and Twista hold for R&B and how it shapes the song's themes. Also, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy turns five years old, North has a new 'do, and Jay-Z is the new Santa.

Nov 18, 2015

I wanna see you work out...to this brand new episode! Chris and Travis are jumping into the bizarre abyss known as The New Workout Plan, hoping they come out on the other side alive. They go deeper than anybody has ever gone on the themes of the song, such working out, getting fit, pullin' yaself a balla man, and avoiding mocha lattes—oh, and hitting on girls, because duh. They also have the Watching-the-Thone-exclusive latest Jay-Z updates you've come to know and love, and provide more proof that Kanye should win Father of the Year.

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