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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
You'll have to wait one more episode for The New Workout Plan—Chris and Travis have another StorYe to explore, this time with Joshua Chaplinsky, author of Kanye West Reanimator, a reimagining of H.P. Lovecraft's classic sci-fi novella with Kanye West as the main character. They discuss Joshua's inspiration for the story, whether or not he's gained an appreciation for Kanye by researching for the book, and what the hell is going on with Mr. West's fashion line.
You can follow Joshua on Twitter at @JaceyCockrobin, visit his website at www.joshuachaplinsky.com, and order "Kanye West Reanimator" on Amazon.
Chris and Travis have been talking about it for weeks, and now it's officially time to analyze Kanye's epically weird Get Em High—accompanied by a new theme song crafted by former WTT guest Jordan C. Johnson! They discuss the four-part song featuring Kanye's usual attention to narrative structure, an expectedly solid entry from Talib Kweli and an uncharacteristically random and spotty verse from Common. Also, Kanye performs 808s & Heartbreaks in its entirety, North buddies up to Ellen Degeneres, and Jay-Z finally figures out what that one light switch turns on.
The gang is back—but this time, they're not dissecting a song by Kanye West. Instead, they're kicking off the first official entry into the "My StorYe" interview series, where they discuss somebody's journey with Kanye West. Today we have a KanVert, and his name is Jordan C. Johnson. He discusses how Kanye's music changed not only the way he listened to music, but changed his life as well. In addition, the gang discusses hip hop and pop music in a broader sense, the VMAs, and breaks down Yeezus about two years ahead of the Watching the Throne schedule. Oh, and Jordan has a Jay-Z update? Crazy.
Chris and Travis like to troll Jay-Z, but they can no longer avoid talking about him in their discussion of Never Let Me Down. They analyze the random elements, ideas, and storylines explored by the three featured rappers—Kanye's ability to build a narrative in just one verse, J. Ivy's ability to poignantly express his faith, and Jay-Z's ability to, um, talk about himself. Also, we discuss the ethics of Kanye's quest to make North West the highest paid baby on television.
Chris and Travis are tackling what is perhaps Kanye West's biggest song: Jesus Walks. They analyze the early stages of Kanye's world-building writing, his ability to express anger and frustration, and the themes of religion, racism, and the inner duality of good and evil—and, ultimately, why the song's structure limits it from achieving greatness. Also, North West updates, and maybe some Jay-Z stuff if they find the time.
Chris and Travis are slogging their way through College Dropout, and this time around, they're covering the extremely underrated Spaceship. They analyze the themes of oppression and achieving your dreams through hard work in the song, along with discussing the petition to keep Kanye out of the Pan Am games, North West's popcorn butter mishap, and Jay-Z's strange obsession with Channing Tatum's abs.
Episode 2 of Watching the Throne. Here, we analyze All Falls Down, discussing the structure of the song, how an early classic like this compares to Yeezus-level Ye, his use of cliches, and other literary techniques he uses to construct the song. Aside from that, we discuss Jay-Z visiting Austin and Minneapolis in one weekend, Kanye in Glastonbury, and North West being sleepy sleepy.
Chris and Travis launch head-first into Kanye West's discography with the song We Don't Care on Kanye's debut album, College Dropout. We discuss the themes of materialism, education, youth, hardship, rebellion, and artistry permeating throughout the song. We also try to put the song into Kanye's perspective as an artist and a new rapper representing Chicago, as well as talk about our memories of first hearing the song. We also look over some Kanye newswire items, talk about North West's second birthday, and may or may not discuss something Jay-Z did over the weekend.
Chris and Travis proudly present Watching the Throne, the podcast that discusses everything Kanye West. This episode briefly introduces the idea for the podcast, the format of the show, and what we hope listeners (Kanye haters and lovers) can get out of it.