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Sept. 15, 2011

Watch The Throne vs. Tha Carter IV

by Eli Schwadron, Online Sports Editor
Christmas came early for hip-hop fans this year. On Aug. 8, rap goliaths Kanye West and Jay-Z released their long-awaited collaboration, "Watch The Throne." Less than a month later, former self-proclaimed "best rapper alive" Lil Wayne finally dropped "Tha Carter IV" after multiple delays and push-backs. Reactions to each album were immediate and all over the map. Tracks from "Watch The Throne" started trending on Twitter mere minutes after the album came out, and "Tha Carter IV" earned both praise and criticism the instant it leaked on Aug. 23. Here at SCO, we took the time fully digest each tracklist, and after some deliberation, we've decided that both "Watch The Throne" and "Carter IV" are solid listens – neither one falls flat under enormous hype and expectation. But which project stands out between the two to claim rap supremacy in 2011?

Tunechi's back

Courtesy of RapDose.com
"Tha Carter IV" was one of the most highly anticipated rap albums in recent years— but does it live up to the hype?
"I’ve been gone too long, true or false, right or wrong?" Lil Wayne inquires on "Blunt Blowin," the opening track of "Tha Carter IV." The line, in reference to Wayne’s eight-month prison stint in Rikers Island, sets the scene for one of the most highly anticipated rap albums in recent years.

Released on Sept. 2, C4 doesn’t come close to the first three installments of the Carter series – but the album still comes through as one of the year’s best thanks to Weezy’s trademark genius lyrics and dope beats. "Tunechi you a murderer, boy you just be killing s***/Yeah you know that money talk, I am the ventriloquist," Wayne spits on one of his more lyrically potent tracks, "Megaman," in which Weezy goes in for three minutes over an addicting, high-pitched pounding beat that samples the theme song from the video game of the same name. The track screams classic Wayne, with outrageous wordplay and swagger at a premium. "President Carter" is another gem, featuring Wayne's more laid-back flow spliced with quotes from President Jimmy Carter's inauguration over melodic harp tones.

Unfortunately, the rest of the C4's tracks aren't as reminiscent of Lil Tunechi's earlier projects. Songs like "Nightmares of the Bottom," "How to Hate," and "How to Love" are proof that Weezy's gone a little soft, especially when thrown side-by-side with hard-hitting tracks like "It's Good" and "John." Realistically, there's no way C4 could have matched up to 2008's "Tha Carter III—" an album that sold over a million copies in its first week and earned a Grammy for Best Rap Album. Therefore, it's important to look past a few oddball songs on "Carter IV" and instead focus on the six or seven strong tracks that display Weezy's clever rhymes and rugged flow.

Heirs to the Throne

Kanye West and Jay-Z performing at the VMA awards. "Watch The Throne" has earned high praise from both fans and critics. Courtesy of MTV
Kanye West and Jay-Z performing at the VMA awards. "Watch The Throne" has earned high praise from both fans and critics.
Kanye West and Jay-Z announced they’d be making "Watch The Throne" in Oct. 2010, and during the ten months to follow, fans salivated at the thought of these two polished rap veterans dropping a full-length album together. ‘Ye and Jay did not disappoint. "Watch The Throne" is more of a work of art than a hip-hop album in that each and every track has its own feel and flavor, featuring crazy creative beats and crafty verses.

"I wish I could give you this feeling/I’m planking on a million," Hov confidently boasts on "Gotta Have It," the center of attention shifting back and forth from Kanye to Jay-Z as they swap verses over a Neptunes-produced beat. Meanwhile, up-and-comer Frank Ocean shows off his pipes during guest appearances on "No Church in the Wild" and "Made in America." But the highlight of the album is the track entitled "Murder to Excellence," a song split in two halves – the first a tragic tale of homicide, the second a celebration of "black excellence, opulence, decadence." In a moving verse, Kanye raps about his hometown of Chicago: "And I’m from the murder capital where they murder for capital/Heard about at least three killings this afternoon/Looking at the news like damn, I was just with him after school/No shop class, but half the school got a tool."

WTT has it all, from stellar production to cunning lyrics to a high dosage of swag emanating from every single song. Apart from a couple less-than-average bonus tracks, Kanye and Jay-Z have created one for the ages with this project.

The Verdict

You can’t go wrong with either of these albums. But if your iPod is close to full and you’ve got to choose between the two, go with "Watch The Throne." It’s different from a lot of the boring, meaningless hip-hop out there today. Unlike other albums, you can easily go through the entire tracklist without skipping a song. "Tha Carter IV," on the other hand, is not as complete. There are songs here and there that make you scratch your head and say, "C’mon, Wayne. Really?" As a result, it would be wiser to go out and cop "Watch The Throne—" in fact, there's no question — you've simply "Gotta Have It."


Watch The Throne
Best Tracks:
Paris, Gotta Have It, Murder to Excellence

Memorable lines:
"No brakes, I need State Farm/So many watches I need eight arms/One neck but got eight charms" – Jay-Z, "Who Gon Stop Me"

"Heard Yeezy was racist, well, I guess that’s on one basis/I only like green faces" – Kanye West, "Who Gon Stop Me"

"I'm liable to go Michael, take your pick/Jackson, Tyson, Jordan, Game 6" – Jay-Z, "Paris"

Carter IV
Best Tracks:
Blunt Blowin, She Will, President Carter, It’s Good

Memorable Lines:
"We jack son and then light up the L, Samuel" – Lil Wayne, "Megaman"

"This a crazy world and life is shorter than Bushwick" – Lil Wayne, "Megaman"

"I just throw the alley-oop to Drake Griffin" – Lil Wayne, "It’s Good"

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  • guy (View Email) on September 15, 2011 at 4:11 PM
    this is vulgar!
  • liable2gomichael (View Email) on September 15, 2011 at 5:45 PM
    NICE....yeah i enjoyed both albums, wayne has his gem moments on C4, but 'Watch the Throne' is damn near classic (besides illest mother alive -I just dont like that song)
  • Morris (View Email) on September 15, 2011 at 9:25 PM
    hell carter iv is the best album in a while ,... it relates to almost anybody. a classic in my books... wtt has too much money talk to make u lose interest quick. just what i think
  • MaybachsOnBachsOnBachs on September 15, 2011 at 9:41 PM
    Probably one of the best articles you've written yet, Schwad.
  • Blazer on September 15, 2011 at 10:37 PM
    carter iv doesn't even compare to watch the throne. The carter iv is forgettable album and waynes most forgettable album
    • amelkebede (View Email) on September 16, 2011 at 11:21 AM
      yessssssss
  • Harrison H Reed (View Email) on September 16, 2011 at 8:48 AM
    The Carter IV is reaallly some garbage. The only tough songs on it are Intro, Interlude, Outro.
    • YOu Stupid.!!! (View Email) on September 20, 2011 at 10:17 AM
      You Stupid.!!!
  • amelkebede (View Email) on September 16, 2011 at 11:02 AM
    WATCH THE THRONE
  • WTT truely rocks.....otis (View Email) on September 17, 2011 at 6:53 PM
    Enter Your Comment Here.
  • Jordan A. Johnson (View Email) on September 18, 2011 at 6:58 PM
    WATCH THE THRONE > carter iv.
  • critic on September 19, 2011 at 7:59 AM
    both are garbage
  • CRM on September 19, 2011 at 1:46 PM
    Watch The Throne is a Classic moment in Hip-Hop not just a classic album. Every song has some substance or at least a theme. Even on some of the more commercial sounding tracks, if you listen a little harder, you will hear lyrics that noone out there is spitting. The Carter 4 is a skid mark on the underpants of the music world. No Comparison. And im from New Orleans. This was an easy one. If you dont like WTT, you havent heard it yet or you werent listening. go get the album and an urban dictionary and break down all words. Its Sick..........
  • CRM on September 19, 2011 at 1:47 PM
    Watch The Throne is a Classic moment in Hip-Hop not just a classic album. Every song has some substance or at least a theme. Even on some of the more commercial sounding tracks, if you listen a little harder, you will hear lyrics that noone out there is spitting. The Carter 4 is a skid mark on the underpants of the music world. No Comparison. And im from New Orleans. This was an easy one. If you dont like WTT, you havent heard it yet or you werent listening. go get the album and an urban dictionary and break down all words. Its Sick..........
  • Watch the throne is the bomb' murder team.C4 cant (View Email) on September 19, 2011 at 2:15 PM
    WTT is the best,just watch it coz u Gatta have it.
  • Lil Wayne is goin to win.!!!!! (View Email) on September 20, 2011 at 10:14 AM
    Enter Your Comment Here.
  • Gosh It cant Be (View Email) on September 28, 2011 at 9:19 PM
    Watch the throne simply is way better. Like its Jay Z and Kanye West, Jesus and God working together in one album. Lil Wayne has lost it after the Carter III which personally is one of my fav album of all time. After Carter III, Rebirth was terrible for a after album and Im not a human being was okay I guess nothing spectacular. But Jay came off after making Blueprint (Love it) and Kanye Came with A AMAZING Album My beautiful Dark twisted fantasy ( my favorite album of ALL time ) When two artist come off Great Albums like those two. Its Like trying to Stop a avalanche. Impossible. Watch the throne Simply is staying on top of its Castle and the carter 4 it gotta come back for more lessons from Jay Z And Kanye West. Lil Wayne you are now watching the throne that Jay Z and Kanye West Made :). WTT Is up there :)
  • Who gon Stop me (View Email) on September 28, 2011 at 9:26 PM
    Part 2: Also, With Kanye West doing most of the producing in the album. He did his job really well with His beats and his lyrics. But we gotta be thankful that Jay Z brought his "younger brother" to the Rap game. The Best song in the Album for me personally has to be New Day. The rappers rap about life if they had a son, Well At least Kanye West raps about that lol. But on Jay Z side, Hes sentimental about his unborn son and raps about his past of being a son of a man who abandon his family. Its like Jay Z is writting a letter to his unborn son. Its a amazing Sentimental song. Were both rappers go out of the Comfort zone into doing this. AMAZING.
  • Its a New Day (View Email) on September 28, 2011 at 9:33 PM
    Part 3: Now onto Lil wayne Carter 4. Honestly i think people give lil wayne too much neck. Thats why he sold more Yes being honest that IS WHY. Hes just lost his swag from what he use to have. Carter III is a simple Classic. From Lollipop to Mrs Officer to Mr Carter. Simply amazing..... Now Onto the Carter IV. His Features was real good thou Like She Will was said to be the best, theres also "John" which is personally my favorite. Remember me like John Lenon burried in Loui im talking all brown Lenons. How to Love was good because Lil Wayne finally put a song that people can relate to love wise with out curses a clean good song. Mirror was also a good song adding bruno mars with a slow beat and nice flow. I like it
  • Decesion TIME (View Email) on September 28, 2011 at 9:37 PM
    Overall: Jay Z & Kanye West "Watch The Throne" ★★★★★★★★★ out of ★★★★★★★★★★
    Lil Wayne's "Carter IV" ★★★★★★ out of ★★★★★★★★★★
    . WINNER: "Watch the throne" Like said " You simply Gotta Have it" Who gon stop Kanye And Jay Z. And btw J Coles " Cole world: The sideline story" Is out. Good Album Go download people.
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