The big music news this week was, of course, the (pretty much) leak-free release of Best of Both... errr, Watch The Throne, the joint album from hip hop superheroes/chief commanders of floss, Mr. Jay-Z and Mr. Kanye West.
OK, so the Spike Jonze (Beastie Boys, Björk, Ludacris) directed clip opens with J ‘n’ K in their respective Nikes descending upon a Maybach which is quickly remixed and given a Batmobile/Mad Max makeover by a crack team of Daft Punk-esque ride pimpers. The rest of the video features the dynamic duo rattling off a list of reasons why we all suck cuz we’re not them as they cruise in their Maybach To The Future whip and pal around while flanked by models, explosions and and a giant American flag… God bless Amercia?
Anyways, its a somewhat scaled down video treatment and surprising considering the big budget spectacle it could have been given the A-list talent involved. I’m sure the car and the “glove sparks” will be the big talk of this clip while that broach thingy on Jay’s t-shirt will undoubtedly spark a new trend with hypebeasts as it becomes the most Googled accessory by the time the sun comes up. And though I was hoping for more than just cliché braggadocious rhymes from two cats who are revered for their lyricism, I will at least give them props—- OK, a prop—- for at least sparing us yet another bottle poppin’, celeb cameo filled club video. The camaraderie on display here between these two is a nice switch up from the usual limiting and dysfunctional “I smoke n*ggas like Newports” accepted form of expression between two black men.
However, I do have one huge gripe with this clip, although it’s certainly not the only hip hop video guilty of it: so you have these two celebrated rappers who come from the mean streets of Brooklyn and Chicago—- men who have become multi-millionaires selling stories of ghetto struggles and positioning themselves as hood ambassadors. Sure, their extraordinary wealth has them running with a different class, or rather set, of people but the key to them remaining relevant as artists depends almost entirely on Jay ‘n’ Ye continuing to rep for “tha block”. Keeping all of that in mind, I gotta say I was a bit disappointed watching this video of these two brothas flossin’ in their sci-fi luxury sedan with a backseat full of… white girls????
Now I certainly don’t have anything against the Suzy/Sally set and if black girls got an equal amount of shine in say, a Kings of Leon or even a Maroon 5 video then I would be all, “Hey… reign on, colorblind casting!” However, its the same white girls in those rock/pop videos too so if the hood reppin’ hip hop cats ain’t checkin’ for the sistas, then who is? Where is the love for the cocoa cuties? Y’all couldn’t find any fine black girls? I mean, it’s Tasha from ‘round the way who is throwin’ up the roc at the club every weekend and saving a few dollars from each paycheck to buy Watch The Throne tour tickets. The video’s rented euro-models and their champagne swilling fanbase? ——to them, Jay-Z and Kanye West are probably “Beyoncé‘s husband” and “the guy that totally ruined Taylor Swift’s moment”... I’m just sayin’.
O.K. rant over. The video was aight; the car was cool and the eye candy could’ve use a bit more ummm, “flava”. Grade: C+
Oh, and I haven’t digested the entire album yet, but “No Church In The Wild” is already a standout for me.
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