After a year of hype and rumor, Jay-Z and Kanye West's Watch The Thronehit iTunes at midnight Sunday. With an exhaustive set of liner notes (in digital) and a who's-who of hip-hop in the credits, the wait (a month late now) is finally over. And amazingly, it avoided leaking early.
As per internet standard these days, Twitter held the equivalent of an evaluative block party, with critics, journalists, and fans alike tweeting lyrics and appraisal at one another well into the early morning. Gut reactions are important -- you only get one first impression, etc. -- and they certainly ran the gamut.
Perhaps the Throne's most ardent eyeballer was The Roots' Questlove, who had his fourth spin of the record at 3:23 a.m. He also tweeted an "OMG" in reaction to the track "Welcome To The Jungle." That's likely because of Hov's deep confessional, an expanded loveless lament that he began on Ye's "Monster."
Fuse's Hip-Hop Shop host and general Twitter instigator Toure pondered on the lack of "monoculture moments" such as the one that was happening online, as the album hit everywhere. He also stuck it pretty hard to Hov's detractors.
Pitchfork's Ryan Schreiber seemed to take pleasure in the ironic juxtaposition of Bon Iver's Justin Vernon in the credits for [censored on this domain]" -- the singer usually too heartfelt to express such brash sentiment. Meanwhile, the P4K-branched Altered Zones contingent seemedsomewhat less impressed, turning #WatchTheThrone into #WatchTheCouch apparently out of boredom.
I'm reserving any further judgment, beyond this: The end was the best part. It's streaming in full over at Pretty Much Amazing.