Album: Watch the Throne
Label: Roc-A-Fella/Roc Nation/Def Jam
As with much of The Throne project, Ye got the best of Jay on this one. Because really, who does wretched excess better than Kanye West? Where Jay indulges in standard-issue rap-mogul flossery—bragging about his watch collection and spilling Ace of Spades on his "sick Js"—Kanye digs into the dirty work of humiliating the less fortunate. Mr. West wastes no time belittling a bougie girl, telling her to meet him in the bathroom stall, and mocking her for ordering fish filet.
Listeners who've been paying attention since the outset of Kanye's career will recognize that he's still exploring the themes introduced on his College Dropout single "All Falls Down," a sympathetic portrait of a "single black female addicted to retail." The difference now is that his approach is less sympathetic than stuntastic. Not that he doesn't have fun with it. From his line about how Prince William should have married Kate and Ashley Olson to his "provocative" sample from Will Ferrell's Blades of Glory, Ye goes gorillas all the way. And just like the song says, "That shit cray." Don't let him get in his zone. —Rob Kenner