#2. Jay-Z & Kanye West, Watch The Throne
Label: Roc-A-Fella/Roc Nation/Def Jam
Released: August 8
Talk about great expectations. When two titans of the rap game team up, the result could have easily become one of most overhyped releases in history. Instead Yeezy and Hov rose to the occasion with a record that was not just grandiose but also stacked up well with their best work ever track for track.
On "Otis," they brought that classic Ye and Jay, rocking out out over a soul sample. On "Murder To Excellence" they made one of the most accomplished black power anthems in years. And "Niggas In Paris" was quite simply the most undeniable album of the year (even if they did insist on performing it 9 or 10 times a night!)
Musically and sonically, Kanye ran point, putting his touch every little thing after picking up some dope beats from legends like Pete Rock and RZA as well as newcomers like Lex Luger and Hit-Boy. Meanwhile, a reinvigorated Jigga spit some of his most potent bars in years on cuts like "No Church In The Wild," "Welcome To The Jungle," and "Why I Love You." The resulting album was not just an exercise in opulence and decadence—it was also a celebration of black excellence.