Watch The Throne is the only album that captures the paradox of living in the land of Obama, in the time of Trayvon. It's often criticized for being an album for and by the one percent during the time of economic protests about inequality, but be that as it may, there's no other album that's so distinctly about the experience of being rich and famous beyond your wildest dreams in a country where you were once considered three fifths of a man.
That's why it's filled with so much tension. There's a tension between Jay and Kanye for sure, almost as if they guilted each other into making an album of social value, except their egos made them internalize their ideas. But there's an overarching tension too, and an understated anger; the festering legacies of generations past, a history that refuses to be forgotten, a history that rears its ugly head when you realize that the American dream wasn't meant for everyone.
Jay's all black everything mantra gains a new sense of fervor in this context, one that borders on CB4 level parody but is dead serious whether he's listing off his blackest items on "Who Gone Stop Me?" ("Black cards, black cars/Black on black, black broads/Whole lotta money in a black bag/Black strap, you know what that's for") or uttering the album's mission statement on "Murder To Excellence" ("Black excellence, opulence, decadence"). Is this a rich guy album? Yeah, it's rich in context and rich in content. But how many rich guys make albums this good? — Insanul Ahmed