Yes, I'm bitter. I was "stickin" as the Trinis would say. I was stickin, and I didn't jump on tickets the day they went on sale like I normally would. And so, tonight and tomorrow night (Nov. 23 & 24, 2011), Jay-Z and Kanye West will be just mere kilometers away from me, down at the Air Canada Centre for their Watch the Throne tour...and I will be at home, listening to the CD and cursing my bad timing.
But so it go.
Big concerts for me are like inspiration waiting to happen. Especially from big artists. It's an opportunity for me to take in someone else's phenomenal creativity, internalize it, and eventually reproduce it into my own art form: writing.
Here are 12 reasons why I SHOULD have bought "Watch the Throne" tour tickets...
#01) No Church in the Wild ~ I originally loved this song because Frank Ocean really reminds me of Canadian rapper K-OS. And I think K-OS is dope. The sombre rap-singing (now made signature style by Drake, of course) but it truly fits the ongoing crescendo of this song. Perfect intro to the album.
#02) Lift Off ~ Right now this is my favourite track on the album. I don't know about Miss Beyonce...but her vocals have really strengthened lately. I notice that this year she's got a new passion, a new depth, and new texture to her voice that I haven't really heard before. This song inspires me, and she blends well with Ye and her huuusband. Love that Q-Tip helped produce this.
#03) Niggas in Paris ~ This song is a banger. Labour Day weekend this year I was tuned into Hot 97 in NY online, and the DJs literally played this song around the clock. Every half hour, easily and I was hooked! A couple weeks later during a trip to Miami, it was also on heavy rotation. That makes this song the unofficial soundtrack to the end of 2011...and it still sounds good!
#04) Otis ~ I didn't like this song at first, but it took me going back to the original Otis Redding track to truly appreciate it. It doesn't have the vibe and style I've grown to love from Kanye, but definitely has a distinctive Jay-Z flavour to it. It always sounds like a bit of an interlude, rather than a full track...but I can still vibe to it same way.
#05) Gotta Have It ~ Love the production on this song. So crisp. This was done by Kanye and The Neptunes, and it's great. I like the bounce and the punch to this song, and particularly how Kanye flows on it...Maybachs on bachs on bach on bachs on bachs...fantastic!
#06) New Day ~ Lyrics on this song are dope. I love Kanye. Honestly. I love him because there's 101 reasons to NOT like him, but I really just take to his spirit. Behind that braggadocio there is total vulnerability, and I think this song is a perfect example of that. This track reminds me of his last album...could easily blend in with that mood/feel. Jay-Z's verses are aright...not as powerful, but still continues to the story...less vulnerability, but same passion.
#07) That's My Bitch ~ Not my favourite song on the album, but very reminiscent of the early 90s to me. Kinda reminds me of Eric B & Rakim's song from the movie "Juice," Know the Ledge. It moves.
#08) Welcome to the Jungle ~ This song is funky! Produced by Swiss Beatz; I don't mind it. The track is a little bland (since my preference leans more to Kanye's orchestral riddims), but I do enjoy the little bit of melody that comes in and out. Lyrically, it's aright...but overall just a smooth interlude...
#09) Who Gon Stop Me ~ This is the type of song that needs to play at the end of the movie when the credits are about to roll. Very powerful, very conclusive, very heavy. Jay-Z flows nicely on this one...
#10) Murder to Excellence ~ Swizz Beatz again...and while I don't doubt he's a great producer, I can definitely feel the difference between his tracks, and Kanye's. I'm a Kanye fan 99% based on how his songs make me FEEL...this one doesn't have it. Definitely has it's own vibe, can't help but dig the piano loops. My favourite parts are when Kanye and Jay rap over the riddim breakdowns. Also love the second half of the song when the beat changes entirely...Jay-Z definitely shines here.
#11) Made in America ~ Sweet song, sweet vibe, very fitting for the end of the album. Again, I love Kanye's storytelling abilities. Love Jay's family tribute.
#12) Why I Love You ~ This song is cool. I love my rock music when I'm ready, and I particularly love it when it's infused with hip hop or other urban genres. Heavy strings, can't go wrong. Now this one would go hard in the big arena...but guess what? I won't get to hear it in the big arena for now.
So there's 12 reasons why I have had this album on steady rotation for a while now. 12 reasons why I SHOULD have called Ticketmaster the day the tickets went on sale for this week's "Watch the Throne" tour stop in Toronto...and 12 reasons why I will eagerly await the YouTube footage tomorrow morning to see how Yeezy and Jigga tear down the place tonight.
Here's some footage from the Madison Square Garden show back on November 7. I hear they pulled up "Ni**as in Paris" like 3 times...and rightfully so! These guys are dope. Top of the world right now, and a nice moment in hip hop history.
Written by Stacey Marie Robinson for Kya Publishing's "Urban Toronto Tales" blog.