JAY-Z and Kanye West's chemistry in the studio had been undeniable throughout the early 2000s. When they joined forces to cook up an album together, the legendary rappers created a moment in Hip-Hop that fans will never forget.
On August 8, 2011, JAY-Z and Kanye West released their joint album Watch The Throne. The idea for the project began as a five-track EP, which Ye announced on Twitter a year before its release. Once they began recording, the idea expanded into a 12-track LP. Watch The Throne contains the lead single "Otis," which samples Otis Redding's "Try A Little Tenderness," "H.A.M." and "N****s In Paris."
"H.A.M" (Hard As a Motherf***er) arrived in the second week of January 2011 and set the standard for their joint album. Ye's double entendre for his bar "That s**t cray" went on to impact pop culture forever while Hov's bars comparing Baby's [Birdman] money to his lady's [Beyoncé] money fanned the flames to his past beef with Lil Wayne. Reazy Renegade, a producer who was in the studio with Ye before he released "H.A.M.," recently described Wayne's reaction when Ye first played the song for the Young Money founder.
"Wayne was like 'Stop the record,'" Renegade recalled. "Ye stopped the record and everybody looking crazy. He just got up and left and said 'Gentlemen.' At that point, that was when that beef started and I literally witnessed the moment where he realized it was a diss because Lil Wayne's listening to the lyrics more than he's listening to the beat so he's listening to what Jay said. He got up and left. Mack Maine and all of the left. We was looking like... Kanye was just like 'Oh well I'm go get something to eat.' He like brushed it off."
WARNING: EXPLICIT LANGUAGE
Despite the drama, the song ended up reaching Gold status and cleared the way for other singles like "Otis" to make waves ahead of the album's release. In addition to the aforementioned iconic records, Watch The Throne also features collaborations with Beyoncé, Frank Ocean, Mr. Hudson, The-Dream, Curtis Mayfield, Charlie Wilson, Kid Cudi and more. As far as production goes, RZA, Pete Rock, Swizz Beatz, Mike Dean, The Neptunes, Q-Tip, Lex Luger and others all contributed to the project.
After spending a month in rotation, the album reached platinum status with over 5 million units sold. Over the course of two years after its release, the album was nominated for several Grammys including Best Rap Album but ultimately, "N****s In Paris" collected trophies in 2013 for Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song while "No Church In The Wild" won Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.
Listen to Watch The Throne below.