Anticipation for Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch The Throne has been building since August of 2010, when Kanye announced the project would be a five-song EP. In the months leading up to the August 8 release of the album, representatives from Universal Music Group, the parent company of Def Jam, who is releasing the album, have taken various measures to make sure the album did not leak prematurely. Advertising firm GroupM partnered with UMG and announced what it described as “an aggressive new anti-piracy policy.” The policy listed various Hip Hop sites and blogs (including HipHopDX.com) and essentially linked them with illegal peer-to-peer and file sharing sites. This announcement came despite the fact that many artists and music industry insiders within the UMG umbrella were and are still voluntarily giving material to the sites and blogs in hopes of free promotion.
In the meantime, Jay-Z’s manager John Meneilly also assured listeners the album wouldn’t leak. Yet when Jay and Kanye held a private Watch The Throne listening session at New York’s Hayden Planetarium, Hip Hop blogger DDotOmen snuck in some recording equipment and posted low-quality snippets of the songs on the Internet. Combat Jack and Dallas Penn addressed the issue on their PNC Radio Internet show, and Mike Dean, who mastered and presumably co-produced on Watch The Throne, gave his thoughts on the leaks.
“Just respect people’s work, you know?” Dean said. “We worked a long time on the album and then fucked up quality shit like that comes out, and it’s disrespectful. It’s like putting your finger in someone’s painting and just fucking it up.”
While some defended DDotOmen for potentially giving access to the millions who weren’t invited to the session, others saw it differently. Having allegedly crashed the session uninvited, the famed blogger wrote a rather favorable review of the album.
“All the other bloggers did the same thing, and they didn’t post [leaks],” Dean offered. “It fucks up the surprise when you hear all the songs for the first time in fucked up quality.”
Those interested will get a chance to hear the full album in all its digitally mastered glory, when Watch The Throne drops next Monday.