Kanye West and Jay-Z took it to the stars last night at New York City, New York’s Hayden Planetarium to debut their highly anticipated Watch the Throne, due August 8th. A select group of media mingled in the space exhibit of the Natural Museum of History before scuttling up an elevator to the Planetarium, where guests assembled in seats lining the orb and facing a platform of speakers.
Before playback began, a smiling ‘Ye did a victory lap and shook hands with those in the front row. Hov took a more subtle approach, entering with Beyonce and Kelly Rowland in tow and grabbing a seat near Solange Knowles, Lyor Cohen and Kevin Liles.
The lights dimmed as playback commenced, creating an unprecedented listening experience for those lucky enough to find a seat. As Watch the Throne triumphantly began, the sky illuminated for attendees to embark on a trip through the cosmos, zooming through galaxies and witnessing planets being born – often times, mistakenly synching to the music.
Given the level of hype surrounding the release, Jay and ‘Ye live up to expectations, crafting a sometimes woozy, sometimes speakerboxing collection. Highlights include the starry-eyed “Lift Off” featuring Beyonce, where she triumphantly sings, “We gon’ take it to the moon, take it to the stars / How many people you know can take it this far?”
RZA supplies the beat for “New Day,” where Kanye takes the first verse and Hov comes in second, both rapping to their unborn sons. On the cut, ‘Ye promises that his future kin to will take on character traits opposite of him, including the possibility of being a Republican.
Opener “No Church in the Wild” featuring Frank Ocean bookended the album with a less aggressive tone, while Swizz Beatz and S1 split production duties on the gargantuan “Murder to Excellence.” Ocean reappears in the 11th hour on the introspective “Made in America,” while Mr. Hudson helps the duo close the album with the rock-tinged “Why I Love You.”
Before closing the evening, Hov hopped on the mic to briefly thank attendees – including DJ Khaled, Busta Rhymes, Q-Tip, Grizzly Bear, DJ A-Trak, Pusha T, Adrienne Bailon, Angie Martinez, Miss Info and more – for coming, while ‘Ye smiled and declined to make any statements.