Ahh! With less than two weeks to go before the (now official) August 2 release date for Watch the Throne, hip-hop BFFs Jay-Z and Kanye West have finally released another single.
Those still upset with the heavy bluntness of “H.A.M.” should have an easier time digesting “Otis”: Yeah, there’s not really a chorus again, and it’s still two dudes talking shit in an aggressive manner, but this thing’s certainly more musical than the Waka Flocka Flame–indebted first official offering. Of course, when you’re sampling a nice big chunk of Otis Redding’s “Try a Little Tenderness,” it’s hard not to be more musical. Credit here, though, for cutting out the sample before it reaches the peak of its chorus; it’s certainly not the easy way out, and it subtly gets at the “cool guy jerks” vibe Jay and ‘Ye are apparently going for with this project. (Also, credit for having the funds to actually clear this sample.) It’s also cool they split their lyrics up into mini-verses, gleefully jumping in on the end of each other’s lines old-school Beastie Boys–style. Speaking of lyrics: How does Jay hold up?
Since ‘Ye’s still at the prime of his abilities, he’s liable to outrap his lyrically-far-more-accomplished mentor on any given track, and that could get awkward over the course of a full album. Here, even though the two aren’t as concerned with sounding clever as they are with sounding like their lives are amazing, both get off their fair share of good shots. Jay shouts out Fidel Castro and political asylum and owning multiple passports; Kanye shout outs hell and Hermès and Phillip Drummond. The best, though, is when the dudes shout out each other. Jay: “Uh, live from the Mercer / run up on Yeezy the wrong way, I might murk ya.” Kanye: “Can’t you see the private jets flying over you / Maybach bumper sticker read “What would Hova do?” Ahhdorable.