Music Monday: The Two Best Tracks from ‘Watch the Throne’

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Kanye West and Jay-Z perform in Texas

My full review of Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch the Throne can be found here, but I also wanted to highlight a couple of tracks that you should definitely check out.

Lift Off (Feat. Beyoncé)


We all knew that Beyoncé would appear on Watch the Throne. She’s Jay-Z’s wife; it just seemed like a given. Oh, and her involvement was also announced months ago. Yeezy and Hov smartly decided to give her a single designed to soar up the charts. The hook isn’t as perfectly crafted as we’re used to with songs like this, but it does the trick.

(MORE: Read an excerpt from Jay-Z’s book, Decoded)

“Ni—as in Paris”


It doesn’t have the best lyrics, it doesn’t sample Otis Redding or feature Beyoncé, but this is the song I keep playing on repeat. Kanye and Jay-Z have been at this hip-hop thing for a while and there are plenty of younger and fresher guys just waiting to surpass them. But it’s evident from this song that they’re going to have to wait a little while longer. This is the hardest, baddest beat on the record. (Warning: This song has a lot of profanity, but you could probably guess that from the title.)

(Sidenote: Did you catch that Blades of Glory soundbite in “Ni—as in Paris?” That’s the second time Kanye has subtly referenced Jon Heder in song, the first being his “Whatever I wanna do, gosh!” line in “Monster,” cribbed from Napoleon Dynamite.)

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Claire Suddath is a writer at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @clairesuddath. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.