As of midnight, thousands have logged on to iTunes to purchase Jay-Z and Kanye West’s highly anticipated collaboration album, Watch The Throne. And while the number of people forking over $15 bucks is rather surprising in the age of “free” music, it more surprising in these humbling economic times, when dropping $15 is somewhat of a luxury.
Under these circumstances, Watch The Throne is becoming much more than your standard who-ripped-the-track hip-hop conversation. Instead it’s becoming a dialogue on the increasing line between have and have-nots, a particular dichotomy that is illustrated well in hip-hop, where anthems on hustling to survive, have been largely replaced by hobnobbing in the Hamptons as the new measure of “swag.”
All this while the communities in which the culture was born are suffering some of the most troubling economic times in recent history. Last week, Public Enemy frontman Chuck D sent a message to Jay-Z and Kanye with his own rendition of the album’s first single, Otis. Chuck D’s version, “Know This or Notice,” chides their lavishness, asking the two to take notice of the financial and social conditions of the communities that their music represents.