Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Top 100 Songs of 2011 -- #16: "No Church in the Wild" -- Jay-Z/Kanye West feat. Frank Ocean & The-Dream

Watch the Throne, the highly-anticipated collaboration between rap giants Kanye West and Jay-Z, lived up to its potential -- and then some. Its singles were huge, and its reach was astounding. There may not have been any other rap release this year that folks not as enamored with the genre listened to -- save, perhaps, for anything released by an Odd Future member.

Hey, speak of the devil -- "No Church in the Wild."

The lead track from Watch the Throne featured Odd Future crooner Frank Ocean on its hook. The album's densest, heaviest song, it featured prog rock-esque instrumentation over Ocean's vocal, an Auto-tuned segment from The-Dream and a steady flow from both rappers.

The song sets the scene for a grandiose record, for sure. Just check Jay-Z's opening lines, which make mention of mausoleums and coliseums. This was one of the biggest releases in rap in years, and 'Ye and Hova made sure it sounded that way.

An essay could be written on the song's lyrical content, arguably the best on the entire record. The rappers tackle religion on the song, with a plethora of religious imagery popping up, beginning with Ocean's opening chorus, which mentions the Great Chain of Being concept of Christianity.

Both are also concerned with power, and the song makes them appear pretty damn powerful indeed. The two biggest rappers in the world say some things, and you listen. That's power already for you.

Watch the Throne in general is an album that can take quite a bit of time to decipher. "No Church in the Wild" is the perfect starting point. Enjoy the rhymes these titans provide, and then look deeper into what they're really trying to say.

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