Written by David Campos (@magicdave1983)
Live at Bank Atlantic Center : Sunrise, FL – 11/14/2011
How do you create the ultimate tag team? You find two individuals who have garnered unparalleled respect and success in their own respective universes or medium. They are essentially unmatched in what they do and really have no need of anyone because they can stand alone firmly and confidently. Against unfathomable odds and unlikeliness, they come together to create a force of sheer power that is to be reckoned with. You want some examples? Here you go: Superman and Batman, Mark McGuire and Jose Canseco, Hulk Hogan and Randy “Macho Man” Savage. You get the idea I’m sure. I, myself, had the privilege of witnessing the ultimate tag team in hip hop, and probably one of the ultimate tag teams in music itself: Jay-Z and Kanye West.
Having seeing these two titans separately on their own respective tours, and seeing how they are capable of utterly shocking you, I never thought I would ever see the day where they would share one record. The fantasy became a reality with their first collaborative effort, Watch the Throne, which has achieved the Platinum certification in the US by the RIAA as of November 2011. After critical praise and five commercially successful singles, both rappers took their brilliant artistry on the road for their 2011 Watch the Throne Tour, and boy, do they make you watch it! With the Bank Atlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida at full capacity, they burst open the door to their throne room and rose to the heavens on separate rising columns on opposite sides of the arena. They faced each other in acknowledgement and respect for each others power and proceeded to grace their loyal subjects with beats of the highest order.
In order to grasp the brilliance of their present, they took us on a journey of their respective pasts. What was to essentially be one concert instead became three concerts. After bowing to each others power, each king took the stage in solo performances, sharing the hits that gave their names notoriety around the world. Kanye West’s emotional repertoire included “Jesus Walks”, “Stronger”, “Touch the Sky”, “All of the Lights”, and a slew of others. Jay-Z tapped into his lyrical memories to flow “99 Problems”, “Hard Knock Life”, “Big Pimpin”, “Encore”, and many more. They intersected between solos and team-ups as the 3-hour performance roared throughout their kingdom. What became the showstopper was when they rejoined at the end to perform “Niggas in Paris”. Why was this showstopper? It’s because they sung it three times, each one louder and slicker than the last. Why on earth would they do that? It’s fairly simple, because they can! I learned that they sung it 5 times the following night in Miami.
Those privileged enough to heed the invite and go to this performance saw something that probably won’t be seen for a long time, if ever again. It’s just like that episode on the Simpsons where Bart and Lisa were about to watch Scratchy finally get Itchy. Yet, because of fate and a nerd unplugging the TV, they completely miss it. Krusty then comes on-screen and says, “WOW! They’ll never let us show that again! Not in a million years!” Yup, it is the same sentiment for the Watch the Throne Tour. If you missed it, well, all I can say is sorry.