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Watch The Throne: “Gotta Have It”


Jean-Michel Basquiat, “Five Thousand Dollars”

A James Brown sample is cast in the role of the Throne’s hypeman on “Gotta Have It,” cheering them on, and shouting over a classic Kanye chipmunked vocal and the Neptunes’ minimalist synth-funk. There’s been a lot of controversy about “Otis” being credited as “featuring Otis Redding” (Curtis Mayfield is similarly credited on bonus track “The Joy”), but Watch The Throne is, in part, an investigation of “black excellence” (Jay’s words), and the Throne position themselves in this continuum, so it’s only right that they treat these musical gods like peers.

The bar-for-bar, back-and-forth rapping, a tribute to not only old school hip-hop, is retrofitted to play out like a dramatic dialogue between Kanye and Jay-Z, which actually makes sense, given the Socrates shout-outs on “No Church In The Wild.” Kanye takes the lead, and Jay tags along, asking him questions (“Ain’t that where the Heat play?”), keeping the flow moving along. Halfway through, Jay steps up and enacts a scene where he threatens a guy who hasn’t paid his debts: “Wassup, motherfucker, where my money at? / You gon’ make me come down to your house where yo’ mummy at? / Mummy wrap the kids, have ‘em cryin’ for they mommy back.” It’s vicious, and shows just how easy this CEO/rap superstar can resurrect the anger and scrappy aggression of his past….

Written by Brandon

August 17th, 2011 at 5:07 pm

2 Responses to 'Watch The Throne: “Gotta Have It”'

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  1. Nice write-up, Brandon. One of my favourite parts of this song is how they’ve worked in the ‘tryna hurt my name’ line, which you don’t really notice on the first few listens. The line is just as fitting as the ‘provocative’ sample on Paris, and the way it first shows up in Kanye’s White America line is perfect.

    Scotty Mac

    21 Aug 11 at 10:48 pm

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    5 Aug 12 at 3:14 pm

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