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Watch The Throne: “Lift Off”

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Jean-Michel Basquiat, “Formless”

When Jay and Kanye aren’t brooding about fame, caught up in their reputations, they’re screaming, “Holy shit, we made it!” And that’s what “Lift Off” is about. This kind of glee does involve running down a list of cool locales, fancy clothes, and expensive art they’ve purchased, but nevertheless, it is quite different from good old-fashioned conspicuous consumption. There’s a classically American sense of making something of yourself on WTT, and that’s unabashedly introduced on “Lift Off,” and complicated later on with “New Day” and “Made In America.”

The raps on “Lift Off” are mostly placeholders; it’s the feeling that matters here, best exemplified by Kanye’s high-pitched, downright adorable singing. But this Jay-Z line — “When you Earnhardt as me, eventually you hit a big wall” — is an example of how, even in this massive song, there’s still a reminder of the limits to wealth and success. Jay’s referencing the death of NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt, who died while racing at the top of his game; but he’s also suggesting a more general, inevitable downfall — of the economy, of the Western world — pronouncing “Earnhardt” like “earn hard,” thus making the line, “when you earn hard as me, eventually you hit a big wall.” What was that about this album ignoring the current economic climate?…

Written by Brandon

August 16th, 2011 at 12:13 am

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