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Holy Grail, the "Holy Grail" part of the name came after." Stylistically the album features samples largely considered unconventional, an aesthetic quality shared with West's previous album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Music journalist Jody Rosen characterizes the music as "vast, dark and booming," commenting that West "continues in the sonic vein he introduced in My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, lacing the songs with rock dynamics, layering his beats with eerie vocal chorales, piling on proggy flourishes." Conversely, Matthew Cole of Slant Magazine finds West's "knack for dramatic, melodically sophisticated tracks [...] channeled away from the Olympian scale" of his previous album "and toward the more commercial vein of Jay-Z's recent work," which he attributes to West splitting production work with several other producers.Jon Caramanica of The New York Times writes that its production "can be roughly segmented into three categories," noting "Southern-inflected tracks" such as "Niggas in Paris" and "H•A•M", "moody and harsh numbers" like "Who Gon Stop Me" and "Why I Love You", and "the nostalgia that creeps over much of this album, giving it a sonic through-line and mission statement." An interlude that appears after "No Church in the Wild", "New Day" and "Welcome to the Jungle", as well as before "Illest Motherfucker Alive" on the deluxe edition, samples the 1979 song "Tristessa" by Italian jazz-rock fusion band Orchestra Njervudarov.[...] [T]hey need to humanise all the conspicuous consumption." Claire Suddath of Time views the rappers' "bacchanal celebration of the finer things in life" as secondary to the theme of "two men grappling with what it means to be successful and black in a nation that still thinks of them as second class." Much like "Otis", the track features sliced-up vocal snippets and an aggressive bass backing, with the two rappings trading lines and making references to the Yung Chris song "Racks" and other contemporary rap trends.Midway through the song the beat switches up, with Kanye musing over the horrors of black-on-black violence in the first half, and Jay-Z delivering equally meditated comments on black excellence on the more choir heavy second half.Production on the album was led by West himself, alongside a variety of high-profile record producers including Mike Dean, Swizz Beatz, Sak Pase, Jeff Bhasker, The Neptunes and Q-Tip.Expanding on the dense production style of West's 2010 album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Watch the Throne incorporates orchestral and progressive rock influences, unconventional samples, and dramatic melodies in its sound.Recording sessions for the album took place at Avex Recording Studio in Honolulu, Hawaii; Barford Estate in Sydney, Australia; Electric Lady Studios; the Mercer Hotel; MSR Studios; and Tribeca Grand Hotel in New York, New York; Le Meurice in Paris, France; and Real World Studios in Wiltshire, England.In an interview for Billboard, Jay-Z said that they often recorded in hotel rooms and that the album went through three iterations, as he and West had scaled back from their original musical direction. commented about the project that "you're going to sell, because you're already big. Push intelligence and decadence and all of the above forward in a creative manner." Chauncey "Hit-Boy" Hollis, who produced the track "Niggas in Paris", said of recording at the hotel, "There was music going on in every room.
[...] a portrait of two black men thinking through the idea of success in America." Randall Roberts of the Los Angeles Times notes "musings on the spoils of riches and the chaos that accompanies it," adding that "[the] tension between worshiping the spirit and celebrating the bounty drives Watch the Throne [...] The record questions faith while clinging to heritage and family, places this moment in an historical context, wonders on the mystery, power and confusion of the gilded life — while rolling around in amulets." Writer Kitty Empire interprets it to be about "black power [...] conceived as a swaggering taunt of achievement, in line with both men's previous works, which routinely double as shopping guides.In an interview for Rolling Stone, Jay-Z discussed their insistence on recording in person and attributed it to the delay in releasing the album, stating "If we were gonna do it, we were gonna do it together. West had brought a majority of his usual production crew onto the project, the same crew that had assisted in the creation of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. D., who felt that the two artists weren't pushing forward enough with the music. I had a room where I was cranking out beats, and then I'd go into the main room with Jay and [Kanye] and play beats for them. I would come in with a beat and he'd be like, 'Take this out, slow it down.' It would make it sound 100 times better.