Watch the Throne was an incredibly ambitious hip-hop album. It solidified the turn in Kanye West’s musical career—and therefore hip-hop—that began with My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. The album has been rightfully praised for its grandeur, density, expansive sampling, and the skill of its two main rappers, Jay-Z and Kanye West.
“No Church in the Wild,” the first song on the album, now has a music video. Featuring Odd Future’s Frank Ocean, “No Church in the Wild” is a soaring hip hop song with R&B vocals that touch on celebrity, hedonism, and religion (and some combination thereof). Recently featured in the first theatrical trailer for Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby and described by the Rolling Stone as “cinematic”, it now has a music video to match.
It’s a spectacular piece capturing—as best I’ve seen done—the spirit of the Arab Spring, particularly some of the early images out of Tahrir. See for example these images, from Reuters and Totally Cool Pix. While not directly addressing any issues, its romantically-portrayed characters are dressed in Middle Eastern garb as they battle with police forces. While “Niggas in Paris” was a disappointment of epileptic proportion, this positively epic video completely redeems the Watch the Throne endeavor and aesthetic that began with the Spike Jonze directed “Otis.” Watch “No Church in the Wild” below.