Jay-Z and Kanye West’s highly-anticipated collaboration album Watch the Throne was released in digital form on Monday and, on Friday, hit a limited number of stores. One of those was a pop-up set up at by the two rappers at 201 Mulberry Street in New York’s SoHo section. MTV News described the temporary record store as “wrapped in gold” like the album’s cover art. Inside, the Spike Jonze-directed video for new single “Otis” played and a Maybach vehicle sat at the back, ready to be auctioned off for East African drought relief funds.
Copies of the deluxe version of Watch the Throne are going for $15 a pop, and the store will be open until 6 p.m. on Sunday, August 14. Although West is currently in Sweden, Jay-Z may make an appearance at the store.
The pop-up store appears to be the culmination of a significant effort by the rappers and producers to prevent Watch the Throne from being leaked, like West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy earlier this year. To Billboard, an anonymous Roc Nation executive mentioned: "It was really important to [Jay] that people experienced this album in its entirety when they first listened to it. That was really the driving force of it, to create that nostalgic moment of unwrapping the CD and listening to it for the first time."
During the several months of recording, no song drafts were emailed between the rappers and producers, Wi-Fi was disabled at all pop-up studios, and all files were saved to offsite hard drives. Biometric fingerprints were needed to open all memory units. As a result, fans picking up the deluxe copies of Watch the Throne at the pop-up store or downloading it online are hearing the music for the first time.
Reviews since the digital release have been mixed but lean toward the positive. As far as Kanye and Jay-Z’s peers go, Royce da 5’9, who released a collaborative album with Eminem this year, said: “[I]t's great for hip-hop because both of them are lyrical projects, and it was one time in hip-hop when it wasn't really cool to be lyrical. So you got these big guns going in and showing these kids of today that it's cool to be lyrical."
NYC bbs should stop by before it closes later today! Queen Bey stopped by earlier <3.