Home > Music Reviews > Kanye West and Jay Z, Otis ft. Otis Redding

Kanye West and Jay Z, Otis ft. Otis Redding

The clock ticks down upon the August 1st release date of  Watch The Throne, the hyped up Kanye and Jay Z collaboration that has the potential to be one of the most legendary albums in recent years.

Of course Jay Z and Kanye go way back, Jay Z was the one who gave Kanye his start as a performer– ‘Ye used to only be  known for his production skills–producing albums for not only Hova but numerous other artists, too. Jay Z was the one who signed Kayne as an artist and showed the world that Kanye had a knack not only for production, but rhyming too.

This of course snowballed into where Kanye is now, a “King” of the industry, who is just as well known and respected as the rap mogul Jay-Z.

This collaboration of two rap “kings” has had people anticipating the release–the duo dropped the release H.A.M about a year ago, which created more buzz for the effort, and news of collaborations from Frank Ocean to Beyonce has had music fans all over the globe in anticpation.

Just yesterday another release was dropped, Otis. A song that incorporates a sample from Otis Redding’s 1966 hit Try A Little Tenderness.

If you follow my blog you know my affinity for soul music as well as my love for Kanye West and Jay Z, so I was really digging the news that the two chose an old school sample. Especially when Kanye used to be famous for using old school tracks as samples in his early work. The power of the soul sample is met right off the bat, as soon as you hit play. Jay Z quips, “so soulful ain’t it?” And yes, soulful it is.

The track is fairly simple–a hip hop beat, Otis Redding vocals, and West and Jay rapping about their lives of luxury. This simplistic vibe has had many rap critics call the track a “let down” but I say the exact opposite. The track almost mirrors a “free style” and may not have any “defining” moments such as an intense music break, or an overtly catchy hook, but I think in the grand scheme of things, this track will go phenomenally well in the flow of the album.

As a single, I can understand any disappointment. The track may not be as radio friendly as H.A.M was, but it still shows off the duo’s vocal prowess–and the soul sample gives us that smooth laid back feeling that always meshes well in hip hop.

I can certainly see this track being placed in between two more “intense” tracks as a way for Kanye and Jay-Z to just let loose and flow.

“Letting loose”  is actually a great way to describe it–it serves as a track for both artists to just simply rap on without being too confined to structure.

Though when speaking of two legendary artists like Kanye and Jay Z there is no just “simply rapping”, everything they touch seems to turn to gold.

Favorite Lines:

“Luxury rap/The Hermes of verses/Sophisticated ignorance/Write my curses in cursive.”

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