Let you in on a secret. I use Sushi spots as litmus tests for people.
That’s right: a 90 min dinner can tell me a person’s entire life
experience w/o them saying a thing. Jump in full throttle with BBQ
Eel? (They been places/seen thangs) Never tried chopsticks but willing
to learn? what’s “shellacked” mean? (Open mind means educated mind and
there are no dumb questions in Comsushing Sushi…sounds so solefull
don’t you agree?) “California Roll, that’s all” (plays it safe,
conservative, and/or too proud to say new experiences scare em, so
stick to what they know, no room for growth) & 2 types of “nah I’m
good” (those who tried Sushi & objectively concluded they don’t like
it, and those that already judge/jury’d it before they attempted it.)

Of course there are some laws I’ve applied to my life in this lane
I’ve decided to travel. 1st and foremost is the only mofos in my circle
are people that I CAN LEARN FROM.

i believe THAT is the first and foremost rule to a successful life.
you are going to be as educated and successful as the 10 most
frequented people you call/text on your phone. seriously. does the
truth hurt? is there an oz. of truth to it?

i keep my studio room at 30 Rock in pop culture hoarder mode cause i
notice that people that visit (mostly artists that sit in with us)
take time out to analyze what im about based on their glance in the
room. im a shy non people person in front of cats i idolize so this
room serves as a small talk substitute that lets me not have to talk
all that much.

they glance: “is that obama?…..a bowling trophy? what’s your
score?….how did you break that grammy?…..wait…BOTH of your
parents came from the same tribe in sierra leone?….prince gave you
that money? why’s it hanging suspended in air like that?….so you
keep Soul Train on repeat 24/7 in here?….what kind of NIKES are

it goes on.

25 years ago this is what hip hop was all about. being on 3 way high
school style playing Rakim or De La or even Hammer over the phone just
talking about it. (he’ll kill me but Tariq was a MASSIVE Hammer
supporter during the Let’s Get It Started phase—–well he did use
the Apache break and back then your choice of breakbeat was a crucial
olive branch for non cats from your side of the world to get accepted)

as i stated in the Tribe doc the first time i had that 3 way summit
meeting with hip hop was Licensed To Ill (back then it was convincing
my cousin that Ad Rock was NOT puerto rican) in 86. and the last time
i had that moment was the tuesday i signed my record deal: Nov 9th
1993. the day Enter The 36 and Midnight Marauders came out. sure other
classics came out. but once you jump in the lake with sharks you no
longer listen from the perspective of a fan….you now listen to it as
a journalist (illmatic) with arms folded (the chronic) jaws dropped
willing to do whatever it takes to use your influence to help
(fantastic vol 1)…and yeah…a lil jealous (aquemini)

so of course not wanting to let a moment go by. im all about being
that 16 year older that is imagining Rakim’s painting of a Word filled
nile in 2011.

wait….did he just…

lol…. of course i dunno what the future is gonna hold for #WTT. but
i am keen enough to see all the signs of history repeating itself:

-the FIRST CAT: “i was there 1st!!!!!!!” people all on it 1st. i heard
it before you did! (i was tempted to write a review on itunes cause
noone wrote one as of 12:05am….but of course having not heard the
actual record i erased all 5 paragraphs lol)
-the FOH cat: there is a cut on The Roots 2nd album called “Swept
Away” my favorite quote: “i’m insane and go against the grain like
Fric (friction), never on no ni**a d**k cause im “just too hip”. cats
who are contrary against popular opinion because THAT is what defines
-the foh to the FOH CATS cat: will embrace anything new/edgy because
that will reflect them.
-the actual objective no attachment cats: note….this doesn’t exist
people. for if you love hip hop then we ALL got stakes in one of the 3

im getting a rush/kick outta everyone in the twittersphere weighing in
on #WTT its like watching drought fiends spotting that last crack rock
behind the couch on the floor praying to god to get a jones.

the “who won?!” lyrical war.
the “wtf he say?!?!?!” rewind moment
the “hmmm…. rza, tip, & pete don’t sound like rza, tip, & pete”
which alone is an interesting convo on its own thread. which im hoping
leads to “who is rza, tip, & pete, and how can i learn more about
them?” investigation
the “brag brag brag brag” grumps
the “well half these songs are dark fantasy throwaways so does it
count?” blogosphere cats

im not gonna yell @@@@@ classic just yet (never did yell that too
much, for a near classic @@@@1/2 reads more impressive than a a first
day out @@@@@ imo) but all the signs are there.

you comparing it your coming of age soundtrack? (chris rock said you
cherish the music for the first 5 years of you gettin some….that
becomes the music of “your time”)
this causing more arguments and debates with your crew?
you starting to feel old like *shrug*….i guess life is gonna pass me
by then….”–
you living in the moment and just loving it?

all these things make the C word.

and its some scary unfair ish.

i mean who wants to watch Kobe surpass Jordan in his ring acquisition?
to love hip hop is to love the underdog and hate the establishment.
so what does it mean when you watch the establishment go all dog on you?

conflicted feelings right?

jay and ye damn near wrote the book on “winner take all”. and all we
could do is vicariously live in it. and most times we have trouble
doing just that (im a dj, so the same cats arguing with me about
liking or not liking this project will be the same “LOOKAHEA! whatchu
need!!?!? what what chu need I GOT!!!!!!?!?!!?” quoting cats after
their 2nd glass of jack and coke when i spin it)

psssh this album is full of all the signs:

bass that killed my system.
hypocrisy (autotune, hov actually indeed having regrets)
great humor (ye—along with Phonte— is my favorite INTENTIONALLY
FUNNY person in black music since morris day. punch lines with
straight face and no shame of “will this make me look…..” if you
don’t laugh at that Adam/Rib line….you have 0 sense of humor. even
Ye has to pat his backpatter on the back for a job well done on
hmmm moments: i get the feeling “illest mofo alive” had a different
beat to it cause hov’s verse sounds like an acapella blend slightly
off on a Ron G mixtape. but that Peeing line flushes it all out. cause
that’s an ill visual. (not me but Jay)
beat switches for that ass: pt 2 of excellence
shock moments: swizz’s patches and presentation shocked me in a GREAT way.
that martin scorsese visual: hov’s foolin nobody but himself on “made
in america” that grandma/arm & hammer story is classic just like
martin’s mom cameo in goodfellas cooking the crew breakfast while a
body lies in the trunk.

ehh lemme stop.

even writing this review of a non review will be news.

im just saying.

live in the moment.

all this praise and controversy and conflict and argument and debates
and “WTF!?!!?!?!?” and nonsensical questulance is the true meaning of
hip hop.

so just so that yall straight next time yall see me whining about hip
hop….its not about hip hop more than its about the feeling hip hop
once gave.

the kind of feeling that now has me 2 hours late for my day job.

“the dog ate my score to the new sketch jimmy my bad….gimme 4 mins
to try something new”

—no seriously i got 5 “the hell are you coming in?!?!?!?!” text right now.

just wanted to weigh in my 2 cents and let these mofos know who i am.


  • people are more concerned about getting the album first and hating on it thoroughly rather than just enjoying the music. its all good.

    well written; thanks for this.

  • I disagree. My problem is people can’t seem to accept differences of opinion. I, for one, don’t feel this album is for me. It’s not what I’m into. And that’s ok. Music, as an art form, is subjective. There is NO perfect album that everyone likes. Thriller is the closest one you’ll find because it sold the most copies but EVERYONE DIDN’T LIKE IT.

    That doesn’t invalidate ones opinion on the record just because it conflicts with your enjoyment of it. Does an individual not enjoying the record lessen your enjoyment? And it’s a scary trend when “hating” is thrown about just because someone doesn’t look favorably on the same thing you do. That is the beauty of hip hop. When ATCQ and WuTang dropped their classics, you had fans who didn’t like Tribe’s Movement and went with Wu and vice versa and then you had some that went with both and some that went with none. It wasn’t thought of hating, there was enough diversity to go around.

    When did we go from healthy disagreement to everyone pointing the hate finger at people that don’t agree with a stated opinion someone has held?

    If you enjoy the record, then enjoy it. Doesn’t mean the rest of the world has to if it doesn’t speak to them like it does to you. it’s art.

    • I mean, it’s no Off The Wall

  • to Daryl: hold up, there are people who dont like Thriller?

  • stephen

    Difference between “hating” and lack of interest is the level of emotional ties to dissing the art. There are a variety of hip hop albums which I find do not feed me, but simple do not provide them my money and move on. I have no major investment in making others see this as a poor piece of work. I have many constructive disagreements with my friends who love hip hop but still respect their desire to enjoy something I don’t. I find that in the anonymous public arena, there is this effort to belittle the artist and those that enjoy their work. As if something is wrong with you ‘cause you enjoy the album. I enjoy reviews which blast an artist if that person provides some reason for their view. This allows me to see/hear things which I may have missed the first go around and through this process I often find more enjoyment out of the works which I have chosen to listen to.

    • I feel that. It seems people on both sides of the argument are just as guilty I enjoy debating on the merits of an album and I love it when it gets emotional. It shows people still care about the artwork. But to reduce each side to either meat riding or hating is lazy. And I agree 100% that digital anonymity is playing a big part in it.

      Like it or not, when’s the last time we had a debate on a single album?


    I copped it but, I’m still stuck on that Melo-X More Merch shit.

  • I’ll start with indirect bittersweet guilt……As I was becoming one of the first to download, I was thinking why do I give a fuck if I’m first. Then I thought, I don’t know how to determine a classic album anymore, but I can say I enjoy this album….and that’s cool with me.

  • Mel Blunt

    It’s just so refreshing to have the discussion off of the folks with the “Lil,”Big,””Shawty,” name prefixes and/or the eeezy Suffixes. Of course both WTT participants have sarcastic inclusions of both (as aliases fools), but they’re in no way defined by them. Glad to see Q-Tip made the cut!

  • DOPE piece Ahmir, like it or not Kanye&Jay make soul music and millions of people will feel the vibrations no matter what hip hop producers think it’s a classic

  • that’s cool and all, but the album still wack.

  • Aryeh Bernstein

    I haven’t heard the album yet (yeah, I’m cool admitting that; I’m waiting to get a hard copy, so there), except for that one noice track that was posted here a couple of weeks ago, but I just wanna say that ?uesto, this was the best 2-hours late for work time spent I’ve seen in a minute. Kept me smiling the whole way through. Come to think of it, Ad-Rock on Licensed to Ill does sound a little Rican, I suppose…

  • Bags

    The album is garbage…..period! I love Jayz and Kanyes previous work but seriously….If anyone else came out with the same project meaning beats and lyrics it would not even be on radar or up for discussion. Nothing grabbed me like a classic hiphop song…I usually know from the first hearing it…instead of watching the throne they should have been concentrating on what made them who they are and stop trying to convert to todays trends …those people who supported them in their 20s still support them as they close in on 40 or close to 40. heard they did the entire lp in austrailia…maybe they should have took it back to the studios when rocafella records was bangin

  • devilinablue

    Im so new to this (s/o to my sons who insisted I give hip hop music a serious listen…I did and Ive not been the same since) so Ive got tons of catching up to do…I like what I like and I like WTT…but what lets me know that Im moving in the right direction is this line from Questlove’s review…”which im hoping leads to who is rza, tip and pete and how can I learn more about them investigation”……that line is golden for much older heads like me and more importantly…the younger ones coming up. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Questlove!

  • polaris


  • bentagain

    I’m glad somebody said it…look…I understand everyone is entitled to an opinion, but somethings you’re not suppose to have an opinion about in the first place, you’re just suppose to enjoy…so enjoy it. It’s not about you. If you honestly can’t feel this project…cool…KIM…it doesn’t have to define you as a person. Killed me with the I’m 1st comments

  • Chea!

    Questo, you my man 250 grand (increased from 50 Grand due to inflation) but, you have to be kidding me with this. You are in a group with Black Thought, so you know what tight lyrics actually sound like. You are trying to convince me these verses on “Watch the Throne” are tight? Later for that. I respect your opinion of the album; however, to say I am not feeling it would be an understatement at best. “Dark Twisted” set up me for something great, and this was all I got from two alleged monsters in the rap game. Lazy Jay-Z lyrics and paint by the numbers beats by Kanye. No one took any chances on this album. Finally, the last thing about this “masterpiece” as some of your Twatter brethren have called it (Toure, Dr. Todd Boyd. Just to name a few). You, Kanye and Jay-Z, are on a RZA track. That is superb. Well done. Coolness, one of the lines is “Me and the RZA connect.” Outstanding. Now, why the fuck did this track need an over abundance of auto-tune? Someone splain that to me. Sit back and enjoy, eh? How?

  • sonny

    true that. when i heard the autotune i had to one-star that track (one-star on ipod which leads to delete when i need to free up space). sucks too bc that was the only track that really did anything for me.

    and yes, what a letdown the album was — you’d expect it to be like black star or something great like that. it wasn’t even close to a true collab, more like you drop your verse and i’mma handle mine.

  • WTT is cool. Growing on me sloooowwwly. Ain’t the Black Album or Dark Twisted.
    They come off better on solo albums and 1-shot appearances on each others work.
    Ye is actually giving Jay a run for his $ on the cleverness. Jay came off on the MoMA, Basquiat & Willoma of Good Times references.
    Cover artwork is DOPE. Thank Kanye for that.

  • hillhound528

    I am a huge fan of both artists and too say I was disappointed would be an understatement. I was expecting so much more and maybe therein lies the problem…the set-up for this was like that of a summer blockbuster…lights, cameras, action and then you get to the theater and it’s cheesy CGI effects and a lame story line. I am waiting to hear the reviews for the concert because I am hoping that it will include some of their older material otherwise I may have to Craigslist the tickets.

  • I hate this