The Rap Economics: WTT 2012


Stock market analysts beware. When Jay-Z and Kanye West released their opulent collaboration Watch the Throne last August, the US lost its triple A rating and Wall Street suffered the worst day of trading since the financial crisis.


On Friday 18th May, the duo swaggered into London to start the European leg of their joint tour. The markets duly plunged amid fears of the eurozone breaking up! Greek exit is still on the cards!


Meanwhile in Watch the Throne’s economy, the talk is of super-cars, luxury hotels, high-fashion boutiques and consumption so conspicuous it can be seen from the Moon. The album is the ultimate expression of rap’s love of ostentation. It has inspired a stage show to match.


With lyrics about splashing the cash and designers so exclusive you have never heard of them,  many believe the stars have lost touch with the real world.


But is there anything wrong with enjoying the champagne life during times of recession and news of countries becoming bankrupt?


Elysium Magazine was at the opening night of the tour and the duo put in a sterling performance.  Hit after hit – the 20,000 in attendance were on their feet throughout the evening. Kanye brought on hits from his previous albums and Jay Z treated us to his greatest hits. Amazing.


However, the industry believe the stars are irresponsible for driving excesses during such hard times. Chuck D said in his YouTube video:


“Rap has lost touch with a lot of its roots,”


“For example, its individualist thing is just overblown. You have the mass disappearance of rap groups. Also, it has alienated women and older demographics.” (In Watch the Throne’s “That’s My Bitch”, West smirks about buying breast implants for a woman: “I paid for them titties, get your own.”)


West and Jay-Z demand that we welcome black extravagance as proof of hard-won upward mobility in a racist society. They insist they should be applauded for behaving like 1970s rock stars. “If you escaped what I’ve escaped/You’d be in Paris getting f***** up too,” raps Jay-Z, drug dealer-turned-mogul. Later, in a song about black-on-black murders, he holds up “the new black elite” that he and West represent as a counterweight to the abysmal African-American history of poverty and violence: “It’s a celebration of black excellence/Black tie, black Maybachs/Black excellence, opulence, decadence.” West, whose father was in the Black Panthers, weighs in on the same theme: “Its time for us to stop and redefine black power.”


While the extraordinary rap lyrics of wealth has caused controversy. One thing is for sure – the people can’t get enough of it. There are already talks of Watch The Throne 2 being released by the end of the year and it has been a trending topic world wide ever since!


The tour continues over the UK and Europe over the next few weeks – if you can grab some tickets for what is the concert of the year.


Have you been to see the Concert? What did you think? Tweet us your pictures!

Sam Uppal

Sam Uppal

Sam loves all things style and grooming. He’s passionate about showcasing new technology, helping to tell the story of new businesses and entertainment for the discerning gent.