50 Best Albums of 2011

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Jay-Z and Kanye West, 'Watch the Throne'

The most anticipated event-album of 2011 was a sound-the-trumpets supergroup record of a magnitude scarcely seen. What could have been a crash-and-burn anticlimax turned out to be as fun as any record in a dog's age. From the cinematic "No Church in the Wild" to the Stax-soul update "Otis," Throne testifies to Kanye West's genius for beats both iconoclastic and pop-savvy. Amid all the litanies of private jets and gold watches, politics creep in: The pair frame their rise as an African-American Horatio Alger story on the impossibly fierce "Ni**as in Paris."

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Related
Jody Rosen's Original Review: Jay-Z & Kanye West's 'Watch the Throne'
Kanye West and Jay-Z's 'Watch the Throne': A Track-by-Track Breakdown

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