In another exciting offering of music premiered on 1-11-11, what is thought to be the first single off of the Jay-Z/Kanye West collaboration album Watch The Throne is the just premiered new song “H•A•M” (no, I don’t have any idea what those circles are in between the letters I’ve just copied and pasted them from every other site posting the title as such). The title stands for “Hard as a Motherfucker” (I’m not sure which word the ‘A’ actually refers to) which is a hard title, but I don’t see how this song epitomizes that idea at all.
The rapping is nothing to write home about, especially on Kanye’s part where I just ended up more annoyed while he was rapping than enjoying it. Plus their over emphasis on the ‘a’ sound on the word which turns out to be “ham” (more like h-eaiiah-m) is just a little like nails on a chalkboard–just a little.
Yet what is truly remarkable is the production–starting out as a simple electronic up and down beat combines with a beautiful opera singer’s run for a quick tease. Yet we are eventually brought to absolutely EPIC orchestral chorus that one can take their focus off the rappers’ annoying jabber about going “hard as a motherfucker” and take it all in.
Somehow the two knew what was working in the song and only give a verse and chorus each and allow the song to end with over a minute of beautiful opera singing over the entire orchestra, then just the piano, and then ending like the surprise cliffhanger ending of an action movie where they leave you salivating for a sequel bringing back the orchestra with the opera singers for the big finish.
While I’m absolutely LOVING the arrangement, I’m so-so about the rapping. If Nicki Minaj can bring out an absolutely impressive rap on something like Trey Songz’s “Bottoms Up,” then Kanye and Jay should be able to do something better than what they’ve shown on “H•A•M.” The production can’t be beat, but maybe this is an indication this is where these two belong…just in the production booth. Watch The Throne will either squash that last statement or make it true. Take a listen, definitely recommended just for conversational purpose. I’d love to hear what you think in the comments!
“H•A•M” Jay-Z & Kanye West