Forget that Jay Z and Kanye West put out a mediocre album together. Forget that it’s so-called luxury rap that takes a fashionista’s dictionary to decipher their high-brow references, and forget the hype surrounding their current tour. These are two of the best rappers alive.
The duo hit HP Pavilion in San Jose on Wednesday on the last leg of their Watch The Throne tour, one of the most high profile and expensive tickets of the year. With nose-bleeds reaching upwards of $70, it’s sure to be one of the top grosser of the year.
The set list was expected—a hit parade covering some of the best rap songs from the past decade and an assortment of the best tracks from their album together set to the backdrop of lasers and projections of tigers, panthers, vicious dogs and sharks. If you’re active on Twitter or have read reviews from the three-night stand in LA or any other stop on the tour, you know the score.
But if there’s one thing unique about the performance in San Jose—and about the album—it’s the RZA-produced track “New Day.” It’s the best song on the album, and live it was goosebump-inducing.
Kanye’s verse touching on his missteps in life and his mom’s death is as close to bone as it gets for a rapper in the Top 40 and Jay’s verse is even more potent considering his pending parenthood with pregnant wife Beyoncé. In San Jose, Kanye was deep in it, missing a line and “zoning out” during Jay’s verse until he was cued to jump back.
It wasn’t much, but it was small taste of that “realness” that is so often rapped about and so often missing among the Louis, Gucci and Margiela references (not to mention the three-peat performance of “N*ggas in Paris” to finish the set). The Throne is good, and the show was great, but it could be so much more.