At exactly midnight on 1/11/11, the hip-hop world got its first official taste of the Kanye West and Jay-Z collaboration album Watch The Throne via the release of its first official single “H.A.M.” Unfortunately for us, “H.A.M.” most certainly was not kosher.
Before assessing it fairly, you have to remove some of the hype surrounding it; the sheer potential of a collaboration album between two talented rappers like Kanye and Hov, as well as the earlier unofficial releases “The Joy” and “That’s My Bitch“, both incredible songs, set the bar very high for what would be the first official offering from the duo. That being said, even with these odds stacked against them and considered, “H.A.M.” is disappointing. Kanye’s verse is lazy and one dimensional; not even a jacked Lil Wayne line “kicking bitches out like Pam” can save it. He comes off as a hype man, just trying to build up momentum for when Jay-Z steps up to bat.
Verse-wise, Hov does better than Kanye by miles, though it is far from anything that is replay-worthy amazing. And did he really go for a Lil Wayne diss with the line “I’m like, “Really, half a billi? Nigga, really you got baby money”I’m like, “Really, half a billi? Nigga, really you got baby money”“? I tend to think it isn’t, based on the fact that there’s nothing to gain from the jab, but it still got the web rumbling about a verse they wouldn’t have talked about otherwise.
If there is one positive feature to “H.A.M.”, it’s the beat provided by the 19 year old Lex Luger. You can’t deny that the kid has a knack for making loud, bombastic, “stand up and start throwing elbows” beats. It’s a great sound, one that when used correctly by people like Rick Ross on the Luger produced “B.M.F.” works perfectly, but it just doesn’t work for Kanye and Jay, especially for their first single.
The duo decided to throw us a curve ball for their first pitch, and rather than it being a homerun, it was a ball to the knee that led to a walk.