Hip-hop's royal princes Kanye and Jay-Z duel for the ‘Throne’ at Izod Center concert

'Watch the Throne' pair spread wealth of old and new hits


James Keivom/New York Daily News
Hip-hop legends Jay-Z and Kanye West rock the crowd Saturday night at Izod Center.

Even the most blinged-out stars need to be budget conscious these days — at least if they want to hold their audience. So, it makes sense that two of hip-hop’s hottest names — Jay-Z and Kanye West — would pair up for a two-fer tour, dubbed “Watch The Throne,” which slammed through the Izod Center in the Meadowlands Saturday night.

The first of a quartet of area shows, “Throne” doubles as Kayne’s first tour in four years, as well as Jay’s first major local date since he appeared as part of a previous two-for-one deal (with Eminem) at Yankee Stadium last September.

But if a subsequent savings for fans was guaranteed, the rapport of the stars was not. Jay already has one bomb double headline bill under his belt. Seven years ago, he appeared in the dubiously named “Best of Both Worlds” show with R. Kelly, which ended in canceled dates and acrimony between the stars.

At the start of Saturday’s show, Jay and Kanye seemed to court a disconnect. For the operatic opening number “H.A.M.,” they appeared at opposite ends of the arena — Jay, on a platform that rose from the middle of the venue; Kayne poised on an equally elevated cube on the main stage. Yet their verses folded seamlessly into each other’s. Kayne’s opening lines set a taunting tone that Jay’s late breaking verse answered in striking kind. As on their joint “Watch The Throne” CD, the pair’s live jousts had the quality of playful competitors, each elevated by the challenge.

It helps that “Throne” features some of the fastest, and densest work in either star’s canon. The show used its material as the bread in a hits sandwich, surrounding individual showcases in the middle. The new songs found a peak in “Otis,” in which both Jay and Kanye’s rhymes bobbed and weaved amid a forcefully reimagined sample from Otis Redding’s “Try A Little Tenderness.” Equally inventive samples came from artists as far-reaching as Roxy Music’s Phil Manzanera and Spooky Tooth, mixed in with live players.

The core of the show weaved together separate, alternating sets from Jay and Kanye. This especially benefitted Kanye, whose recent albums, and last tour, got bogged down in fodder. Here he culled the cream, from the strident gospel chorus of “Jesus Walks” to the gothic “Power.” Jay-Z, the more consistent performer, drew on his wealth of favorites, from the stuttering “Jigga What” to “Hard Knock Life.” The pair doubled up on that last one and others, together offering not just value for money, but a survey of recent commercial hip-hop at its height.

Set List:


Who Gon Stop Me


Welcome To The Jungle

Gotta Have It

Where I'm From

Nigga What, Nigga Who

Can't Tell Me Nothing

Jesus Walks

Diamonds From Sierra Leone

Public Service Announcement

U Don't Know

Run This Town



Murder To Excellence

New Day

Hard Knock Life


Good Life

Empire State of Mind




On To The Next One

Dirt off Your Shoulder

Touch The Sky

All of the Lights

Big Pimpin'

Gold Digger

99 Problems

No Church in The Wild

Lift Off

Niggas In Paris

Made In America

Why I Love You

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