'Otis': Kanye West and Jay-Z's 'crazy-soulful' new single
The reigning kings of hip-hop tease another track from their upcoming album Watch the Throne. Does "Otis" make the grade?
The audio: After numerous delays and teases, the collaborative album Watch the Thrones from rap giants Kanye West and Jay-Z will be released officially Aug. 2. With buzz for the album reaching cacophonous levels — even after a mixed response to "H.A.M.," the first single — the duo has released another new track from Throne to appease eager fans. (Listen to the song below.) Called "Otis," it samples the Otis Redding classic "Try a Little Tenderness" while 'Ye and Hova trade rhymes about living large.
The reaction: This song is "crazy-soulful," says Josiah Hughes at Exclaim. Oh yeah, says Simon Vozick-Levinson at Rolling Stone. "Jay-Z and Kanye West prove again that they're one of rap's all-time greatest tag teams." They inspire each other to "step up" their game, leading to more clever wordplay and rhymes. Sure, there's nothing "resembling a chorus," but with verses packed with such "wit and style," "who needs one?" Um, I do, says Greg Kot at The Chicago Tribune. The Otis Redding sample is misused, playing unceremoniously in a "continuous loop" for three minutes. It recalls the "more unimaginative" hip-hop tracks of the '90s, like the "obvious and overblown" songs of Vanilla Ice and Puff Daddy. Both rappers should be producing "much stronger work." Have a listen: