“H.A.M.” is here! As promised, the first single from Kanye West and Jay-Z‘s collaborative album Watch the Throne debuted online today. After months of feverish speculation, we finally have an official taste of one of 2011′s most anticipated projects. Does it live up to those sky-high expectations?
Listen at Watch the Throne‘s Facebook page and decide for yourself. After a few listens to “H.A.M.,” I’d say it’s a fierce opening statement that’s unlikely to disappoint fans of either artist. The song begins with a double-time flow from West over fizzy electro burbles and a ghostly vocal sample courtesy of hot producer Lex Luger (Rick Ross’ “B.M.F.,” Waka Flocka Flame’s “Hard in da Paint”). West is in full-on arrogant star mode, spitting slick hostilities laced with so many obscenities that I wonder how this song’s radio edit will sound.
Right before West’s bare-bones hook, in which we learn that the acronym in the song’s title appears to stand for “Hard As a Motherf—er,” Luger’s synths kick into operatic overdrive à la the producer’s previous hits. Then Jay-Z wraps things up with a verse that showcases his still-untouchable ability to ride a beat. His sequence of animal-based boasts — “play[ing] chicken with a Mack truck,” “[swimming] waters with great whites,” “hustl[ing] with vultures” — is a nice counterpoint to the litany of mythical beasts Jay recently reeled off on West’s “Monster.”