For the first time since the dawn of the Internet age, one of the year’s most anticipated albums has remained leak-free. Jay-Z and Kanye West’s joint album, Watch the Throne, ceremoniously hit iTunes today (August 8), and the duo, collectively known as The Throne, have miraculously managed to keep their LP under tight guard.
How were they able to manage this shocking feat? It’s hard to say exactly, especially when everyone is remaining tight-lipped on what could be a new leak-proof way of releasing albums. Calls to both Jay and Ye’s camps by XXLMag.com yielded no comment. Yet, Jycorri Robinson, director of digital marketing for Def Jam, which is releasing WTT along with Roc-A-Fella Records and Roc Nation, offered some insight.
“Kanye and Jay are just very tight with the music,” he told XXL. “Even so far as to where they’ve been, Kanye and Jay have been at every listening session, every event, that there has been and that’s because they’re holding that music so tight to them. There hasn’t been [any] copies floating around the [Def Jam] office ’cause that shit is in a vault.”
“They just took it back to the old school, man,” he continued. “They recorded the entire album together; no verses emailed back and forth. It’s just tight eyes on it, only one or two people having access to it.”
As Robinson points out, most rap CDs leak about two weeks before they’re supposed to, around the same time the albums leave the record plants where they press up the physical copies of the discs.
“When it hits those trucks [from the factory] it’s a wrap,” he said.
In an interview with Angie Martinez on New York radio station Hot 97 last Monday, Jay-Z explained further. As XXL previously reported, four days after WTT comes out digitally-only on iTunes, it will be available exclusively at Best Buy until August 23. The independent record stores were upset about this business strategy—even going so far as to write a letter to the two—but Jigga said, the move was necessary to prevent the music from coming out prematurely.
“We made this album and it took us eight months,” he said. “We should be able to release it the way we like, without everybody being up in arms. The real reason behind it is we didn’t want the music to leak. We wanted to present to the people in its entirety. When you send it out, once it leaves the plant and that’s the end of it.”
Jay-Z’s manager, John Meneilly, was confident the album would come out according to plan. “It is not going to leak,” he wrote on his Twitter account last Wednesday.
Mike Dean, a producer that played a major role in creating the LP, was so happy with the outcome, he also took to Twitter, but his tone was more celebratory. “[Thanks] to everyone who supported the no leak of #WTT,” he said, “this is a new way to deliver music man (sic)!!!”
Job well done. —Jesse Gissen