Kanye West and Jay-Z’s grandiose Watch The Throne tour comes to the New York City area tomorrow, and sticks around through next week—the pair perform at the Izod Center on Saturday and Sunday, and at Madison Square Garden on November 7 and 8. The shows, led by ‘Ye and Jay, promise sharks, run-throughs of both artists’ catalogs, and maybe some special guests, all of which will be treated appropriately royally.
Hip-hop throne watching has prior precedent, with many a rapper seemingly convinced that simply sitting on a throne-looking seat will anoint them to a level of rap royalty. Here are a few other hopeful heirs.
10. Silkk The Shocker
No visuals-based rap list would be coplete without a contribution from No Limit’s stock of garish Pen & Pixel album covers! Enter Silkk The Shocker, who fancied the throne game up by appearing on the cover of 1999’s Made Man while squatted on the sort of showy seating contraption you’d expect to find inside a mausoleum. The quasi-bowler hat adds a touch of class to the lounging.
Either there’s some revelatory zodiac-themed message nestled deep in the imagery for Outkast’s third album, or it’s just another fine example of a really ropey rap illustration. Nevertheless, the cover for Aquemini shows Big Boi (Aquarius) in full pimp regalia sitting in a plush, red velvet cushioned throne while Andre (Gemini) looks on, seemingly more than a little perturbed. Throne-braggin’ rights will do that to a man.
8. Biz Markie
If a man’s home is his castle, then presumably the toilet is his de facto throne. As Biz Markie, who no doubt spent quite a bit of time pondering this paradox, explained on “Toilet Stool Rap,” “Only in there I am the king of the throne.”
7. 50 Cent, Snoop, And Some Pimps
Back in the early 2000s, pimps like Bishop Don “Magic” Juan sort of served as hip-hop sidekicks. (Someone messed up not pitching Pimps Do The Funniest Things to the TV networks.) Which is why 50 Cent called in Snoop and a gaggle of gaudily dressed pimps for the remixed version of his “P.I.M.P.” video. While not strictly your traditional type of throne, the ridiculously dressed gentlemen did sit in some very fancy chairs. Church!
6. Queen Latifah
“All hail the Queen!” announced the first lady of the Flavor Unit back in 1989. But it took an advertising campaign for the allergy medication Zyrtec earlier this year for Latifah to fully assert her royal standing and pose for pics while sitting on a throne.
5. Snoop Dogg
Pensive, wistful, and with an overriding atmosphere of melancholy… Yep, it’s Snoop, sitting smugly and smirking on a throne that’s been hauled out to a dock in some exotic locale; off to the side, a girl in a bikini looks out to the oceans, pondering life with a man wearing sandals and socks. “Poignant” doesn’t quite describe the image.
4. Big Daddy Kane
For his 1988 debut Big Daddy Kane exhibited golden-era rap extravagance at its finest, perching himself on a buffed-up metal throne (complete with fire accent) while three lady associates fed him grapes and apples from a golden platter. Ridiculous? Yup, but the image was still opulent enough to earn Kane an alleged night in Madonna’s boudoir.
3. Fresh Prince
In between making songs about getting into escapades with underage girls in stolen cars and kiling aliens on the big screen, Will Smith starred in The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air. The title sequence to the series featured Smith, in Air Jordans, sitting in a golden throne that, bemusingly, was being spun around in a motion-sickness-inducing manner.
2. Slick Rick
Slick Rick The Ruler (to fully anoint him) always affected a regal superiority in his raps, as if some sort of hip-hop landed gentry. (He briefly claimed British heritage.) The pinnacle of Rick’s regalness was being wheeled out by a bevy of beauties as he sat on a lavish throne and petted a cat for a Hip-Hop Honors performance.
1. Pete Nice (3rd Bass)
Long before Watch The Throne was but a twinkle in an elderly Jay-Z’s be-monocled eye, MC Pete Nice was going above and beyond the call of duty by carting his hip-hop throne all over New York City. Leather bound and stately, Nice sat in it while puffing a cigar for the “Steppin’ To The A.M.” video, and lounged around in it for the flick for “The Gas Face.” But Nice’s most audacious feat was dragging it into the middle of a street for the “Words Of Wisdom” video and rapping in it while cars zipped by on either side. Unless Jay and ‘Ye’s show features fully functional commuter traffic on stage, the throne is still Pete Nice’s.