The best rap records are usually rooted in reality, but fans have come to expect their favorite MCs to use a bit of poetic license when delivering their rhymes. That's not the case with Kanye West and Jay-Z, though: According to Def Jam VP of A&R Bu Thiam, the lyrics on the Throne's "N---as in Paris" — the video for which was released Thursday (February 9) — are as real as they come.
"What I realized in this process is that them dudes really rap about what they go through," Thiam told MTV News back in August after Watch the Throne was released. "I've A&R'd other albums, and people, sometimes they rap about somebody else's story or what they think is a story. But those guys, everything they rap about is what they're actually going through."
Take "N---as in Paris," for instance, which has music fans across the world shouting, "That sh-- cray."
On the song's hook Hov raps, "Ball so hard mother----ers wanna fine me," and while it sounds like an empty MC boast, the popular lyric is rooted in truth. Hov, who is a minority owner of the NBA's New Jersey Nets, was caught taking pictures with the University of Kentucky's men's basketball team during their NCAA tournament run last year. It all seemed like a harmless gesture, but contact between NBA personnel and potential NBA college prospects is prohibited. In April, the Nets were fined $50,000 for Hov's actions.
"When you hear it, you're thinking it's bragging, but no, it's really true," Thiam said of the Throne's lyrics. "It's crazy how they take the words and they make the songs and make it reality, and you're thinking it's just verses, but nah, it's really reality for them dudes."
Beyond b-ball drama, the accomplished A&R who also helped string together Rihanna's Talk That Talk said the entire "N---as in Paris" record is just a reflection of Jay and Kanye's wild outing to France. "Going out, kicking it and just having fun. That record is a process of what was happening in Paris at that time," he said. "It's real life, I promise you, it is."