MP3: Kanye West’s “Monster (feat. Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Bon Iver & Nicki Minaj)

Just look at that list of names. Can you figure out which one doesn’t belong? But that’s besides the point. This track is stacked. There’s no way to deny it there’s both hip-hop and indie royalty on this track and it shows.

“Monster” is indeed a monster track and you can tell from the first drum beats, which are reminiscent of the Jay-Z/Rihanna collab “Umbrella” and Jay-Z’s collab with Alicia Keys, “Empire State of Mind.” These raw hi-hats help to push the song through it’s 6:23 entirety.

Before I get more into the track, something about the length. With all the star power in these collaborations these days, everyone has to get their word in which leads to extremely long songs. In Kanye’s “Power” remix, the song drags a little bit, as Kanye, Jay-Z, and Swizz all have to get their two cents in.

Here it’s more of the same as Rick Ross opens it up, Kanye lays down his verse, Jay-Z does his, Nicki throws hers down, and Justin Vernon of Bon Iver lays down a nice closing. All 6:23 is filled, but there’s something about listening to a song of this length that is a bit daunting.

The greatest part of the song is the contrast between Minaj’s verse and Vernon’s verse. Minaj’s verse is absolutely crazy. The passion she throws into it, literally sounding like a monster, is goosebump inducing. Then Vernon chimes in with his extremely mellow brand of indie rock, closing the song down with a piano-laiden closure. This most notably reminds of Gorillaz with the contrast between rap and more singing. I’m really impressed with this collaboration, which I was really iffy on when it came out they were doing it. But after “Monster,” I’m looking forward to what Vernon brings to Dark Twisted Fantasy this fall.

“Monster” is available to download through Kanye’s blog.

“Monster will be released later this year on a five-song mini-album by West and Jay-Z called Watch The Throne.

–Daniel

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