Actually, it arrived yesterday, and I’m late. The highly anticipated full-length collaboration between mega-rappers Jay-Z and Kanye West, Watch the Throne, arrived at 12:01 Monday morning, and is already generating copious amounts of buzz around the internets. With guest appearances from Frank Ocean and Beyonce and production shots from Q-Tip and Pete Rock (not to mention Yeezy himself), Throne has hip-hop album of the year written all over it. It’s currently only available digitally, but a physical edition arrives at Best Buy later in the week, with a different version (with less songs) available to the rest of retail at the same time. It’s confusing, yeah. It’s pissed music retailers off, yeah. But it’s fucking Kanye and Jay-Z. They do what they want, pretty much.

The release docket is hip-hop heavy this week. In addition to Watch the Throne, there are several notable rock releases out this week. Fresh off his hit Bad Meets Evil collaboration with Eminem, Royce Da 5’9 is back with his latest solo effort, Success is Certain. Of course Em (and his D12 homeboy Mr. Porter) is aboard, as are blink-182 drummer Travis Barker and the legendary DJ Premiere. Elsewhere in the world of hip-hop, Def Jam rapper Ace Hood is releasing Blood, Sweat & Tears (with guest appearances from Lil Wayne & Chris Brown), while inexplicably successful no-talents Gucci Mane & Waka Flocka Flame are teaming up for a compilation of sorts, entitled 1017 Bricksquad Presents…Ferrari Boyz. Um, yeah…

Moving on, while Kanye and Jay have the #1 spot on next week’s charts virtually locked up, the battle for the #2 position is wide open, and the spot will most likely be filled by the 39th edition of the venerable Now That’s What I Call Music series. This version gathers up the latest hit singles by the likes of Katy Perry, Lady GaGa and Bruno Mars, and fills the void in the lives of people who are too lazy to just create a damn playlist in their media player of choice.

Other notable releases this week come from noted side musician Steve Cropper (Booker T & the M.G.s) with an album dedicated to doo-wop group The 5 Royales featuring an all-star cast including B.B. King, Sharon Jones and others. He’s joined on the release schedule by country hunk Luke Bryan, contemporary Christian superstar Steven Curtis Chapman, and TV tie-ins from the cast of “Glee” (actually-it’s the soundtrack to the “Glee” movie-someone shoot me, please) and hit reality show “The Voice”.

…and of course, since the week’s release schedule would be nothing without metal, there’s the new album by Trivium, which, in case you missed it, was the topic of the most recent Metal Monday column.

As usual, make sure you’re checking out Pause and Play for a full list of all upcoming releases.

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