Yesterday, James Blake (the ascendant electro-pop musician, not the hard-court-specialist) cryptically tweeted: “24th August 2011 — James Blake & Bon Iver ‘Fall Creek Boys Choir.’” Further details are nonexistent, but this much is presumably clear: James Blake and fellow Pitchfork darling Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon are teaming up! And this pairing is significant not just for its musical potential; it’s also a sign of the times. With Bon Blake (trademark pending), Watching the Throne — that is, the act of two individually successful musicians temporarily joining forces, a la Jay-Z and Kanye West — is now reaching critical mass.
Even before Watch The Throne's release, other rappers were already falling in line. Recently, no less an authority than Birdman confirmed Lil Wayne and Drake would team on a collaborative LP just as soon as their respective high-profile solo projects were released, and that this album would not be full of rappers who are "older and really on their way out the game." Waka Flocka Flame is so into Watching the Throne that he’s doing it twice: once with his ice-cream-loving pal Gucci Mane as the duo Ferrari Boyz, and again with someone or something called French Montana (according to French, the album is “some crunk … but on steroids,” which actually sounds great). But major credit has to go to early adopters Diddy and Rick Ross, who announced plans to drop music together as Bugatti Boyz just one month after Kanye first told reporters about WTT.
Now, with indie-rockers Blake and Vernon (whose vocals actually appear on the real Watch the Thorne) Watching the Throne, which genre should adopt the trend next? Itzhak Perlman, do you have Lang Lang’s phone number?