According to Nielsen ratings, 76 per cent of people who watch Game of Thrones are caucasian. However, HBO executives found out that there were a number of rappers who watch Game of Thrones, so they decided to put together a hip-hop mixtape, called Catch the Throne, inspired by the epic fantasy show.
All of the tracks feature clips from Game of Thrones, similar to how Wu-Tang would incorporate martial arts samples into their songs. The two most noticeable names on the mixtape is Common and Big Boi, one half of the duo Outkast. However, only Big Boi’s track, ‘Mother of Dragons’, really gives listeners that Wu-Tang vibe with it’s hardcore, gritty beat. The title of the song is a reference to Game of Thrones character Khaleesi, the rightful heir to the throne. Big Boi’s lyrics evoke the anger and frustration, albeit in a ham kind of way, that Khaleesi feels as she works her way back up to become queen. The song is topped off by the ultra nerdy and corny lyric, “Fuck the Lannisters and everybody that ride with ’em, / John Snow and the Night’s Watch finna slide some iron in them.”
Common, as expected, brought tight rhymes and deep poetry to the mixtape. The Chicago MC’s song, titled ‘Ladder’, depicted the chaos that ensues to reach the throne, but he did not go much further into detail by mentioning characters or locations, suggesting he may not even watch the show. Still, the lyrics are nonetheless evocative and adds some respectability to the mixtape. The chorus, “I sit and think about it when I’m in my zone / this life is like a game of thrones,” further adds introspection to a cool, laidback beat.
While Common’s lyrics were poetry, Dominik Omega’s lyrics with ‘Arya’s Prayer’ told a story. ‘Arya’s Prayer’ is the best track to listen to, lyrically speaking, especially for all you Game of Thrones nerds. ‘Arya’s Prayer’, the only track that references aspects of the show, looks at life through Arya Stark’s eyes. The third verse about how she encountered Jaq’en H’ghar is absolutely fantastic. The passion for Game of Thrones can truly be felt in Omega’s writing and, not surprisingly, his track is the longest giving him the deserved time to tell his story.
One highlight of the mixtape is ‘Born to Rule’ by hispanic rapper Daddy Yankee. The song features a banging, reggaeton beat and Yankee, who raps in English in one verse and Spanish in the second, has an unreal flow. The chorus, which features call-and-response and chants, is catchy, wholeheartedly evoking the mood of the show.
Another hispanic rapper on the album is Snow Tha Product with ‘Fire’. The song is about the sexism that Daenarys Targaryen experiences and how she conquers it with her fire and blood trademark. Snow goes absolutely hard in terms of her delivery; the fire is more about her than what she is rapping about, almost sounding like a serious Eminem, but with less sophisticated lyrics.
Bodega Bamz kills it, too, in ‘Win or Die’, about choosing a side in the world of Game of Thrones. The song samples him saying “ahwoof” in his gruffy voice, which adds to the fire of the song.
Other rappers that appear on the album are Wale, Dee Goodz, Magazeen, and Kilo Kish in some forgettable tracks.
Catch the Throne does not reference much of the show, which is a bit of a downside, but, nevertheless, most of the tracks achieve their part in evoking the mood of Game of Thrones and the world in which the characters live. In essence, Catch the Throne gives geeks an excuse to be gangster for a day, while on the flip side, the mixtape allows rappers to show their inner nerds.