Of all the dream-team collaborations we could hope to see, a Jay Z and Kanye West partnership was never too far; the last decade has been a tease. Now, probably the two most influential rappers alive have linked arms to form the aptly named duo ‘The Throne’ and taken a plunge that is as much an artistic risk as it is a massive money-spinner.

Watch the Throne is a mish-mash of sounds that never strays too far from either one’s repertoire. While this is Jay Z’s fourth album collaboration, never has Kanye West had to share so much of the attention.

Frank Ocean’s smooth vocals open the album on ‘No Church in the Wild’. It’s not the gala start that you’d expect, but more of a simmering twitch; the base guitar loop excites and promises something special.

For better and for worse (but more for worse) Beyonce takes the edge off of ‘Lift Off’; a track that would be more suited on one of her own albums. ‘N*ggas in Paris’ can’t come fast enough, and Jay Z comes into his own on this track. The song is actually the perfect illustration of the two different styles in unison; Jay Z’s sharp incisive raps and West’s nonchalant punch lines.

‘Otis’, named so because of the use of an Otis Redding sample, is as grand as a first single should be, but sounds generic in equal measure. The Neptunes-produced ‘Gotta Have It’ is regrettably only two-and-a-half minutes long; the two artists’ seamless back-and-forth raps are a highlight. Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA imparts his production and wisdom on ‘New Day,’ as both rappers grant advice to their unborn seeds on a sombre piano-driven track.

‘That’s My B*itch’ has Q-Tip’s fingerprints all over it and is quintessential, nonsensical Kanye genius; one that will make you move. It’s an obvious choice for a second single, and Swizz Beats completes the hat-trick of guest producers on ‘Welcome to the Jungle’.

Fast forward to ‘Murder in Excellence’, where the duo’s writing peaks, as they address an increasing nonchalance of gun culture, drive-bys, et al: 'I feel the pain in my city wherever I go/ 340 soldiers died in Iraq/ 509 died in Chicago.'

Frank Ocean pops up again in ‘Made in America’, and British r&b virtuoso Mr. Hudson lends his skills to ‘Why I Love You’.

There’s plenty to keep any music fan entertained on Watch the Throne, but there isn’t enough of a range to make it a classic, and in turn, although both men share the limelight equally, neither is able to execute at his best. It’s as if both are too conscious of the other.