Jay-Z held an intimate listening session for his and Kanye West’s Watch the Throne album in New York City’s Mercer Hotel last night (July 7), and select members of the media — including XXL as well as two teenage kids who were the first to pre-order the album, accompanied by their parents — were privy to the rough listening of about a dozen or so songs.


Although the crew in attendance, mostly sitting on the floor camp-style, was given strict instructions not to live tweet (a Fader reporter was kicked out early in the night because of it), not to quote lyrics and not to report on album titles, some of the highlights we can provide include a strong Otis Redding sample, a song in which Jay-Z and Kanye West both rap to their unborn children and collaborations with Beyonce and Frank Ocean (who appears on two tracks).


In addition, there’s a southern-inspired track that finds Jay and ‘Ye trading verses at times and then rapping in unison. There’s also an opera-sounding production that might make the final cut. What might not be included though, is the first and only track that the duo leaked, “H.A.M.,” which Jay explained was a smart track but quite possibly not an enjoyable listen.


Jay, who wore a v-neck T-shirt, cargo pants and shell-toe Adidas and hosted the affair alone while West is in London, made sure to have enough libations (Ace of Spades bottles everywhere), Voss water and cheese platters to go around the room. Producer Mike Dean, Hov’s bodyguard Norman and longtime lawyer/manager John Meneilly were also in attendance.


Jigga, who played an unspecified bonus tracks for those in attendance, also mentioned working on his next solo album, for which he has two songs already, one of which features the Odd Future singer/songwriter Ocean.


As of press time there is no release date for either projects. —Gina Montana