We attempted to meet a consensus on which braggadocious king killed "Otis" the best and came up with this. Now here from a few of our favorite Internet heads...
→ CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD (POWER 105.1's BREAKFAST CLUB):
I think "Otis" is incredible. That's the best use of a sample I've heard in a long time. I don't think there was a best verse. Jay Z and Kanye complimented each other quite well. My favorite bars are when Jay Z says "I got 5 passports, I'm never going to jail" then Kanye comes in and says "I made Jesus Walks I'm never going to hell." Then Ye comes and says "I'm bout to make you tuck your whole summer in." Matter fact now that I think about Kanye might have the better verse that Sophistacted ignorance I write my curses in cursive line was mean. Otis is lyrical exercise at it's finest.....
→ SHAHEEM REID (PORTRAIT OF MY LIFE):
What more can I say? Instant euphoria. My iPod is blood stained. Jay-Z and Kanye West finally unleashed the kind of track from their Watch Their Throne recording sessions the world has been waiting for; an undeniable tag team romp that strikes with the potent precision of an Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard spike piledriver. The title, simplistic. “Otis” (West who produced the track samples Otis Redding’s classic “Try Some Tenderness.”) The beat, straight Blueprint soul knock. The rhymes… gotdamn, the rhymes are everything they are supposed to be from a duo that have been making timeless records together for ten years. They find Hov and Yeezy at the height of blissful arrogance, remorselessly going for throat like the Road Warriors performing their finishing maneuver, the Doomsday Device, in a championship match.
The track starts with Jay boldly declaring “I invented swag.” What? Press the stop button on the iTunes immediately. That nigga has audacity! But damn, that’s Hov, he can say that. This is going to be a fucking wild ride. Take it back to the beginning, Hov totally levels everything in sight with his first verse (check in nod to the Blueprint’s “All I Need” when he says “I guess I got my swagger back”) and Kanye just comes in unannounced (the two use the in-and-out flow) even more ferociously than his big brother with the song’s most quotable bars:
“Niggas talking real reckless. Stuntmen. /I adopted these niggas, Philip Drummond and them./ Now I’m about to make them tuck their whole summer in…”
The track and probably all competition, bodied.
Kanye comes back to shoot up the funeral when he says “I made ‘Jesus Walks’ I’m never going to hell.”
The summer just got better. Watch The Throne just ensured a million first week sales and a million MCs are inspired to come up with better verses.
It's really close, photo finish close as to who had the beTter verses. Both came to the plate, determined to hit a home run in every line. You haven't really seen Jay go back forth with many people since "Brooklyn's Finest" and certainly not too many MCs period can hang with Hov on a record. I'll give Kanye a slight edge with the "Tuck Your Summer" line. That's gonna be quoted from now to infinity. They should put that shit on tee-shirts.
→ ERIC ROSENTHAL (IT'S THE REAL)
Jay-Z and Kanye sound like they're having the time of their lives, rapping on their first song off Watch The Throne, "Otis." That in itself is amazing and refreshing in this day in age, when every artist and label wants to recycle everything that hasn't worked for the last ten years. Honestly, Jay-Z is rich enough, with a catalog amazing enough, to not care about putting another album out. And after the last two years of Kanye's insane life (not to mention his incredible first five albums), he'd certainly be forgiven if he devoted all of his days and nights to designing his women's clothing line. But instead, they chose to record a joint album. This is what you get when you put two huge superstars together, with the highest standards and the biggest of egos... and in the end, it's not just what we wanted, it's better than expected.
And when you have two MCs of this caliber, it's only natural to wonder who outdid who, but damn if they don't make that decision truly difficult. Kanye may barely top Jay, if only for his whole second verse, specifically: "Sophisticated ignorance, write my curses in cursive." That's just not fair.
They're so far ahead of the curve, it's not even funny. Their stunting is pristine, their aggressive talk is beautiful, their boasts are wonderfully honest. It's as if they've traveling the world without a care, thinking of lines in exotic locales, and recording in the finest of hotels, you know, cause studios are beyond yesterday. Oh wait, that's exactly what happened. How could you not have fun living life like that? Kanye even sounds great sonning Drake. They sound like they can't wait for everyone to hear what they're gonna say. What a feeling for them! And what a feeling for the listener!
Hey record industry: wanna sell records? Put something of quality out. Not only do I have my pre-order for Watch The Throne in, but after hearing Otis, I might pre-order a second.